For some time, I been increasingly concerned about the disconnect between today’s parents’ fears for their children’s safety and the fact that children today are objectively safer than they have ever been. In my neighborhood, I watch parents drive their children to the bus stop, waiting with them for the bus to arrive. Our schools all have locked doors, even though in the forty years that I have worked in them, there has not been a single intrusion. Children’s live are increasingly scheduled, often with appointments with various service providers who take care of everything from English tutoring to karate lessons, the latter often chosen to provide self protection. In this era of over-protective parents, the so-called helicopter generation, it should not have been surprising that the perception grew that we are experiencing an epidemic of bullying among the young, bullying being defined as almost anything from name calling to physical violence or the threat thereof. I’ve watch uneasily as anti-bullying laws have been passed and as schools have adopted carelessly drawn anti-bullying policies that fail to distinguish normal misbehavior from menacing conduct, laws and policies that have significant enforcement costs in time and money but which to my mind offer little in return. Yes, there is what we would all agree is bullying. It’s our response to it that concerns me.
With these concerns in mind, I stumbled upon Nick Gillespie’s article on the subject in The Wall Street Journal. It’s a must read. You may not agree with all of his conclusions, but I think you will agree our society is not dealing with the issue of bullying rationally.