Sounds Like Some Bullying Bull To Me

, , , , , , | Learning | November 30, 2019

(I am the small, quiet kid in school. One day, a known bully walks up to me out of the blue and throws a punch. I go down instantly, and the bully then proceeds to kick me and swagger off. I hear the monitor blow their whistle and chaos erupts. I end up in the office with a bloody nose, a lot of pain, and… a three-day suspension from school.)

Me: “But he threw the punch and kicked me while I was down!”

School Official: “[My Name], you were in a fight. It doesn’t matter who threw the first punch–“

Mom: “Excuse me… The bully did this in front of multiple witnesses, all of whom said [Bully] attacked my daughter, kicked her, and walked off. My daughter was completely the victim.”

School Official: “[Mom], we have a zero-tolerance policy for fighting in this school. That means that if you’re in a fight, you get punished.”

Mom: “So, what you’re saying is that [Bully] can beat up whoever he wants, knowing that his victims will be punished just as severely as he is. You realize that you are reinforcing his bullying, by then bullying innocent children on his behalf.”

School Official: “Ma’am, it is not bullying to enforce a policy against fighting.”

Mom: “If the policy punishes the innocent, then it absolutely is bullying.”

School Official: “I’m not going to argue with you any further. Your daughter was in a fight. She’s suspended.”

(My dad taught me how to defend myself, and my mom told me that regardless of what the school said, I was not in trouble with my parents. I ended up staying in a large group of friends, which helped protect me from the bully, but every year I attended that school, bullies would pick fights, and the victims would be punished, too. The zero-tolerance policy did not stop fights; it just taught kids that if they were going to be punished anyway, they might as well earn it. Fights got a LOT messier before I graduated.)

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Karate Man Versus The Ninja

, , , , , , | Related | November 29, 2019

When I was in third grade, I often struggled to sleep. As most young kids do in that case, I would go to my parents.

I had not learnt how to tell time yet but knew that if the light in the hallway was on that at least one of my parents was still awake and in the living room. 

It was on. 

So, little, tired me walked into the living room — at what I later learned was 2:00 am — to see the back of my dad as he was turning off the TV and other devices. 

To get his attention, I tapped his shoulder.

His black-belt karate instincts kicked in and the only reason I wasn’t knocked out was that I was tiny. 

After much whisper-shouting, and after he realized that he had nearly punched his child, he finally got me to bed. I had to promise to always announce my presence from a distance and for a while carried the nickname of “Little Mouse.”

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One Punch Man

, , , , , , | Learning | November 15, 2019

(For the past few summers, I’ve worked as a camp counselor for an arts/theatre camp in between semesters at school. The camp is based out of a school but we’re not connected to the school. For context, I am a certified EMT with extra certification in Tactical/Combat medicine. I’ve also done Krav Maga — an intense Israeli martial art — for a few years and am about to become certified as an instructor in that. The female counselor is about to finish her teaching degree and has about eight years of experience teaching and working with kids under her belt. Our campers range in age from about four to ten, and we have about 30 of them. We take them out to the playground after lunch. After about ten minutes, I notice the boys getting rougher and rougher. Then, one boy punches another in the jaw. I immediately break up the fight and check on the victim, who is the brother of the puncher.)

Me: “Are you okay?”

Victim: Yes.”

Me: “Do you need ice?”

Victim: “No.”

Me: “Do you need me to call the trainer?”

(We’re supposed to ask for liability even though I guarantee you I know more than she does. Whatever, I don’t mind.)

Victim: “No.”

(About every ten minutes for the next hour, I check on him and ask him the same questions. His response is always the same. My female counselor disciplines the brother. It’s not harsh because we’re at camp but we believe it’s fair for a punch. Turns out the victim had been stealing the brother’s hat throughout the day and he’d eventually had enough. The next day, we’re called to a meeting with my boss and the person in charge of the school’s summer program. The mother of the boys is also there. We tell them what happened.)

Mother: “I can’t believe you didn’t call the trainer. My son could’ve had a broken jaw. He came home saying his head hurt all day.”

Me: “He didn’t want me to call the trainer.”

Mother: “He said you didn’t even give him any ice.”

Me: “That is correct.”

Mother: “Don’t you think someone with medical experience should’ve seen him? Honestly, the entitlement of you all is astounding.”

Me: “Yes, I do.”

Mother: “Then why didn’t you call the trainer?”

Me: “Because…”

(I list my credentials to her.)

Me: “That, coupled with the fact that when I asked him, he said he didn’t want the trainer, made me think it wasn’t the best use of her time.”

Mother: “Well, why didn’t you stop the fight?”

Me: “I did. The second I saw the punch, I intervened.”

Mother: “Why didn’t you intervene before the fight started?”

Me: “Because I’m not psychic. I’m gonna go do my job now.”

(I walked out and back to work. The mother and boss of the school’s program wanted me fired but my boss refused. Luckily, she agreed with me and realized how dumb the mother was being.)

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Deaf To Reason, Part 11

, , , , | Right | November 14, 2019

(One of my coworkers is this young woman in her early 20s. She’s deaf and usually wears a hearing aid, but she can lip read and sign just fine. Her job mostly consists of unpacking and loading merchandise on the shelves so it’s rare that she has to deal with customers, and most customers seemed to understand that… except for this one time.)

Me: “Hello there. How may I help you toda—”

(The customer ignores me and directly walks towards my coworker.)

Customer: “Hey, you! Come over here and help me find [product]!”

(My coworker has her back to the customer so she doesn’t notice her yelling.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’ll be more than willing to assist you if you need anything; there’s no need to bother the other workers here. Plus, she’s—”

Customer: “No! I want her to help me; she’s lazing around the store doing absolutely nothing while you work your a**es off! These types of people need to learn a lesson! HEY! YOU!”

(She cuts me off and angrily steps towards my coworker and blocks her way.)

Customer: “I’ve been talking to you for a while now. How dare you ignore me, you b****?!” *pauses, seemingly noticing something in her ear* “You were on the phone this whole time?! I cannot f****** believe this! I am a customer and I deserve to be treated with respect!”

Me: “Ma’am—”

(I can’t believe my eyes. The crazy customer starts attempting to yank the hearing aid out of my poor coworker’s ear while the customer continues to scream, demanding proper service.)

Me: *while pushing her away* “MA’AM! FOR GOODNESS SAKE, SHE’S DEAF! Leave the store now or I’ll call the police to kick you out personally!”

Customer: *red-faced, realizing what she has done* “WELL, I DIDN’T KNOW THAT SHE WAS DEAF!”

Me: “Does that give you an excuse to violently yank something out of someone’s ear?”

(The customer left the store quickly and I contacted a few numbers to report about the case and have this woman banned from our store. My poor coworker, fortunately, didn’t have any injuries, but she got switched to work at a different department later on.)

Deaf To Reason, Part 10
Deaf To Reason, Part 9
Deaf To Reason, Part 8

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Self-Defending Your Answers

, , , , , , | Learning | November 8, 2019

While at university, I was a member of the Science Fiction Association. We shared a lot of membership with both the D&D club and, importantly, with the University Regiment. This meant that a lot of us learned a great deal about self-defense by osmosis.

Dial forward twenty years. I’m a teacher at a girls’ school, and our principal decided to have a guest lecturer to talk about assertiveness and self-defense. As part of it, we were asked to describe how we might react to someone trying to steal our money while making a withdrawal from an ATM. I’m sure that they were expecting “run” or perhaps punch with keys interlaced with fingers and other similar responses.

However, by coincidence, one of the staff at the school was also a female friend from uni who’d been a member of the Science Fiction Association. Our natural reaction was to start describing all the ways that one could disable or kill an attacker. I mentioned punching in the throat to crush the larynx, she talked about a palm strike to the nose to drive the bones up into the brain, I followed up with… well, you get the idea.

As we did so, we gradually noticed that the other staff were backing away from us.  

We got a lot of odd reactions for years afterward, and the principal never brought up self-defense again.

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