ABA Journal


American Bar Association

Black Eyed Peas producer supports new ‘bullyproof’ initiative by ABA Young Lawyers (see the video)

Oct 10, 2013, 11:00 am CDT


I suppose now enterprising plaintiff attorneys for families of subsequent victims will sue him because the program did not work.

By B. McLeod on 2013 10 10, 12:17 pm CDT

What a jaded comment. Instead, let's celebrate our colleagues' work toward bettering the lives of young people. Thank you ABA YLD for tackling a tough problem!

By kmbem on 2013 10 11, 2:45 pm CDT

The value of an idea is based upon whether or not it works. I was a bully victim from 2nd grade through the end of 10th grade. In 11th grade I decided to stop being a victim and fought back. I studied wrestling and judo. Believe me when I say that it works. It turned into a lifelong sport for me. I am now working on getting my black belt in Judo and my purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I compete in both regularly.

Words, mediation and the things we as lawyers are accustomed to using to solve disputes simply do not work when it comes to bullies. Self confidence in the victim combined with the occasional and controlled use of physical force does. There are some great young kids who train at the same gym that I do. In talking to them, I can deduce that they may not all be among the "in crowd" at school - but they don't get bullied either. The bullies know that there are consequences to messing with them.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu does not emphasize striking. It emphasizes submissions, grappling, and take-downs. Injuries happen like any other contact sport - but they are rare and are much less severe than boxing, football, and stuff like that. It also requires discipline and teaches self-confidence.

Given my past experience with the ABA and its programs, I can say with almost absolute certainty that parent would be better served investing in jiu-jitsu classes at a reputable gym than they would in anything the ABA has to offer.

By Jason L. Van Dyke on 2013 10 11, 2:47 pm CDT

I was bullied and eventually fought back against bullying. Having had that experience, these initiatives are well meaning, but misplaced.

Yes, bullying victims want not to be bullied. But they also want to have quality, meaningful interactions with their peers. Stopping victimization is worthy, but insufficient. The question is whether initiatives become institutionalized and take on a life of their own apart from helping students or whether they learn something from their efforts and become wiser about helping. Learning self-defense is good and often necessary, but it is insufficient.

If these efforts become institutionalized, they will probably fail to prevent victimization, as teenagers can be inventive about exclusion and causing discomfort. If these efforts are nimble, they will also learn why it is that some become bullies and others become victims (my theory is that isolation has a lot to do with becoming s victim), be able to learn who is at risk and how to intervene effectively.

By Jill on 2013 10 11, 3:38 pm CDT

Bullying is a societal problem that is very complex and involves MULTIPLE layers. Thus, there are MULTIPLE peices needing to be involved to reduce bullying. While Jason L. Van Dyke addresses one peice that is essential--empowering students to stand up for themselves and others--there is so much more involved. I applaud the ABA for taking on this project to affect change at the level that they can. If other organizations and community resources would do the same, imagine what power that would have on reducing bullying. I personally work in a school district and do what I can in the systems that I can affect--administrators, teachers, yard duty aids and other staff, parents, and students. But I can really only reach those in my district and commmunity. Whare can YOU reach? What can YOU do about this? If everyone takes on a little piece of this responsibility, a big difference can be made.

By rparks on 2013 10 11, 3:39 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By MaryAnn (Mimi) Rowley on 2013 10 11, 3:46 pm CDT

I offer to add a fourth pillar to the program: teaching the bullied how to quickly, cheaply, and reliably whack the bullies flat. That would actually help.

By Anna Gray on 2013 10 11, 5:46 pm CDT


By B. McLeod on 2013 10 12, 3:33 am CDT

I agree with Anna Gray. It is essentially what I propose. I just don't think the ABA is going to do anything like that because they do not want to acknowledge the very basic fact that violence can be use for good. They will never, in a million years, acknowledge that the best treatment for a bully is a good solid punch in the nose from one of his victims. It will hurt the bully. It will be embarrassing for the bully. But it will teach both the bully and the victim an important life lesson.

For the victim, it will teach him/her that they don't have to put up with this kind of nonsense and that, when authority figures refuse to listen or are unavailable to help, they can defend themselves unilaterally.

The bully will learn very quickly that a victim can and will defend themselves unilaterally. It is a lesson that may very well prevent the bully from getting himself killed when he grows older.

By Jason L. Van Dyke on 2013 10 13, 7:10 am CDT

The Journal of Criminology has published a thorough examination by Seokjin Jeong and Byung Hyun Lee of bullying and victimization. Their conclusions indicate that the ABA is on the wrong track.

By Jill on 2013 10 14, 6:11 am CDT

Jason L. Van Dyke is 100% on target here. We talk about programs to educate the public about bullying, and this and that but we never focus on the real problem...the bully. I think any effective anti-bullying campaign would need to focus on humbling the effect teaching the bully humility. This is best accomplished when the victim does exactly what Van Dyke did in the tenth grade. The problem however is that our public school institutions implicitly side with the bullies.

By SME on 2013 10 14, 6:42 pm CDT

Keep in mind that not all bullies are physical. In fact, for girls the bullying is often psychological. Knocking another girl flat when she hasn't actually touched you will just get you suspended. I was bullied for my entire school career until my junior/senior year of high school, and violence would not have solved that problem. In fact, it would have turned my tormentors into "victims" if I had taken that route. There is no one solution for all bullying.

By RecentGrad on 2013 10 16, 4:19 pm CDT

"...violence would not have solved that problem. In fact, it would have turned my tormentors into "victims" if I had taken that route."

Right...and that's exactly the problem. It's this paradigm that allows bullies to flourish. We (and our schools) need to get out of this way of thinking.

By SME on 2013 10 17, 11:38 am CDT

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