Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Bully’s New Weapon

I’m heading out on vacation in an hour, so I’m posting this week’s blog a little early…

Last week, I mentioned that one of my worries is that someday a bully might try to harm my son by smearing peanut butter on him in school. That’s not a worry I just made up. Just a few weeks ago, a teen student in Kentucky was charged with a felony after putting peanut butter cookie crumbs into another student’s lunch box with the intent to harm him.

In other cases, children have actually smeared peanut butter on allergic kids, threatened to smear them, or threatened to force peanut products into their mouths. A couple of years ago, a student threatened to hold his teacher down and force a Nutter Butter down her throat.

It’s not that these bullies are worse than other bullies. It’s simply that they’ve found a new addition to the typical bully arsenal of physical and emotional weapons. (See this article from Canada, for examples of this bold new world of bullyism.)

The blog world is a-buzz with this latest cookie crumb case and other stories like it. Here are just a few interesting posts worth checking out, including one from Rush Limbaugh. (Yes, every once in a while, planets align in mysterious ways, and in this particular case, Rush and I actually agree on something.)

MomLogic (a mom talks about how both of her allergic kids have been "peanut bullied" at school)

Peanut Free Mama (readers comment on whether they think the felony charge is too harsh)

Rush Limbaugh (Transcript of a phone call where he responds to a woman asking his opinion of the “craziness of the nut allergy people)

Kids Food Allergies Blog (a parent discusses the contrast between Rush Limbaugh’s take and the patently absurd Harper’s article which tries to dismiss peanut allergies as a national hysteria instead of a medical reality – which makes me so angry I can’t talk about it right now… stay tuned for a future blog entry on that)

It’s easy to get emotional about bullying. It’s an age-old problem, and one that will never go away, because human beings are human beings, and that means someone will always be trying to find ways to feel powerful over someone else. It’s unfortunate that they’ve found a new weapon, but it isn’t surprising. Bullies can be just as creative as the next guy. Too bad they can’t channel their ambitions in a more positive manner.

This does mean that we, as parents of allergic kids, have one more thing to teach our children about when it comes to facing bullies in the school. Same problem, different variation. But we can do it, and our kids are strong.

1 comment:

PdR said...

I thought you might find this thread interesting (hope the link works):

I must say I have learned a lot from reading your blog as well as threads such as the one above. My level of awareness and understanding has certainly grown. Thank you!