Today in short answers to simple questions

Jessica Bennett in Newsweek (via Making Light, comments section of post):

Indeed, if these students are bullies, according to the law, what does that make the rest of us? Massachusetts’s anti-bullying statute defines bullying as repeated behavior that, among other things, “causes emotional harm” or “creates a hostile environment” at school. If it were applied to the real world, wouldn’t most of us be bullies?


The rest of that article is a weird mix. I think the author tries to add some shades of grey to what has so far been a very black and white account of a high school student being “bullied to death”, and she does make some good points: Phoebe Prince’s death may not have been completely attributable to the bullying, the perpetrators are now themselves being bullied quite viciously, and treating their behaviour as criminal risks wasting the potential they still have to grow up to become better adults. But what Bennett ends up sounding like is someone who excuses the bullies on the grounds that they are such bright, preppy kids; someone who shifts part of the blame back to the victim on the grounds that she was no angel herself; and someone who has some scary ideas about how normal adults relate to each other.