Deadline Now:  Anti-Bullying Efforts in Our Community
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Deadline Now: Anti-Bullying Efforts in Our Community

Dr. Lisa Kovach, associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Toledo, Police Officer Tim McLeod of the Oregon Police, and Amy Franco, a principal for Washington Local Schools, are this week's special guests. They are all involved in anti-bullying efforts in our community. In this edition of Deadline Now, we explore the causes and effects of bullying and how educators, law enforcement officials, parents and other members of our community are working to eliminate bullying.

Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of Deadline Now:

When I was a child I was small, overweight, wore glasses and was considered smart. So naturally, I was bullied. What made it worse what that I was placed a grade ahead in elementary school, something fairly common back in the nineteen-fifties.

Intellectually, I didn’t have much trouble doing the work. Socially, my life was a disaster. In some ways, there are probably greater differences between a six year old and a seven year old than between a fifty year old and a sixty year old.

This was a working class public school district, and there were few enlightened ideas as to how to deal with bullying, other than that you ought to learn to fight back. Physically, if left with kids my own age I might have been about a C-minus. With kids a year older, I didn’t even try. So I was shoved and punched and kicked and called names. Nothing remotely as bad as many other kids endured.

I coped by learning to be a diplomat, to be funny and to retreat into books. Not that this was all bad. To the extent I can remember, I probably felt that I was the only child in my class being bullied. In fact, we now know that many, maybe most kids are victims. My guess is that most kids who are bullied, think they are almost the only ones. Today we know more about all this. But bullying has also taken on more dangerous forms. There were no cyberbullies in my life.

Nor did I ever hear of a case where a bullied kid went home to get his father’s automatic weapon or made bombs in the basement to settle scores. Times have changed.

Families aren’t what families used to be. Which makes it all that much more important that we prevent bullying from ruining lives. My guess too is that many of us have been affected by bullying in ways we don’t even realize. When I was in my late 40s, I happened to run into one of the kids who had bullied me unmercifully.

I was then somewhat successful; had a beautiful home and had received recognition for my work. This guy didn’t recognize me, looked terrible, clearly had no money and was essentially a janitor in a liquor store. To my surprise, seeing his failure gave me spiteful pleasure. I am not proud of that. I suspect millions of other bullied people have worse after-effects. Which is why intelligent adults need to do whatever we can to stop it.