Bullying’s prevalence (22% among American students aged 12-18) spurs parents and schools to action, having to teach how to identify, report, cope, and stand up to it.
They Discovered Their daughter’s Bullying
When one dad discovered that his daughter had joined a gang of bullies at school, the solution seemed obvious to him.
Although his wife agreed with the punishment, his parents protested that the radical measure was “too harsh.”
How Severe Should The Punishment Be?
As a result, the dad turned to ask the Internet: Can a punishment for bullying be too severe?
Writing in an online forum for moral dilemmas, the dad described the situation as a “complete shock” to him and his wife: “Yesterday, I was informed that my daughter ‘Charlie’ was part of a group of students who bullied another girl to the point that she had to switch schools.”
Bullied Teen’s Mom Reaches Out
According to the email the dad received from the victim’s mother, Charlie and her friends started bullying the girl at the beginning of summer break, right before her senior year of high school.
The Form of Bullying That Took Place
Although the news of their daughter’s behavior was already upsetting, the parents were most dismayed by “the racial aspect” of the bullying.
“Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort,” explains the American Psychological Association.
What is Racial Bullying
Not all bullying involves physical injuries—subtle actions or words can also cause emotional and mental pain.
Racist bullies target a victim because of their racial background and often rely on offensive slurs, discriminatory behavior, and harmful stereotypes as weapons against their peers.
Upset Parents Vent Their Frustration
Both parents were incredibly disappointed to learn that their daughter had harassed another student to the point of forcing them to transfer schools.
“My wife and I truly did our best to raise our three kids to be kind and honest individuals,” he lamented.
Does It Need A More Severe Punishment?
In the dad’s opinion, Charlie’s poor behavior had exceeded the standard punishments implemented in their household (ex.: being grounded without the use of electronics).
The severity of the crime meant he needed to come up with a harsher penalty.
She Deals With The Consequences Of Her Actions
“She won’t be allowed to participate in homecoming or attend senior prom,” the parents finally decided.
“I also told her that she won’t be getting a car for her 18th birthday either. Finally, I told her that she’ll have to delete all of her social media accounts with either me or her mother watching.”
She Tried To Plead Her Case
Charlie was devastated by her punishment. The daughter begged to be allowed to attend her senior prom, arguing that it was a “once-in-a-lifetime event.”
Similarly, she requested to keep her Instagram account since it housed pictures dating back years.
The Stern Father Did Not Back Down
The dad was unmoved by his daughter’s pleas: “I told her that she shouldn’t have been a racist bully.”
Some family members considered the teenager’s punishment to be unjust.
Grandparents Speak Up
Charlie’s paternal grandparents disagreed with their son’s parenting methods. Since they were temporarily staying as guests at the house, the grandparents protested on Charlie’s behalf.
“[My parents] agree that what Charlie did was completely out of line and must be punished, but they think that making my daughter miss homecoming and senior prom and forcing her to delete her social media is far too harsh,” the dad revealed.
Mixed Reaction From Social Media
Online users in the comment section were equally divided.
However, the main debate was not whether Charlie’s punishment was too severe. Instead, most commenters were genuinely at odds over what punishment would be most effective.
Is There A ‘Right Way’ To Do It?
Taking away her social media and parties might make the daughter as unhappy as the girl she bullied, but would it teach Charlie the right lesson?
“It’s a balance, people,” reads the top-voted comment, which argued in favor of teaching Charlie repentance and redemption. “Raising a teen means there have to be serious consequences for serious actions, but also teaching them how to behave in the right way, and that requires a path for earning back what they have lost.”
Stop Adding Insult To The Injury
Although a few users suggested Charlie volunteer with kids of the same race as the girl she bullied, this proposal had more detractors than supporters: “Places for vulnerable and sick people are not zoos where we ‘raise awareness’ about social issues. The people there are real people, not teaching moments.”
Help Her Want To Learn A Lesson
“Requiring her to go to therapy and sensitivity training, and perhaps volunteering at something difficult but that doesn’t put her in a position where she could lash out at vulnerable people, is a good call,” advised another commenter.
As one user wisely wrote: “The goal here isn’t to Teach Her A Lesson, but to help her want to learn one.”
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This article was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Source.
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.