Is It OK to Beat Up a Bully?

When does defending oneself become hurting others?

Leilani Fleming

When does defending oneself become hurting others?

Camille Mergenthaler and Mack Haymond

What do you think when someone says the word “school”?

Often, you’ll think of classrooms and tests, and hundreds of students. But another thing that happens around the world of schools is a far worse threat than any upset parent after a bad test grade.
Bullies.

In schools everywhere, bullying is a threat that faces many students everyday, and this got us thinking: Is it okay to retaliate physically against a bully? To put it bluntly, is it ok to beat up a bully?

Before we dig deep into this, let’s go over how bullying is affecting the U.S. today.

According to stopbullying.gov, between 1 in 3 and 1 in 4 students have reported being bullied. Most bullying happens in middle schools, and more commonly, it is verbal or social bullying.
StopBullying also states that in kids ages 12-18, 15 percent of those have reported to have been bullied online or through texts.

Bullying mostly affects kids who are perceived as different by their peers; however, everybody related to the situation is affected by it. The victim, the bully, and any bystanders, all are in some way affected by this behavior.

The prevention of bullying is not an easy problem to fix.

There are many different angles that need to be taken into consideration in order to really help. Respect among everybody involved in a school community is the first step to be taken.

According to stopbullying.gov, zero-tolerance policies or expulsions have a limited effect in stopping bullying. Removing kids from the school doesn’t change the atmosphere of the school. Also from stopbullying.gov, bystanders taking part in the act of saying something and intervening has had a huge impact on eliminating the problem.

But in trying to stop bullying when seen, people are met with the decision of what to do. Is it OK to bully the bully? There are many conflicting opinions on this. For some, it’s a matter of defending yourself and your peers. For others, fighting back is just adding more wrong doings to the issue. We interviewed some teachers and students about what they thought.

When we asked Ms. Martel Rynderman, one of the workshop teachers here at Bedford, if she thought it was okay to beat up a bully, she replied, “No. It isn’t ok to beat up a bully. Two wrongs never make a right.” Ms. Rynderman probably speaks for many people in the school with that opinion.

Another point of view is from 7th grader Will Dransfield, who contrasts quite a bit. He says, “If you’re defending yourself or others, it is OK. The bully is violating your rights, so you have the right to defend yourself.” It appears that Will does not see it as two wrongs, but as self-defense.

Both of these points are very relevant and worthwhile debate claims. While everyone has the right to defend themselves, bullying a bully just creates more hate. People are discussing this everyday, and it is still unknown what the world will end up deciding on.

It is clear that bullying is and will be for a while longer, a relevant problem. Defending yourself and others is always important and impacts the issue in great ways.

However, it is also important to consider the fact that getting physical is making yourself as bad as the bully. Try to fix the problem first with words. If that does nothing and the bully persists, the adults around students can always help to stop the issue. This is a terrible, terrible thing happening to students everywhere.

Let’s stop it before it spreads.