Driving back from my barber today, I saw a banner on a school fence with the above name on it. It troubled me for a number of reasons, beyond the unfortunate name that actually sounds like a place to send your kid to train to be a bully.
The banner had an image of a young boy in a martial arts gi with his leg up in the air, executing a kick. Obviously, it would suggest that the class/camp is for self-defense training.
That brings up the age-old question: stand up to bullies or turn the other cheek?
Avoiding bullies is almost impossible. You can try to walk away or you can try to report them. Each carries with it a stigma, from being called “chicken” and “snitch” to potential damage of a child’s self-confidence and image.
Fighting bullies yields its own problems. Getting labeled a troublemaker, facing penalties for fighting and, if losing the battle, potentially the same loss of self-confidence and image. And the final stigma, becoming that which you hate. Can the “self-defense” blur into bullying at some point?
Another technique, the “pen is mightier than the sword” method, fights fists with words. That road, while less risky for penalty, runs a deeper risk of long-term undesirable personality traits. There are plenty of instances where verbal or written bullying has proven much more damaging than a punch in the face.
I don’t have an answer. I know that bullying is a horrible characteristic and, like all hurtful acts, we are not born with the trait. Right and wrong can sometimes be called subjective, but hurting someone without provocation, in words or actions, is clear-cut by any standard.
What we need is a solution to bullying. I just don’t see how that solution is more Bully Boot-Camps.