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Another take on no-bullying video

By Nathan Rice

There’s a video making its rounds on social media in which a young boy describes his kindergarten’s no-bullying policy. The boy says that that the rule states if someone hits you that you are to tell the teacher. You are not allowed to hit them back.

The video continues as the boy gives his opinion on the policy. He then gets a big smile on his face as he says, “Here’s my no bullying policy. If Johnny hits me in the face, little Johnny’s gonna catch these hands. We’re gonna have matching black eyes.”

This video has been posted by many of my social media friends and is typically shared without comment. This leads me to believe that the adults sharing this video agree with the statements of the kindergartener. I strongly disagree. This video is not a good life lesson as it states, it’s not funny, and it’s not cute. It’s sad. I find it tragic that so many adults seem to think that the proper response for a kindergartener who has been hit by a classmate is to hit the other child.

I will start by saying that everyone has the right to defend himself or herself. This right extends to the kindergarten boy in the video, but his statements are not about self-defense. The video is not about doing what he must do to get the other kid to stop hitting him. It’s about taking matters into his own hands and getting revenge.

I understand not everyone follows God as I do, so the command to turn the other cheek and leave vengeance to the Lord might not mean anything to many. However, do we really think allowing children to take matters into their own hands is the best policy? Are we comfortable allowing children to deal with issues like bullying on their own, levying their own decisions on how it should be handled? Do we think 6-year-olds are mature enough to properly handle these situations on their own?

The idea of a child telling a teacher that another child has hit him is laughed about in this video, but that is exactly what he should do. This puts the responsibility of handling the situation and deciding on proper discipline in the hands of a mature adult instead of those of a 6-year-old.

When I teach children about bullying, I tell them to get out of the situation as soon as they are able. They are allowed to defend themselves, but they must not do more than is needed to get out of the situation. Hitting someone back when the danger is over is no longer self-defense — it is revenge.

They should then go tell an adult who is in charge, such as a teacher. Adults are there to help, and the adults are the ones who should handle the situation. If a teacher is unable or unwilling to fix a situation, then someone else, such as a parent or guardian, should go to the teacher or principal to help stop what is happening.

It’s think it’s sad that so many seem to think that hitting back is the best response. It’s also sad that we think 6-year-olds are mature enough to handle these situations on their own. Children are not mature enough to properly handle these situations on their own, and they should not have to deal with them on their own. We, as adults, should be the ones handling the situation. We need to teach our children how to properly respond to this type of bullying, and we need to be there for them when situations like this occur.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.