American Morning

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March 30th, 2010
03:00 PM ET

We Listen – Your comments 3/30/2010

Editor's Note: Tuesday’s American Morning audience was disturbed by the report of nine teens arrested in Massachusetts for alleged bullying. Most agreed that the students should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Many also wanted those in the school administration, who were aware of the bullying but did nothing, to be included in the prosecution and punishment.

  • Pat: bulling/1954/5 Central High KC- we were push down stairs, attacked in gym with broken coke bottles, typing rollers taken off and teachers beaten. Police had to escort us in & out of school to bus for ride home and safety. All from first year of blacks in our school, that is when I learned who blacks were. A girl said they are taught at birth to hate and attack us. This was in 1998 when was an interim worker I was training at Hospital. Bullying is not new.
  • Cynthia: Those teens in MA need to pay for what they caused. I was bullied, not to that extent and usually the young people doing it are JEALOUS. I will never forget the hurt. She was beautiful and new to the area...Young people can be mean. Very sad .
  • Elfman: My wife, adult daughter and I are all Facebook friends with our school age daughter just so we can monitor what is said by her and her friends. Twice we have quietly notified the parents of two kids who had inappropriate posts. One of those times was cyber-bullying.
  • Mick: I am a retired guidance counselor. Dealing with a concerted bullying campaign against one of my students is one of the toughest tasks I had. John, you can't just say "stop it!" and expect savvy determined kids to stop. Most schools do not have the resources to provide around the clock bodyguards. Maybe making it a crime and prosecuting the bullies would work, but believe me it is no simple matter.

How do you feel about the arrest of the nine teens? What do you think is the appropriate punishment, if any? Continue the conversation below.


Filed under: We Listen
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Wes Stillwagon

    Until the "experts" realize that simply referring to the "group" of bullies and ignoring the psychology of the leader, this problem is not going to go away. The group's behavior reflects the negative side of their leader. The behavior of the individual participants is quite different while in the group than when they are not. A strategy intended to influence the group is a waste of resources. The bully is really an individual with serious sociological or psychological problems who is in control of the group and the followers are weaker members of the posse.

    April 1, 2010 at 6:55 am |
  2. virgil hobbs

    hi guys what id like to know is where were these kids parentswhen they were doing all this BULLYING ...and didnt the school alert them this was going on .. and if so the worst part why didnt they parents inerveve in what their child was doing,,,they ought to be going to get the parents of these kids and also put them in jail beside their children

    April 1, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  3. BB

    Bullying is actually persecution and it doesn’t just happen in the schools it happens everywhere. That is why Bullying in any capacity should be banned everywhere. Weather it’s in a school, the workplace, public transportation, subways you name it, It happens everywhere. I know because I am a 61 year old female who was bullied in the workplace which lasted for 5 years. I did every thing within reasoning to stop the bullying which includes consulting with management but to no avail. Eventually in 1996 I fell ill and had to leave the workplace. It is 2010 and to this day I continue to have nightmares of myself fleeing for my life. The nightmares occur anywhere from two to three times a week. Which depicts me fleeing from mobs of people who are trying to harm and possible kill me.

    New Law, Strict Criminal Penalties for people that bully, because little bullies grow up to be big bullies even managers in the workplace.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  4. Charlotte W.

    To All Parents..............................RED FLAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    When your children start telling you what they are going to do. When you have lost control over them at home. When they go and come as they please. When they are gaining control over you. You may have a problem.

    This is how the BULLY is born. It starts right there at home. Then it is spread abroad. Get busy Mom and Dad. Start putting your foot down. Start a cur few. Start disciplining your kids. Give them a consequence for a bad behavior, and we may be able to nip this bully business in the BUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 31, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  5. BUTTERFLY

    these 9 should be charged simple as that .

    March 31, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  6. BUTTERFLY

    i too was bullied on a uk site where you can chat in rooms , women calling me names like sl.g ho.re ect then the women ganged up on me telling guys i was nasty i sleep around ect i even had a phone call and was told watch my back i was almost driven to kill myself but i had great support from friends and fought back in my own way that was 18months ago , i feel so sad for these people who are bullied take it from me its hell , bort tears to my eyes as i type this knowing what cyber bulling is still doing to people , if ever i can help anyone whoes going through this torture i will kind regards butterfly england.ps , im not a youngster i am in my 50s and female.

    March 31, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  7. Shelia Herring

    I have to say two things. If I was a judge would hand down two very unique orders. 1st : It would be ordered that "All employees,students and parents of those who have knowledge that thier child has ever bullied another child" would spend an entire school day watching stories of simular heartbreaks. Hearing families and friends of victims tell the story what happened to thier loved one and what it did, to not only the family but to the others that was just around them. I would have the victims that had been bullied as well as family of victims to do a no holds bar on what they felt, how they feel and just how this bulling can destroy so many people.
    2nd: Anyone who bullied, knew about the bulling,laughed while she was being bullied,heard about it and did nothing , would wear a sign and post one on thier vehicle for 7 days 24hrs a day that read"By my actions or lack of I helped destroy a young life and all those who loved her. I knew better yet, I failed her."

    Maybe the next time things would be alot different.

    Shelia in Oklahoma

    March 31, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  8. Jerilyn Lessley

    We live in a small town. My son had had petite mal epilepsy when he started school. He was on medication. He had some difficulties with writing. As, I found out later, his teacher held him up to his class as how not to be. He was picked on for his whole school career. If someone tried to be his friend they were told not to or they would be handed the same treatment. I spent more time at school trying to get it stopped that he spent in class. I finally took him out of school. not because I thought he'd commit suicide, but because, I was afraid he was going to get a gun and start shooting. He is doing ok, but he is not a productive member of society. All through school, his achievement test scores in everything but math and social items were way off the charts. He is successful, in that he is mostly happy and that is a miracle.

    March 31, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  9. mike-sey

    The real solution to bullying is for the bystanders to intervene.
    Unfortunately from my experience standing up for the bullied or unpopular kid rarely wins allies, as the crowd usually divides into 3: those who don't want any trouble; those who are afraid of becoming targets themselves; and those who feel empowered by joining in. This latter group often contains kids who have been bullied or want to be popular.
    Fortunately, I was occasionally ragged but never targetted for sustained bullying by fellow students or teachers ( Oh yes, teachers in those days were often enablers or participants).

    My solution was to exact a price from those who crossed the line. A punch or two on the nose was usually enough to send the bullies off to find easier meat. Standing up for someone else, however, was more difficult and wearing.

    March 31, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  10. jen

    What does the health care bill mean for incoming college students?

    March 31, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  11. Mark

    Those teens that abused that poor little girl, deserve to see how much damage they caused. I would like to see their parents jailed. Bullying is due to lack of parental control. The parents of these teens will say that they had no idea their children were bullies, however ignorance is no excuse when it comes to the law.

    If we starts jailing the parents of bullies you can bet parents will pay much better attention to what their children are doing, in addition it will show these kids what it is like to loose a loved one, even though they will still be able to communicate and eventually get them back.

    These heartless children are a product of a greedy, distracted society.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  12. BULLIES AND WHAT I DID

    I faced bullying in school and nothing was done,but when my child was bullied I wentt to the school and they told me that the kids were taking a Bully 101 class –basically they teach the kids how to deal with a bully–Rather than teach kids NOT to bully-I was outraged–I don't think I should teach my kid to accept the unacceptable–because in REAL life people who harrass or assault others get arrested,fired or the person harrassed can change jobs or leave the area–Kids in school can't just do that. But I did-I took my son out and had to go through the court to change residency for him to live with my mother in the suburbs in NJ -(we live in Philly)-and yes bullying happens everywhere-but at the school I sent him to ,they have a ZERO tolerance of it and action is taken immediately-suspension of all parties and the parents must come in. Apathy is a problem,people have to get involved and we have to stop saying–oh kids will be kids–kids can be very mean and they need our guidance. No child should be scared when they go to school.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:09 am |
  13. Paul

    Administration and staff who knew harassment was going on should be fired and students involved should be prosecuted. This is the only way to end this – in addition to education and whatever else the school has so lamely done.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  14. Wes Stillwagon

    A big mistake those seeking to control bullying is to approach the group guilty of the act. There is ALWAYS a leader who is supported by followers who are part of the group. I believe this fact will come out as the story on the bullying appears. Seeking to control the group is a futile effort. Of course the school administrators who ignored the problem are just as guilty as the perpetrators. I agree with others in asking where the parents of the perpetrators and of the victim?

    March 31, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  15. Glenda

    It is absolutely appalling what happened in that school! Adults who are supposed to be there to support, protect and teach our children while we are not there who just stood by and watched it all transpire. They should all be removed up to administration since it was also brought to the districts attention by the parents of this girl. There are plenty of teachers/principals/janitors, etc....to replace those who are incapable of acting like adults. I hope that someone in Mass. realizes this and goes for the full punishment – - – - removal from the school so that they cannot be a part of any other incidents in the fut

    March 31, 2010 at 7:28 am |
  16. Dwayne

    I was bullied continuously as I was growing up and still have issues from that to this very day...not just from the bullies, but from numerous authority figures who failed me miserably. There is no excuse for this. Our children have a legal and moral right to expect a safe school environment and the students and faculty who allowed this to go on, failed that obligation and violated that right. The idea that getting bullied is a "life experience" that makes someone a "stronger person" was always a myth, now it's just horse and buggy thinking. The principal and superintendent need to go and their replacements need to adopt a tough anti-bullying policy.

    And yes, I do agree with another poster...where were the parents? Something went badly wrong somewhere to allow their children to do this. At best they were in denial...I hope to God they weren't specifically taught to be this way, as some of my own bullies actually were.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:23 am |
  17. Cathy

    Rather than blaming the teachers....why doesn't anyone mention the parents of the perpetrators? Maybe there should be parent training on how to prevent your child from bullying others – Unfortunately, the ones that need it would probably not attend because "my child would never do anything like that".

    March 31, 2010 at 6:49 am |
  18. mark anthony

    we never know what is inside the head of our young people, and we must take the time to listen to them at all cost.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:04 am |
  19. Capt Stokes

    One of the best cures for bigotry is close association with members of different ethnic groups. Speaking personally, I am the scion of a family of well known Plantation Owners in Greensville ,South Carolina in the 18th century; who were bankrupted by abolishion I grew up with recism in the extreme. In my twenties, as a Big City Fireman, much to my dismay, I was sent to an all black firehouse. As the olny caucasian I was treated friendliness and respect. We ate together, fought fires together, and watched each others backs together. Very Soon the difference in color faded away. I owe my life to Milt Williams and Capt.Taylor who resked theirs sto save mine on several occasions. Altho' my forebeares must be whirling in their graves I am overjoyed that Mr.Obama was elected President, and that he is carrying on the legacy of FDR!

    March 31, 2010 at 12:50 am |
  20. Quinta

    Every student who was involved with the bullying of this young lady should be punished by law enforcement. The faculty and parents who did nothing should also be punished. You have to be a strong person to deal with bullying, stalking, and electromagnetic harassment. Alot of americans are attacking other americans because of jelousy or revenge. I thank Anderson Cooper for talking about this abuse. I truly believe that the young man who killed the 30 plus students at a college about a year ago was also bullied and harassed and look how he handled it. He killed alot of innocent people also that he thought was involved. Anyone who has ever been stalked, harassed or bullied can look at the young man who killed all of these college students was being bullied.

    March 30, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  21. xlt

    bullys can only exist if others allow! I fell the girl must have stepped over the line,we exsit by the will of others..

    March 30, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  22. xlt

    avlon is a joke,hope you deliver the real deal.

    March 30, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  23. jim vicalvi

    If the teachers are in a union they will walk. obama has so decreed. This is the first disease that should be eliminated. If they are not happy let them walk. There are millions of unemployed willing to step right in.

    March 30, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  24. Bill from Rotonda West Florida

    We are prevented from torturing terrorists, but it seems that torturing fellow students is ok. That poor girl was tortured – brainwashed into thinking that ending her life was a viable option.

    March 30, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  25. Loredana Marti

    My comment is this:

    I am wondering why CNN is not reporting anything about an apparent slaying of a prominent Arizona rancher on his property near the Mexican border, to be more specific at the locality of Bisbee (AZ) ?

    Robert Krentz, 58, was found fatally shot Saturday. A helicopter crew with the Cochise County Sheriff's Office discovered his body inside his Polaris all-terrain vehicle along with his dog, which also had been shot and critically wounded.

    Thank you!

    March 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  26. Ruth

    Bullying should absolutely not be tolerated. It has gone unpunished for way too many years and left scars too deep to ever recover from. What kind of person would advocate bullying anyway?

    March 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm |