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Written Word > Articles & Commentaries > April 2012 > How to Solve the Bully Problem
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Gregory Rodriguez
I am a Catholic Christian therapist, whose primary population is boys averaging 16-24. The Father wound as well as a lack of a transformative process of entering into manhood is a huge piece of my work. It was a enormous deficit in my life and I have not only read through many of the books, but have attended workshops and retreats seeking my vision of amnhood. My journey has been a helpful tool in leading many of teh men adn boys I see in the counsleing process as well
5/3/2012 1:42:56 PM
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Dear Fr Barron,
In your thought provoking and excellent article on the serious problem of bullying, there is one thing I strongly react to, though; whenever this plague, for ex in schools, are discussed, we always, without exception whatsoever, at least to my knowledge, about "kids who are... different". The key word is: DIFFERENT. Let me just tell you that during ALL my school years, the one(s) who were the most targeted were NOT those"different". As a contrast, I vividly remember how one the most beautiful and attractive girls in the school, aso very talented and overall very intelligent the best marks, a great singer(she later became a professional singer, was bullied, never physically, but in a much more "sophisticated" way, as only very envious girls(and women!) are experts of.And, yes, there are some boys as well, suffering from a poor self confidence, and or an inferiority complex, especially in girls. This young girl was ALWAYS the subject of the most unimaginable envy and, yes, even hatred, later on in life, by grown women, many of them middle aged. Today, this girl is herself a grown up woman, in her late 50's, still very attractive and still causing not so few women and even some men, to calumnate her, or in some way or other attack her wonderful talents, trying to decrease or belittle her great gifts, etc. After over 30 years of experience from a number of work places, I have never, ever, noticed that ANY of the (not so few) "different looking" me or women (what you really mean is: unattractive, or more explicitly, ugly) were being bullied. And I am a very observing person. The lady in question is aways nice and gentle with people and, thanks to God, many people see and feel this, as always when something is genuine, she has very good friends, a wonderful husband. My point is: why do people in general ALWAYS use the word "different", in this context? Well, if someone is bullied because they are unusually attractive and talented, well, then I understand. But you would do young girls and women in general, suffering from bullying beacause of the above mentioned reasons, a great favour, if you would call things for what they raelly are; namely, that beauty, much more often than "ugliness" has caused nameless sufferings in schools.However, as long as you all pretend that this only is a matter of being "different", in a negative way, all these victims, like my beautiful class mate in my school, will continue to suffer- in secret, since who would even think of trying to tell your headmaster or your boss, that you are being bullied beacause you are- beautiful (and talented). Just imagine the grin on their face;"who does she think she is??!!"
From godless, ignorant people, unfortunately, one cannot expect too much, but from catholics, especially catholic priets, we want to hear the TRUTH and nothing but the truth.After all, this is not very complicated theology, is it? Isn't it interesting, as well as disturbing, that everyone, including priests, seemingly are comforted by the thought that nobody can be bullied if they are beautiful and talented?
God bless you all!

5/7/2012 6:30:10 PM
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wanted to comment on irene's message... i think the word "different" doesn't only apply to someone who's "geeky" or ugly. i don't see why there is a need to argue about the "TRUTH." there isn't anything false about the article.
5/18/2012 4:11:03 PM
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I have not seen the movie "Bully," but the comments about the school administration is all too familiar with what my family has been experiencing at the only all-girls Catholic middle school in Milwaukee. My twin daughters (one more so than the other) have experienced bullying for four years. Because kids are so young and, maybe instinctively (and despite strong family bonds), felt trapped in talking about their problem. There were occassions when things would come and we addressed them to the school with the ususa, "oh, yeah, we'll take care of it," only to find out later that nothing was done. But not until October 2011 when one of my daughters was pushed so far that it had to come out and all was revealed to our family. The reaction of both the "Sister" who is the principal as well as the president was an overall, "this didn't happen - do you know what I mean - this DIDN'T happen!" The blames was placed on my daughter even after a leading doctor who specializes in pain (my daughter was experiencing extreme migraines due to stress/bullying) sent a letter to the school, both the "sister" and the president still blame my daughter saying she has to "toughen up." Only yesterday a blatant display of harrassment occurred which consisted on one girl calling an entire group of girls a "H_" and emphasizing her words at my daughter. The "sisters" words, "well, I don't know that it happened," and, "this isn't the school for you." The president said something to the effect, "I didn't say your daughter has a problem (in Oct. she tried to hint that my daughter had a mental illness)you have the problem." When I asked her what is my problem, she said, "I won't say right now." It is my opinion that the real problem is with the adults in the bullying problem. There are two many parents that do not correct or acknowledge when their kids are wrong and then there are the people like the "sister" and her cohort that do not want their school to have to acknowledge that the kids are not the little angels they base their fundraising on. And because they go through the motions of settig up a "bullying program," but refuse to ackowledge the principles of the program - they seem to make everything ok with themselves. No doubt the bullying programs are in place to say, "oh, look, our program works - we have no incidents of bullying here." Really? I urge everyone to believe in their children and trust in their own children when they say they are hurting. Few school administrators (not necessarily teachers) have the real interest of a child's well-being in mind as they run their schools - only $$$ matters.
5/25/2012 10:51:39 AM
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Fr. Thomas Hennigan
Response to Irene:
It doesn't seem that Fr. Barron implies that only the kids who are perceived as different are vitims of bulllying. The fact that he mentions the case of those who are different doesn't mean that he considers that they are the only victims of bullying.
6/22/2012 7:37:07 PM
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John Pater
Fr. Barron,

Thanks for your reference to Leonard Sax. I picked up and read both of those books you mentioned. They offer a greater perspective of my children then I had before.
6/27/2012 3:12:04 PM
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Bullying Requires Non-Education Professionals Bullying requires non-education prenossiofals to step in.Unfortunately, education prenossiofals, as experienced as theyare and have to be with education-related matters, do not havethe know-how or experience needed to deal with radicallyuncontrolled bullying. However, there are police (men and women), psychologists (men and women), and therapists (men and women) who are not in the business of education; but who are trained to deal with the deviant behavior expressed by a true bully. A 1-800 number for bully victims that is easy to remember should be plastered everywhere in schools from the classrooms to the halls to the restrooms to the playgrounds to the busses and athletic fields as gentle reminders to students thinking of getting out of line (bullying). This no-nonsense number would direct the bully victim to immediate help by trained prenossiofals who will evaluate professionally the bully's mental health and stable or unstable home situation; deal with the bully's deviant behavior; and help the bully victim through the merciless trauma/abuse he/she experienced all without repercussions to the actual victim. Of course, legal action and prosecution against the bully (not the school) go without saying. As an added incentive, the school administration may dial the number from the school office. Often, but not always, the bully is a repeat offender. Reporting the crime helps authorities build a case against said bully in court holding the bully accountable for his/her actions.
7/9/2012 6:35:50 AM
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