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My younger sister tells me she's having trouble at her new middle school; one of these is that a boy, who tends to be the class clown and troublemaker, makes fun of her underbite. I told her to notify her teacher about these insults and to absolutely make sure that people will not find out that it was her who told them off. I was relieved to hear that her teacher completely agreed with her, and his parents will be notified, and that her anonymity will be respected. However, she tells me that when the boy was called and taken by one of the school administrators during one of their classes, he returned unchanged.

He then made a slightly racist remark on my sister, telling her that her brother is probably Kim Jong-Un (we're Asians if it isn't clear) resulting in a few nearby classmates giggling a bit.

I told her that she has 3 options, in order of severity:

  1. Tell the teacher. Mention that he used a racist remark and to her it is verbal abuse and discrimination. Those 3 terms have heavy implications and will surely bring a severe punishment to the boy; but since he seems to not care about punishment, this might not do much change.
  2. Ignore him. I told her that as long as people don't really have the same opinion as him or the insults don't become viral, it can just be brushed off as an isolated incident. However, what I fear is that if she leaves this untouched, this will alter her reputation at her school which is currently fragile because she has no friends in her class and in her school. She does, however, have a cousin but she doesn't seem to help often, most of the time occupied with her own friends.
  3. Make racist remarks back at him. This is the most dangerous, but arguably the one that my sister doesn't disagree with. She has been holding back insulting comebacks at him for a long time. The kid is of African origin, so it's quite easy to make up racist remarks at him. However, this is heavily shunned upon, unfortunately. I obviously don't want her reputation to go hand-in-hand with the term "racist" but again, I don't want to leave her undefended against these insults. So I tell her to be extremely cautious if she is to choose this option.

Here are my questions:

  • What is the best way to deal with this type of bullying in the role of an elder brother?
  • What can I do to prevent this?
  • Are your parents not aware? I would think your parents should talk to the principal about it. – Tycho's Nose Sep 18 '17 at 19:37
  • @Tycho'sNose, they already know; I haven't thought about talking to the principal though. – Pradana Aumars Sep 18 '17 at 19:38
  • I never said that I wanted to talk to her teacher or principal personally. – Pradana Aumars Sep 18 '17 at 19:44
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    "However, this is heavily shunned upon, unfortunately" If it was really that unfortunate, you wouldn't have a problem with them making racist remarks to your sister either. It's a good thing that the racist remarks are shunned, or else the only real option is to put up with it. – JMac Sep 18 '17 at 19:52
17

Make racist remarks back at him? NOPE. When they go low, you don't.

You have two equally valid options remaining:

Tell the teacher. or Ignore him.

If this is a one-off retaliation after he got the punishment, I'd suggest ignoring it. Once ignored, maybe there's no longer an issue from him.

But if he continues, then report it to the teacher, or even further, the principal or other more authoritative figure. They should know that whatever corrective action the teacher tried is not enough in this case. If you have your parents with you, that would make it a more formal and convincing complaint.

The authorities are there for a reason. Kids don't have to fight crimes or harassment themselves. They should focus on studies and have fun. The rest of it, leave it to the adults who are trained in handling it.

Well, of course, it would be better to not let it be known to the classmates regarding who made the complaint.

  • 1
    I fear that my sister's reputation would go down the drain if it became known that she just relied on authority to handle this issue instead of handling it herself. – Pradana Aumars Sep 18 '17 at 19:46
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    @PradanaAumars The authorities are there for a reason. Kids don't have to fight crimes or harassment themselves. They should focus on studies and have fun. The rest of it, leave it to the authorities instead of worrying about it much. – NVZ Sep 18 '17 at 19:47
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Option 2 seems to be the most viable option. But I have a story that I think you'll appreciate.

I am from India. Attended school in India. Bullying is a big thing in India, but never something actually addressed. The term bullying is not a recognized as something that needs to be addressed. When you go to the teacher about someone bullying you, you usually have the teacher giggle/laugh at the remarks made towards me and a casual "Hey, stop doing that!" and that is it. Nothing more.

I was the subject of people bullying me and harassing me ALL the time. My classmates called me ugly names, insulting homosexual names (I wouldn't have been offended if I was just being called gay, just the insulting form of that word in it offended me), made fun of my parents, talked crap about me behind my back, every nasty thing you can think of, they've done it to me. Including physically hitting me.

After a particular point, I just stopped fighting it. I just agree to everything they say, join them, and make fun of myself along with them. For instance:

Bullies: Look at this guy, walking around like a [derogatory term].
Me: Haha yeah, why do I walk like that, I am so weird!

Bullies: Your mom is so fat, does she eat for the entire family?
Me: Yeah, I starved last night, do you have something to eat for me? My fat mom wouldn't stop eating my food.

Just join them and insult myself. You know what this did to the bullies? It agitated them! "No, you are not supposed to laugh at yourself, we are supposed to laugh at you!".

The satisfaction for a bully comes from affecting you. From causing pain to you. Even when my bullies started to beat me, I just grab their hand and hit myself with their hand. I point to my stomach and say: "You missed this spot".

ANYTHING a bully has to offer, take it with grace! Take it like you like it. When they see you not getting affected by their words, they tend to stop. I went through the whole: "I think this guy lost it, he doesn't even react to us insulting his entire family. He is a weirdo" phase. But that is fine. I'd rather not be friends with them anyway, why does it matter what they think of me?

This is how I learned this: A friend of mine was subject to bullying. He was a good looking fella and all the ladies thought he was attractive. But it is still humiliating to say out loud that some lady is interested in me sexually. All the bullies kept saying that about him. He started responding to that saying: "So what, I am going to marry that woman anyway". They got bored of it and moved to an insulting homosexual remark. His response to that was: "Oh yeah, come give me some sugar then hot thing!". I looked at him and thought, "that is a beautiful idea to handle A-Holes like that. "

Conclusion:
When a bully comes up to your sister and says:

"Is Kim Jong-Un your father?"

Tell your sister to say this:

"Yeah he is about to nuke your house first. Would you like that baby?"

Make his skin cringe. Make him not care about you because you don't seem to care enough to take offense to his remarks. If you go to the teacher, you are just telling the bully, "Hey you are affecting me stop doing it". That is what is making him keep coming back. Unless you are going to be able to get him kicked out of the school and out of the city you guys are in, going to the teacher is going to keep backfiring on your sister.

Things not to do:

  1. Do not respond with racist remarks. This is going to put you in an incriminating position. You should always hold the high ground.
  2. Try not to go to the teacher too much. If the bullying goes out of hand, yes. Going to the teacher is absolutely vital. But not for every little thing.
  3. Show no weakness. However badly it hurts, ask your sister to control her emotions in front of the bully.

Disclaimer:
I know my story is based off an Indian experience and it is entirely different in other cultures. My response is just from a human behavior standpoint. Not a legal standpoint. If my answer does not apply to your situation, please let me know in the comments and I'll change my views on this topic.

I hope this helps you.

6

her brother is probably Kim Jong-Un

Answer: "I know. We have nukes."

Also, there's one very good line she can pull on a bullying guy:

"I don't care what you think or say."

Make racist remarks back at him.

NOT RECOMMENDED

If she looks korean and the other is african, then all the anti-racists, teachers and staff included, will side against you. Don't do this!

What is the best way to deal with this type of bullying in the role of an elder brother?

1) Become buddies with the bullies until they take you seriously enough to respect your demand to stop hurting your sister. It can pay off, but it takes a while, and you may not be interested in becoming bullies with them. I used this tactic in highschool, worked fine, but they weren't very hardcore bullies.

2) Violence, or at least the threat thereof. You could end up with a knife stuck in your gut, though. Inconvenient.

3) We're all just evolved monkeys.

If you're older, taller, and confident, you can simply earn the younger bully's respect and then capitalize on that to make yourself heard. Thug logic is simple: they respect people who are not impressed by them, and pick on those who are fearful. So you just walk to the guy, stop a bit too close, and say "If someone bothered your little sister, what would your big brother do?" then after three seconds "You won't bother her anymore."

If it's believable enough, it'll work. You don't actually need to get into a fight. Think of it as monkeys thumping their chest. The most impressive wins, the other walks away knowing who's his daddy, no offense.

I didn't mention the teachers, because they're always about "second chances" and such idiocy. When I was bullied, I quickly found out that beating up the idiot worked very well. Afterwards, he was kinda my buddy, because thug logic. Even tried to help with his homework, but it was no use, that guy was hopeless. Probably dead of an overdose by now.

Also, be on the lookout for bruises on your little sister, if you see her undressed. I mean, don't stare, but make sure you look. If there is a bruise, talk to your parents, at this point the police would be needed.

And give her a hug, maybe she needs it.

5

Involve your parents. First and foremost, this is something your parents have to take action against by notifying the appropriate authorities (teachers, principal). If her school has a school psychologist they also need to get involved. The school should know what action to take e.g inform the child's parents.

I told her that she has 3 options, in order of severity:

Tell the teacher.

Yes.

Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.

Ignore him.

No. Ignoring won't stop the child from bullying another child even if they stop bullying your sister. He needs to learn that his behavior isn't acceptable towards anyone not just your sister.

Don’t ignore it. Don’t think kids can work it out without adult help.

Make racist remarks back at him.

NO. This doesn't help anyone.

Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

What is the best way to deal with this type of bullying in the role of an elder brother?

Educate yourself and others about bullying. There are many resources online. You (and your parents) could:

  • Ask for a parents meeting about it so that more parents are involved and informed about bullying.
  • Suggest the teacher to hand out leaflets (you could print some out yourself or draw your own) about bullying to every child in your sister's classroom to read and give to their parents.
  • Ask your sister's teacher if she would be willing to schedule a day when the children watch a movie about bullying, are asked to write about it and have a discussion in class.
0

The location is very important, not just for cultural 'clues' to appropriate behavior, but because different countries have different laws applying to situations like this ..

I see from the OPs profile [and @NVZs comment] that you're in France. If you were in the US, there are laws and procedures in place to help people take care of this type of bullying behavior ... I don't know with absolute certainty that there are similar laws/procedures in France, but I strongly suspect that there are.

All of that having been said ... let's look at your 'proposed' solutions:

1) Yes, start with this ... and if you/your parents don't get a satisfactory response, go up the chain to the next level of supervision/administration.

2) Maybe. This may not bring the desired results, but not responding is almost always the best initial response to a bully.

3) Absolutely NOT! This will put your sister in the wrong, and may result in her being punished by the school or expelled. Do NOT do this!!

What can you do?

Get your parents involved ...

Keep up the pressure on the school staff/administrators to stop the bullying behavior ...

Help your sister not to buy in to the bullying.

0

If your sister is psychologically or physically hurt, then it needs to come to the school director or at least the referee teacher.

I was a bullied kid when I was in middle school (it was 10 years ago). People didn't like me because I was not speaking like them (understand that I used vocabulary that you usually find in books) and I looked too serious all the time. I was verbally assaulted, physically threatened, other kids had fun putting gum in my hair, and so on.

It lasted two months before I decided to talk about it to my referee teacher. I explained everything to her. A week after, the assistant director invited me to meet her and I had to explain everything again.

The assistant director was a respected and feared woman. When she summoned my whole class (I wasn't allowed to be in the room) she asked them why they were acting like this with me. They were scared being confronted by a figure of authority. The bullying immediately stopped after that, even if my classmates didn't talk to me that much for a while. But I have never been bullied again since then.

If the bully kid is likely to respect and/or fear the referee teacher or the assistant director, then I would suggest your sister to go talk to them. That way, they could summon the kid and have a conversation with him/her. No matter what, the teacher and the director need to know. Bullying is a common and severe problem in French middle and high schools and it can put the bullied kid's health in real danger. I don't know how familiar you are with the French school system, but you need to know that if the bully kid goes too far, they can be expelled from the school for a few days, and maybe more.


Caveat: I grew up in France, and even if there are laws that are supposed to protect people against any racist discrimination, the kind of remarks your sister has to bear are sadly quite common. I'm afraid there is still an important part of the population that support day-to-day racism, even without knowing it.

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