My relatives in Philly are in the “anti bullying” mode after a local schoolboy died after beaten by thugs.

My comment?

Maybe if the locals had paid more attention to the terrible bullying incidents against Asians in the area a couple years ago, that the school would have implemented a strict “no violence” policy. Perhaps if the attacker known he would be punished for his actions, Bailey would be alive today.

That will probably lose me more Facebook friends.

Bullying of children is not new: It occurs to anyone who is different by being fat, ugly, too smart, shy, or a different color. But in today’s world, “bullying” has become a code word for anti gay violence.

Yet racially based bullying is much more common.

The schools don’t want to punish the perpetrators if they are from a protected minority, and if one says this out loud, one is called a racist.

So the press reports use euphemisms for the incident: for example, this headline says: The boy “was in a fight”…But then the story goes on:

 “A district attorney investigating the death of a 12-year-old suburban Philadelphia student after a brief altercation in the school yard said Tuesday the boy was punched two or three times in the face and did not fight back.

This  was not an “opinion” but a fact: the fight was caught by surveillance cameras.

Then there is the question if this attack was the reason for the boy’s death, since his symptoms didn’t appear immediately.

The medical details in this article suggests that the boy had an subdural hematoma that resulted in symptoms that developed a day or two later,  which is alas common in these injuries. Often, a CT scan done a few hours after the head injury (usually because the person complains of persistant headache) would let docs diagnose this before it became fatal, but sometimes the initial CT Scan is negative, or not done. And most cases can be treated medically, as was done with Hillary Clinton’s recent injury.

Yet to pinpoint what caused this injury depends on a careful evaluation of the trauma.

The point was that even though the victim was punched hard enough to break his nose (which must have bled all over the place) the teachers sent both him and his attackers back to class, didn’t even notify his mom for a few hours.

And only later did they “suspended” the attackers for two days.

Question: Are fights so common at that school that the incident was shrugged off?

So much for the school’s concern about children.

But what is not being told in the story is the race of the two who assaulted him, or the fact that his school is in a minority area. You won’t get that from the news, and unless you watch this NBC interview you wouldn’t even know that race might be a factor.

Every white parent in the area knows this, but political correctness keeps them quiet. And the press knows the problem, but they too ignore this aspect of the case.

The reason can be found in this graph:
CDC:

For all the discussion of “America” as a “violent nation” or the high murder rate, no one wants to suggest that such violence might be more common in one group than other groups.

But of course, bullying has more to do with power.

Black kids and Hispanic kids in majority white schools are also bullied, and the bullying and harassment of black males students who are seen as “acting white” i.e. studying, is also a major problem in some inner city schools..But in many school districts, the rule for parents is that once your child’s school becomes “majority” of a different “minority”, you move to another neighborhood. Why? In the Philadelphia area, it is an open secret that teachers are supposed to look the other way in racial bullying cases if the perpetrator is of the protected minority.

And that, not “bullying” is the elephant in the room. This incident will only heighten racial tensions in an area known for racist attitudes on both sides.

Nor is the culture of violence in public schools a white/black problem.

From USA Today, January 2010 about racial attacks at a nearby school:

Inside is a cauldron of cultural discontent that erupted in violence last month — off-campus and lunchroom attacks on about 50 Asian students, injuring 30, primarily at the hands of blacks.

The Asian students, who boycotted classes for more than a week afterward, say they’ve endured relentless bullying by black students while school officials turned a blind eye to their complaints…District spokeswoman Evelyn  Sample-Oates said the school is investigating and that some of the suspended students could be expelled. She also said the district is cooperating with police, though no criminal charges have been brought.

This December 2010 article from the Washington Post says all has been settled: the school district has been forced to hire a “consultant”.

So let’s just move along, nothing to see here…

So how could the schools have intervened to save the life of Bailey?

This CDC report says that half of such murders were preceded by a threat of violence.

Was this true in Bailey’s case, and was the bullying behavior by the kids who attack Bailey ignored by teachers? Did he fail to report the bullying because of fear that they would “get” him for reporting the attack? Or is his school one that sends  an unspoken message that students are allowed to get away with this type of behavior?

I speak from personal experience: My youngest  son was bullied for months at one rural school, but the school told me they wouldn’t intervene because the bullies were allowed “freedom of speech”.

That was white against Hispanic bullying, but never mind.The teachers knew that if they tried to punish the redneck kid, well, maybe they’d get their car tires slashed or worse for doing so.  (I promptly changed my son’s school).

Yet school violence is not limited to inter racial attacks.

The UKMail reports that a recent attack by African Americans (2o percent of students) on Somali students (8 percent of students) in a Minneapolis high school recently was only after years of inter racial tension caused by their “privilege” of taking off on holy days or for saying their prayers.

Another dirty little secret is that similar bullying occurs to black students, usually male, who get good grades and study. They are punished for “acting white”, but again no one wants to discuss the problem.

The CDC pushes the teaching of non violent resolution of “conflicts” as one way to stop the violence. Good.

For ordinary students, arranging cross cultural training will help, as this article on defusing anti Somali sentiment in the mainly white StCloud MN school district shows.

The elephant in the living room, however, is the “gang” mentality: Us vs Them…If you are not one of us you are to blame, and if one of us does something wrong, they are innocent victims of the system.

But when this mentality is reinforced by actual gang rule, where cliques and gangs terrorize their fellow students, the result is violence, and even those not involved in gangs copy their cues from the gang.

In the South Philly High School, even the teachers joined in with ridicule of the Asian students before the mass attack happened.

A CDC report on gang violence can be read here.There is a podcast up at the Free Library of Philadelphia by Les Moore who discusses this problem.

…the New York Times bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore, a memoir
that explored the chilling possible fates of fatherless urban boys. …he’s the founder of a mentoring program that works with Bal­ti­more youth involved in the crim­i­nal jus­tice system. Discovering Wes Moore explores success and
failure and the challenges of growing up and making difficult choices.

The link between fatherless boys and crime has long been known, and was pointed to by the Moynihan report.

The bad news is that now the social pathologies listed in that report are not limited to one race or place, and are now the norm for American children.

Yet even this is not the full answer, since the local TV station interviewed the accused attacker’s father.

So were the attackers influenced by TV and movies that show that violence is the only answer for problems? And if so, shouldn’t this too be part of the discussion?

But that’s a story for another day.

——————————————–

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines.

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