Reblog: The Hard Next Chapter

holding hands with feet
The right of self defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals, and whether the attack made by Spain herself or by those who abuse her power, its obligation is not the less strong. ~ James Monroe

This is a reblog of an article I wrote in 2008. It’s amazing to me how much can still be the same 10 years later. What do you think? What has changed and what hasn’t since publishing this in 2008? I’m curious to know if you think we have made a difference.


So, the time has gone by and I’m finding it tough to write the next chapter of the story here. It’s not that I don’t want to continue and finish the stories of my youth of being bullied, there are only a few stories left, but it’s more than the last story told was the most painful one to tell. Even years later, it still haunts me to have to deal with the use of a weapon to defend myself.

That said, this Sunday I read a very interesting story in The Washington Post that brought reality to my situation. The story told of a boy in Prince William County, VA that was dealing with a bully situation. A bully was stalking him and his younger brother. The article goes on to say that the boy ran home and got one of those plastic pellet guns to scare off the bully. What happened next is a lesson in the difference between my youth and today’s zero tolerance society.

That apparently ended the incident but began a 12-year-old’s hands-on lesson on zero-tolerance policies in today’s schools. Administrators, mindful of fatal shootings that have occurred on or near campuses across the country, say they must intervene swiftly and forcefully any time gun threats emerge.

In general, a student who makes a credible threat against another student, teacher or the school is immediately suspended and later taken to the school with parents for questioning by a psychologist and social worker.

“We’re looking at whether the student is rejected or excluded by peers. You’re looking at a history of violence,” said Audrey Davis, a clinical psychologist who is the Prince William school system’s threat-assessment coordinator. “We’ve had kids who say, ‘I feel like the Virginia Tech guy.’ I have students who have revealed they are having hallucinations, that demons are speaking to them, telling them to destroy.”

I guess I got lucky. This boy has been suspended now for over 10 days. I imagine there is some debate about whether he was defending himself or would he have gotten a real gun and killed someone. This is a real issue and by punishing the boy who was being bullied, I have to question, are they punishing the bully too for creating the incident?

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About Alan Eisenberg

Alan Eisenberg is a Certified Life Coach, Bullying Recovery activist and author of "A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance" and "Crossing the Line". He has been writing and speaking to various audiences about the issue of C-PTSD and Bullying Recovery. Mr. Eisenberg has been featured on several print, radio shows and podcasts on this issue, including NPR and in the Boston Globe. He is currently working toward his Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
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One Comment

  1. All too often, when the bullied child does try to defend themselves, they are the ones whom the authorities come down on the most. I know this from experience.

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