I think it’s fair to say that we all knew bullies when we were in school. There was always that one kid who seemed to feel the need to hurt, intimidate or simply humiliate the other children. Of course, it wasn’t always an individual who bullied; there were also groups. I think teenage girls are the worst. I’d rather take a good beating from a male bully any day before I’d want to be the odd girl out from a group of teenage girls. I think that just about every kid in school would benefit from reading “Lord of the Flies.” The book is about a group of boys who get stranded on an island and over time they develop a “wolf pack” mentality. Without adults to oversee the kids and govern them, basically the weaker kids get sectioned out and eventually chaos breaks out and well, you can just imagine.

What exactly makes a bully? According to my Yahoo search, there are five indicators of a bully in the making: aggressive behavior, enjoyment from pushing other children around, dominating or manipulating, a smooth talker and someone who gets easily frustrated.

When I was growing up, there wasn’t such a thing as cyber-bullying. If you wanted to bully someone, you actually had to get up from a chair and go through the motions. Evidently now it’s possible to push someone around with a mouse and keyboard. I don’t understand the whole concept because I can’t help but wonder where the parents are while this is going on? Even with conventional schoolyard bullying, sooner or later the bully’s parents are told of the bad behavior. Once again, to me, it goes back to the parent, and my question remains: Why aren’t the parents being held accountable?

There are a lot of parents who don’t agree with corporal punishment in schools (remember the paddle?). They think it’s a violation of their parental rights, inhumane or not proper to punish someone else’s kids. My thought is this: If a kid is out of control, a disruption to the learning process, mean to other kids or a physical threat to one of the other kids, then he/she needs to stay at home so the learning environment for the other kids is left intact. It’s not the schools’ responsibility to raise children. It’s the schools’ responsibility to teach them.

If the school isn’t given the authority to punish unruly students and the parents obviously aren’t taking care of business at home, then it isn’t fair to the kids who are at school to learn. According to Bullypolice.org, Missouri is the 45th state to pass anti-bullying legislation. HB1543 is easy to read and basically states that every district had to adopt an anti-bullying policy by Sept. 1, 2007. It goes on to describe bullying as intimidation or harassment that causes a student to fear for his or her safety. It also states that the schools’ staff is to be responsible for reporting any bullying that they are witness to. I suppose it’s good to have law and policy to help prevent bullying. I just don’t agree with 100 percent of the burden being placed on the school systems. Parents should step up and raise their own kids instead of relying on the school to do it. That’s my thought.

Joe Snider is a Navy veteran and writes “A Local Voice” every other Monday. He can be contacted at Joe.snider@att.net.