Bullying the Bully: Is it Right to Fight Back?

As a human being, we have two main instincts: fight or flight. What happens when we choose to fight? We’re allowed to punch back, right? Actually, it’s encouraged that we don’t.

Bullying is defined as abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc. (merriam-webster.com, as of 2020). The effect bullying has on students’ mental health is absolutely horrific. Children that are bullied are more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety, as well as have self-esteem issues. So, why are they not allowed to punch back?

A code of morals is in place for all schools in Texas. As established by the Education Code of Texas (Under Chapter 37, section 7), which “[specifies] that consideration will be given, as a factor in each decision concerning suspension, removal to a disciplinary alternative education program, expulsion, or placement in a juvenile justice alternative education program, regardless of whether the decision concerns a mandatory or discretionary action, to: (A)  self-defense…” In summary, no matter what happened,  despite bullying and “self-defense,” a student should not hit back.

However, it is understandable that this rule was created, seeing that certain students may abuse that kind of power, which might be why the statement was included in the Education Code of Texas. It is also stated that students should not bully, and those students will be in major trouble for doing so. If a student is caught bullying, then they will be punished accordingly.

On the contrary, what if the bullying is NOT caught? What if students suffer in silence, until one day they have had enough. And that is where students begin to punch back. And once they do? Suspension, ISS, Detention, and more. Children must learn that their actions have consequences. If a bully gets away with an apology and a couple days of ISS, and the student bullied also is punished, does that teach the victim of bullying that their actions are bad, or does it teach the bully that their actions are equal to that of the victim?