Tell the teacher, or fight back?

Well this is based on the other thread about bullying on here.

As a child I was told, by the teachers, to never fight back or respond violently when bullied, and to just report it to a member of staff. My dad vehemently opposed and ridiculed this policy and told me if someone punches you, you punch back, and that’s the only way you’ll ever gain respect. After experimenting with both methods I found my dad’s worked best, so I fought back.

Has anyone had any similar experiences? Do you think it’s wrong to fight back? Why would teachers ask you to do something which obviously does nothing to solve the bullying?

Because teachers aren’t necessarily in the business of condoning fighting. And the tolerance for that sort of behavior is even less today than it was decades ago.

When I was in 7th grade, I was threatened at school by another kid and we ended up fighting on the sidewalk. One of the coaches intervened and took us to the gym drug out the mats and had us put on boxing gloves and told us to go at it. After about 5 minutes, both of us were wore out from swinging at each other that we both gave up.

There’s no “it depends” option, so I can’t vote.

If your bullying is exclusively verbal and non-violent, replying with violent means may be seen as an escalation, in which case appealing to the authorities might be the best you can do.

If it’s anonymous, who’re you gonna punch?

If your bully is the opposite gender, you’ll have problems, especially if you’re the male.

Poll needs more options. The best course IMHO is to tell first, then fight back if the problem is not handled by the adults. Teachers and staff are there to ensure such problems don’t occur. If they fail to do their jobs then there is no reason to let another person abuse you.

I’m a teacher, and you better believe I handle bullying fiercely. If a teacher doesn’t, they’re not doing their job. And you better believe I tell students to come talk with me.

A a child I learned that teachers and administrators were either unwilling or unable to protect me. Not only that, but breaking the schoolyard omerta would have resulted in derision from my young peers and me being ostracized. I hope things have changed since then.

I was always mild mannered and kept mostly to myself. I ended up the target of verbal and physical bullying at two different schools. I reported it at both schools and absolutely nothing changed. I then proceeded to beat the crap out of each of the bullies while off school property. I never heard another word from them.

This was many years ago. In one fight a teacher who was driving home saw us, stopped, and intervened. The next day she had us called to the principal’s office. He basically lectured us but said he could not do anything about the fight since it was off school property. Those were the good old days when schools did not regulate student’s lives away from school.

While I was growing up I was always told that I should never start a fight. But, if someone’s messing with me and he starts one then I am to defend myself and make sure I don’t lose.

It only happened once. I didn’t lose. That was the end of that.

What happens when you try this strategy, but it turns out that the bully is a much better fighter than you? I was occasionally given this advice (“Just stand up to the, they’ll back down”), but it never seemed all that practical.

Yeah, I always felt like I would’ve needed a weapon to be on par with some of mine, and THAT would’ve definitely been asking for all sorts of trouble.

Tell the teacher. If you don’t think the teacher will do anything (or if the teacher doesn’t do anything), tell the counselor or the assistant principal or the principal. Hell, in our school, you can come tell any one of the secretaries or the nurse, and we’ll see to it that something is done. If you fight back, you’ll end up getting suspended along with the other kid. It may not be fair, but when we’re presented with two bloody combatants, there’s really no way for us to make the call about who did what to whom. Tell the teacher.

For what it’s worth, I choose the option “Other,” which you forgot to include.

Also - fighting back only is an option with physical bullying, which is mostly done by/to boys. Girls bully each other verbally/socially - through shunning, through snide comments made to each other but just loud enough for the victim to hear, through offering “advice” meant to hurt rather than help, by giggling behind a hand whEnever someone talks, or a million other ways that are too subtle for a direct confrontation.

No. There’s nothing wrong with self defense. And when the authorities refuse to do their job, then you have no choice but to try to solve problems as best you can yourself.

Because most of them either don’t care about bullying or actively encourage it; or at least that’s what they were like in my schools. And the few that tried to help were universally terrible at it. Complaining about bullying to most teachers would be ignored, responded to with a sneer about tattle-tales, or result in me not the bully being punished; victims were supposed to just shut up and take it.

Well I was still shunned and insulted and told to go back to my own country, but at least there wasn’t anything physical after I fought back. And I learned to cope with the other stuff.

SORRY everyone for not having more options I only had physical bullying in mind when making this.

In my school the teachers just gave the bully a stern word which usually resulted in the victim being bullied even more. My friends’ mum even came in to talk to the teachers about it but in the end he left the school after a particularly violent beating where his head was hit repeatedly against a wall. The only punishment we had when we got into a fight was to spend our breaks standing against a wall which I didn’t mind if it meant keeping my head in one piece.

Tell that to the eight girls we suspended last year for physical fights. We even took two of them to hearings and suspended them for the rest of the school year, since it wasn’t their first time. And the mother of one of those girls threatened another girl’s mother with a baseball bat (we begged that mom to report it to the police, but she wouldn’t).

We also do address the sneakier forms of bullying, when we can. Times have changed. Fortunately (for the most part), school authorities in general take bullying more seriously than they used to.

That’s good to know.

I think it still varies from school to school, and it’s not that long since I’ve been at school. Not sure how much difference there is between England and the US in this regard, but I know of some schools here that still do next to nothing.

The answer between the choices thing x and fight back is almost always fight back.

Me too and it sounds like Der Trihs had some rather odd teachers.