When I was a kid, there were two ways to deal with a bully: try to avoid him (back in those days they were mostly boys) or stand up and fight.
I remember when I was about 7 or 8. “Richard”, about 4-5 years older than I, was a notorious bully in my neighborhood . One day he came up from behind me and pinned my arms back and humiliated me with some cruel taunts. I managed to free one arm and, as hard as I could muster, I elbowed him in the gut. He doubled over, and I thought I was free of him. But he only got angry and hauled off and punched me in the nose, causing it to bleed. He said something to the effect that it was all my fault for fighting back. I recall that he looked a bit scared before he ran off, probably more from the sight of blood than anything else that I could have done to him. I was able to stem the bleeding without getting any on my T-shirt. A bit embarrassed and scared, I went home and didn’t tell anyone. I’m not exactly sure why, but I don’t remember “Richard” bothering me after that day.
In high school, a friend was on a the losing end of an after-school fight and ended up with a bruised face and a pair of black eyes. He spent a week or so hiding behind a large pair of dark glasses, but nothing was done about the incident.
Lincoln Unified School district held special assemblies at district schools for third through eighth graders about bullying. There are more threats today than just name-calling and physical threats. In addition, there are threats, teasing and indtimidation via smart phones and the internet. Some bullying can be relentless and have tragic consequences. The assemblies taught through Power Point presentations given by the school’s principals how to recognize bullying and how to stop and avoid it.
There may be some who believe that kids should stand up against a bully and fight back, that we’ve become too politically correct and these anti-bullying lessons are just namby-pamby feel-good stuff. I don’t know about that, but I’m willing to bet there will be a lot fewer bloody noses and black eyes nowadays.