TARGETED TEENS AND 20s: How do you handle a high school bully?

Lovefraud recently received a letter from a 17-year-old high school student–we’ll call him Brandon. He wrote that another boy at school was using manipulation to bully him.

When Brandon resisted, the bully asked what he had done wrong, and why Brandon was being so mean—I can almost hear the false concern and sincerity dripping from his voice. The bully told Brandon to apologize.

What happened next was classic sociopathic behavior. Here’s what Brandon wrote:

When I moved away from him, he came and found me and was aggressive and wouldn’t leave me alone. And kept getting other people involved by asking them to ask me why I wouldn’t talk to him.

He then punched me and blamed me for punching me saying, “you made me do it.”

When I went to teachers to tell them they said that they can only talk to him not discipline him.

However, after I spoke with teachers about the incident he came back and wanted to know why I’d complained and then swore at me.

He is very good with words and can make himself look like the victim all the time.

My school isn’t doing anything about it and whenever I see teachers they say that he doesn’t mean anything by it all and didn’t know he was doing anything wrong.

So I’ve seen a very sinister side to this kid, which the teachers haven’t seen themselves.

Because he punched me… should I go to the Police? Would that work?

I wasn’t sure how to advise Brandon. Generally, of course, we tell people to have no contact with the person who has targeted them. But how do you have no contact in high school? Brandon already moved away from the bully, and the bully continued to follow him.

So I discussed this case with a good friend, who is a high school supervisor. She advised that Brandon file a complaint with the school’s guidance counselors.

Because of the legal concept of in loco parentis, or “in the place of a parent,” schools are legally responsible to act in the best interests of students. School officials are representatives of the state, and have authority over incidents that happen at school, or during school functions. If the bully assaulted Brandon outside of school, his only option would be to go to the police.

This happens. My friend told me that there are several cases at her high school in which students have restraining orders against each other.

The importance of reporting the incident to the guidance counselor, or whatever the procedures are at this student’s high school, is to establish a paper trail. School officials can’t do anything without documentation of an individual’s transgressions.

I imagine that Brandon needs to be very strong to take these steps, especially when bully is conning the teachers with the pity ploy, and the clueless teachers term his behavior a “communications problem.” Brandon didn’t mention his parents—I hope they are supporting him.

But still, for practical purposes, what works in this situation? Will reporting the bully enrage him, and cause even more bullying? Or is it important for Brandon to take a stand, file a report with the cops, and let the bully know that at least one student is not taking his crap?

If you have any advice for this young man, please post it.

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44 Comments on "TARGETED TEENS AND 20s: How do you handle a high school bully?"

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I’ve never hear of the restraining order at between high school students option. I think that’s a great idea.

It is very important that Brandon’s parents know what’s going on and take immediate action. Schools have “zero tolerance” policies, which are intended to PROTECT THE SCHOOL AGAINST LIABILITY AT THE EXPENSE OF BULLYING VICTIMS. God, I pray that message got through!!! Brandon’s parents need to go into the school TODAY and talk to the school principal. They must make both Brandon and the School officials know that the school officials may not meet with Brandon without his parents present and that BRANDON MAY NOT SIGN anything without his parents permission!!! Zero Tolerance policies effectively mean that if there is a physical altercation between Brandon and the bully, both boys will be held equally to blame. Brandon will find himself one step closer to being expelled from school. The bully won’t care, he loves drama. Brandon and his parents will be beside themselves. Don’t let it happen. Nip it in the bud. Go Here and Read:


It’s important for Brandon, his parents and the school to know that Brandon has options most people don’t even consider.

Brandon doesn’t have to go to that high school. It’s usually fairly easy to relocate to another school in district.

Brandon doesn’t have to go to public high school. He can attend a private school. If his family is extensively involved in church, any number of local Christian schools will give them financial aid packages.

Brandon doesn’t have to go to school. There are a great many home schooling options. Brandon doesn’t legally require supervision all day either. He’s too old for that. Depending on their state, Brandon could begin home schooling today. The school can bluster, but if they harass Brandon and his family, HSLDA will put them in their place.

Brandon may be ready to pass the GED test and start at the local community college. In many cases this can be accomplished in a matter of weeks.

Personally, I think more parents and students should opt out of public schools that fail to educate or fail to protect their students. There is a mindset in the Public Schools that the are entitled to their students. The Public Schools don’t understand that educating our children is a privilege they can and should lose if they don’t do their jobs effectively.

Here is a snippet of conversation from a martial arts blog I belong to.

The moderator posted:

What should be done? Here is an 18 year old girl who committed suicide. View the story and then chime in not on what she did but what should happen to the bullies, and should the school be held responsible?

I responded:

It appears the victim was 18 at the time she committed suicide. How old were the bullies? How old was the “boyfriend”?

The boyfriend and the bullies so lacked empathy that they deliberately tortured their victim over time. Mental health professionals describe this characteristic as a symptom of Sociopathy. Usually there are cultural factors that contribute to this problem. If you ask me, 18 is awfully late to try to fix it. Empathy usually develops in early childhood, as a direct consequence of healthy emotional bonds. If an 18 year old is that messed up, turning the tide at that point is extremely difficult.


Sociopaths are undeterred by attempts to make them understand how their behavior has effected their victim or society. In other words, understanding human Psychology actually enables them to perpetuate crueler abuses. The only hope for the perpetrators is punishment for misbehavior and reward for good behavior. It’s a thin hope because Sociopaths find great reward inherent in their misbehavior, and behavioral science has proven that reward works more effectively than punishment. We can try to punish the perpetrators, but our culture currently doesn’t sanction punishments harsh enough to get their attention. The budding Sociopaths will either snap out of it by the age of 25, or remain human wrecking balls. The odds are 50/50, and no one’s figured out how to stack the deck toward a favorable outcome.

That leaves the school system, and I think they should get hammered hard. Current American Public School Policies tend to absolve the institution of responsibility for preventing emotional abuse of students. Considering the current scientific understanding of the lifelong effects of childhood bullying on the victim, this represents criminal neglect – at best! A case can be made for much worse.


I bet there are other bullying victims. There always are. I hope the school system faces a class action suit.

(As a parent interested in the healthy development of my children, I’ve read extensively on these topics. There is a huge body of research supporting the idea that bullying is a sign of serious developmental problems and being targeted by a bully profoundly harms children. For these reasons, I conclude institutions that shelter bullies are culpable. I’m pretty sure the civil courts will be agreeing with this assessment soon. The evidence is stacking up.)

Here’s another post I made on the same forum:

Why Zero Tolerance does not protect your child, and may place him/her at even greater risk:


A word about Columbine –

Long after the talking heads were done pontificating on the evening news and the incident was dramatized in a screenplay, the FBI finished shrinking the perpetrators heads. Here’s what they concluded: Harris was a Psychopath, Klebold was clinically depressed.


Nope, no bullies, no abuse, no neglect, just the loathing of a Psychopath for the rest of humanity and the impressionable nature of a severely depressed teen.

So zero tolerance does nothing to prevent a Columbine HS style shooting. Zero tolerance just puts another wall of legal protection between the school and responsibility for putting and end to bullying behavior.


Young men want to handle things themselves. I respect that. This is one of those times when you need to look to your parents and maybe their lawyer for help.

The school officials believe bully’s targets are themselves disordered. They believe that you are the type of person who doesn’t know how to ask for and receive help effectively. Yes, they believe this in spite of the fact that you have gone to them repeatedly for help. They believe this because it is part of the dogma that supports their legal defense plan to protect themselves from litigation against bullying victims. This legal defense plan is morally reprehensible. Ironically, this moral depravity only makes the officials more deeply invested in the pseudo-psychology that justifies it.

You must go directly to the people in your life who are on your side. That’s your family. Let them know just how serious this is. They will help.

You are not alone. Other students, their families and their lawyers have already coped effectively with the problem you’re experiencing. Your parents may not even have to hire a lawyer at this point. They may be able to solve the problem with a brief consultation with one of these other families, followed by a trip downtown to file that restraining order.

“…a high school supervisor … advised that Brandon file a complaint with the school’s guidance counselors.

This is fine, but doesn’t do a thing to protect Brandon.

Brandon’s been assaulted in front of witnesses. School officials took no action. The school is praying his parents and the law don’t get involved.

The school knows that the psychodrivel that supports the loopy notion that the bully can run wild because he’s “troubled” is indefensible outside of their highly insular, daffy little world. Who knows what color the sky is on their planet. It sure ain’t blue. They may be a bit confused about the color of the sky, but they’re smart enough to know that the earthlings existing outside of their alternate reality do know what color it is.

HSLDA’S page on state home schooling regulations. Don’t make a move toward home schooling without consulting them:


My kids have been doing Language Arts for the past 10 minutes. We’ll start Social Studies in an hour, Math in 2. This afternoon will be Science. At 3 we’ll go to the community center for athletics with other homeschoolers.

We’re not home schooling because we have nothing better to do. We’re home schooling because our local public schools did not educate either child in the 4.5 years we entrusted them to their care.

It’s an option.

I have seen reports in the local small-town paper police logs of “calls for service” at a local high school for “assaults”…call the police and report it! File a complaint.

Our local schools have “no touching” and PDA (Public Display of Affection) rules in their “handbook” and refuse to enforce them. Gavin De Becker’s “The Gift of Fear” has an excellent section on school safety and security and their neglect in these matters.

Homeschooling. Not for everyone, but for those who can and will…for the right reasons…best option. Schools fear the long US tradition, 100 years plus in the courts, reaffirming “The fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children”.

Elizabeth Conley…HSLDA…good people, good org…used to have them on speed-dial on every phone in the house. Their US Constitution course was the best I’ve seen. A decade or so ago, or more, I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Klicka, Mike Farris, and Scott Somerville of HSLDA…salt of the earth!

Donna & Elizabeth Conley…just because the schools think they have the power, and have made inroads, I do not accept the fact that either I or my children give up our “God given” rights under the US Constitution when we step on government school or other government property.

A Southern Indiana Federal District Court judge by the name of Tinder (I believe now a Court of Appeals Judge in the Chicago district), a decade ago, ruled a “diminished expectation to privacy rights” for public school children, opening the door for random drug testing and police drug dog searches.

To my knowledge, no authority exists in the school system to give them immunity for excusing criminal behavior…any crime in a school should be reported to legal authorities for investigation and prosecution…by the student and parents, if the school won’t. Unfortunately, in my locale, the judges, especially the juvenile judges, think of themselves as “social workers”.

Assault is a crime, battery is a crime. The school is an “enabler” if they excuse it.


“Assault is a crime, battery is a crime. The school is an “enabler” if they excuse it.”

That’s how I see it. I went to an after hours “bullying problem” seminar at our local elementary school. This was before I gave up on them. There was a woman from downtown there to give the seminar, and two school counselors snoozing on the back row. Attending were 3 parents and 7 students. All of the kids were bullying victims or children who were upset about what the victims were suffering. To our incredulity, the woman from downtown explained to us that our children were targets because they did not know how to ask for help, and did not trust authority figures. We were blown away by this, because our children had all been begging for help day in and day out, week after week. They begged teachers, they begged librarians, they begged janitors. They came home crying at least 3 days a week, telling us about their problems.

So where did this loopy notion than only secretive kids get victimized come from? Why did the school district adhere to this mantra in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. How could we, mere parents and therefor total “know nothings” change their minds? It seemed we couldn’t. Besides, no one with the authority to change things was present.

The more research I did, the more appalled I became. The schools are definitely enablers here. In fact, they foster the subculture that bullies thrive in.

For this reason, and many others, we opted out. I was spending all day, every day volunteering in the school anyway. Still, the quality of my children’s education was very poor and their environment was miserable. Most of the education was occurring at home in the family room during my most stressful time of the day. I had to clean house, make dinner, get everyone ready for sports/music/church and teach the days lessons so they could do their homework. The stress was enormous.

Elizabeth Conley…you’re spot on, it hasn’t changed, and won’t, if things continue as they have. High school consolidation…let’s see….Robert Hare et al…apply the numbers, and the fact sociopathy/pschopathy “emerges” at adolescence. High School with 1,000 students…1% to 3% of the population is psychopathic, or 10% (min) disordered in some way?

Think they know how to deal with it? Oh, and that idea about having courses to help students identify and avoid them? Sure, then the non-disordered students will be able to recognize, avoid, and deal with the P’s. Gee, whose “self-esteem” will be damaged?

How about PCL-R’s for administrators, teachers, and staff…the “education associations” (insert “unions”) wouldn’t stand for it….they have 4th Amendment rights!

How schools handle sexual predators….just google “schools+pass+the+trash”. Welcome to the world as it is!

And don’t you just love the assignments sent home on prepared sheets….homework for the parent and child….to be completed, signed and returned…what are they doing there all day? Homeschooling…much more efficient and effective, and the other half of the day you can do cool stuff and get to know your children, and they know you. Not to mention “religious education” is permitted.

As Oxy says, I’ll get off my soapbox now….LOL

Brandon will have “won” over the bully if he feels stronger and more confident about his ability to defend himself (psychologically and physically) when it’s all over.

What do I suggest he do? Keep it simple. Like others here have said, inform the school, his parents, leave a paper trail, keep a list of kids who have witnessed what has happened, and then MOST IMPORTANTLY Brandon should figure out how to treat the bully the way he does NOT want to be treated. Brandon needs to shift who is in control of their interactions from the bully to himself.

-ignore him (don’t ‘avoid’ him per se, it will make him feel like he’s controlling your behavior – something he wants)
-minimize interaction, but be “polite”, like you would be to a mentally challenged stranger (resist the temptation to over do it, you don’t want to escalate things, just diffuse them.)
-ACT LIKE HE DOESN’T MATTER in all your interactions
-PRETEND not to be afraid or intimated if you are . Put on a brave show. It’s not lying, it’s called having boundaries. You don’t have to let him know how you feel.
-have witnesses report his bad behavior to the school administrators, if possible, not you. It keeps the school in the loop, but makes the bully realize that he didn’t get to YOU.
-if the bully gets physical again, defend yourself, physically. Don’t over do it, don’t use a weapon, don’t threaten to kill him or to put a bomb in his locker… but please, show him he can’t violate you like that. If you get a few days suspension or a bloody nose or worse, so be it, it will be worth it. Your self-image, self confidence and knowledge that you can handle life’s bullies is more important than that.

This sort of thing happened in my kids’ school. (Though there wasn’t any physical violence, “only” intimidation.) The school recognized that there was a problem, but handled it very badly. So much so that the target kid got fed up, threatened to bring a weapon to school and kill the bullies, and was expelled. The bullies are still there.

The targeted kid got so frustrated that when he finally acted defensively, he went over board. He should have been expelled. The adults in his life (and school officials) should have been punished too though, because they didn’t diffuse the situation. They ignored it as much as possible, hoping the kids would just learn to “play nice” all on their own. They should re-read “Lord of the Flies”.

hope this helps,

Well, back on the soapbox…Cedrus….”Intimidation” is defined and listed as a criminal offense in the legal code of the State of Indiana.

And, I’m not disagreeing about the advice on self-defense, but the non-disordered defender in our district will end up in “Alternative School” with a higher percentage of P’s…or expelled…they’ll “understand, work with, and protect” the bullies….they already have “investment” in them.

“And don’t you just love the assignments sent home on prepared sheets”.homework for the parent and child”.to be completed, signed and returned”what are they doing there all day? ”

They had the kids for 6 hours a day. Not just any 6 hours, but the prime hours of the day. Still, at the end of each week 75% of the written material that came back to me was stuff I did with the kids as homework. It was the more challenging material too. At school they did the no-brainer stuff, and not much of it.

Then there were the extras. These loons really thought they they NEEDED to talk to my elementary age children about sex and murderous rampages, among other things. Their taste in children’s literature alternated between vacuous and damaging. The staff’s behavior was often so appalling that they modeled things I’d have punished either child for. Time after time I’d have to discuss things I hadn’t intended to discuss until the kids were much older. These lunatics had bewildered the kids with knowledge neither child wanted nor needed.

All this tiresome drama took precedence over the basic responsibility to teach Composition and Arithmetic, two subjects we never skip here at home.

It’s between the bullies and the lousy education; I don’t know which I resented most.

Jim stated: “understand, work with, and protect” the bullies”.they already have “investment” in them.”

Yepindoodles. Brandon’s bully already knows all the lingo to make all the enablers pat him on the head, call him a “good little dysfuntional” and baby him through to his final diagnosis. By the time he gets there he’ll be able to talk rings of psycho-drivel around the prison psychologists.

Brandon and his parents are normals. They don’t know the lingo, and would have to become pretty sick to acquire it. Best not to go there.


Consider getting your parents involved, if they arent already. Bringing the bullies parents into it a huge plus! Require meetings and demand something be done. You must continually advocate for yourself ..all your life! 🙂

If you have friends that are witnessing his “bullying” – talk to your friends ahead of time and ask them to nonchalantly use their cell phone to video his behavior..also pickup a little pocket recording device and hit play… cant hurt to be able to show the “teachers/admin” the other side of this guy they dont get to see firsthand.

I recently suggested to a friends college kid to actually find a quieter time, a downtime (if its possible with these people) to try to wipe the slate clean. He did it a lunch. He said, listen we are going to be here for a long time and it seems to me we should be able to find common ground. Because whats happening here is getting us nowhere. If Ive offended you in anyway, I certainly didnt mean to. Lets just be done with it and respect eachothers space.

It worked for him.. But there wasnt any physicalness to their prior interactions just alot of verbal abusive bullying. At first my suggestion was of no interest to him because he felt he did nothing wrong and would look like as he said “a wuss” – I said sometimes you have to deal with these people one step above on the ladder, looking down and realizing their limitations and inability to ever be a mature responsible man. Sometimes you have to “manipulate” them to your advantage in a healthy and unassuming way to find the balance you seek. Put your pride aside and suggest a means to an end in a tactful way. AGAIN, this worked with a nonviolent bully. Because of the way it was approached and the “sincerity” of the request, he received it as he was receiving some sort of apology, or WIN, and he accepted the “truece” –

Otherwise limit your contact and interaction with him as much as you can. And limit any reaction to his actions. In fact almost as if you’re bored. No comments or facial expressions — simply no reaction at all.

Good luck!

Well, I’ve used up my “post allowance” for the day…life awaits. Has Oxy finished her breakfast and coffee yet?

Later….heal on! LF is good.


Learned the Lesson gave good advice. In particular:

“..also pickup a little pocket recording device and hit play” cant hurt to be able to show the “teachers/admin” the other side of this guy they don’t get to see firsthand.” These devices get tinier and cheaper every day. Here’s the hard part though. This works best if NOBODY knows you have it. Yes, this means your bros. If you can’t play it this way, don’t bother! If you talk and they talk, then this strategy just serves to ramp up the drama.

She also told you to act bored and be boring. This is very helpful. Conduct Disordered kids crave constant stimulus and love excitement. If you’re boring, he’ll lose interest…HOPEFULLY!

Have a good day Jim.

The kids are cranking through their last few assignments before lunch. I’ve got a pile of laundry to get through too. This afternoon is going to require all my attention. Science is fun, but it requires focus.

Peace Out!

WOW! What a wake up thread!

Great Advice Elizabeth! I can tell that you are passionate about all this and I can’t blame you at all.

My ADHD son C was always the butt of the bullies at school, and this is one reason I took him out of school and home schooled him for a while (back when it was ILLEGAL to do so) I finally found an appropriate chuch school I could put him in but after a while realized it was affiliated with a semi-peronality cult group and removed him) had another woman who home schooled her kids take mine as well, I was in college myself and unable to do an adequate job.) Later, after my graduation and our move, I found a GOOD church school again and kept him there. Upon moving to Texas, I couldn’t afford the private schools, and the distance away from me was not a do-able thing, so I put him back in public school for 1 year, but it was amiserable failure so I let him “drop out” and take his GED. Texas would not let him take his GED til he was 18 since he had “dropped out” and he was only 16 so he worked for two years, took his GED an made one of the highest scores ever made there and started college. He did well in college and graduated with an AD and a high grade average, he also has nearly enough credits for a BS as well. He is a machinist and tool and die maker, and loves his work so he probably will never go back and finish his BS but he’s happy, so what the heck!

Brandon is getting an opportunity to learn about psychopaths first had at a young age. I think though it is painful, it is a wonderful opportunity for him to learn how to handle this type of person and for him to realize that he will not be the last psychoplath that he encounters in life. Learning to deal with this high school bully will be the start of him learning to deal with the other psychopaths that he meets in life.

Elizabeth’s advice is good and depending on how upset Brandon is about the bullying (I suspect the emotional and social impact of this kind of thing is worse than the physical punching).

The fact that the psychopath is accusing Brandoon of “ditching” him (this must be a capitol offense in high school LOL) the bully is obviously trying to make Brandon into a social “bad guy.”

I agree Brandon’s parents should get involved in this and that he should file a complaint with the school district about the teacher’s apparent unwillingness to “get involved.”

However, taking into consideration that there are CONTUINUAL “tempest in a tea pot” that the social scene of a HS generates I imagine they think this will be one of those. Obviously it is not.

I agree also with the TAPE RECORDER in his pocket. I think this would give Brandon the proof he needs to show that Bully is lying and being “goody” in front of others while being sadistic when there are no witnesses.

I imagine that Brandon will take a social hit no matter what he does in this case, be labeled a snitch if he reports and a coward if he doesn’t. I think at this time, though, Brandon needs to feel EMPOWERED and VALIDATED. Unfortunately the teachers are apparently hoping this will just “go away.”

I suffered through these “to do or not to do” questions with my own ADHD son so I definitely feel for Brandon. All kids are somewhat social insecure in HS and this only makes it worse to encounter someone like Bully.

I do think that Brandon’s parents should get involved, but there was nothing in the letter to indicate he had parents willing to get involved. Otherwise, why would he turn here?

Brandon approaching the school counselor might be a good option depending on the counselor. It’s tough being a teenager in a HS at best, and in a HS where you are exposed to bullying it is even worse.

Brandon if you are reading this, ((((Big Hugs)))) you are not alone in dealing with a psychopath, but this may turn out to be the best lesson of your life and will protect you for the rest ofyour life from the people just like Bully that you will meet out in the “real world” (HS is not like the outside world all that much). You can get through this!!!!


You may have been hurt, but you also have an opportunity. Your tormentor thankfully sounds like only a garden-variety bully, and bullies are opportunists. They go for the easy target. You have many options to handle this that can help your self-esteem, your social skills, and your popularity.

First you need to arm yourself with information. You’re 17 and soon to be an adult, and I assume so is he. Handle this like an adult. The law is in your favor, and when he violently struck you, that’s an act of assault. You’re not going to tolerate that again. Has he bullied anyone else? Do you know them? If not, get to. You all need to get together and form a consensus that bullying must end at your school right now. You’ll all promise to report any bullying you see and not let up. There is strength in numbers.

Next you will need to confront the bully. You can’t appear to actively seek confrontation or appear to be ganging up on him as he could use these perceptions against you. Try to time your passing through the hallway so that you are likely to run into him. Bring a friend or two along who has sworn to stand by what you say. If you can, plan it for an area where they might be a few people who you know have solid characters and are more likely to spontaneously defend your stand. What you want is to create the strong impression that his peers do not condone and will refuse to tolerate his bullying.

When he’s around, let him come to you. At the first sign of bullying or other inappropriate behavior, you have your opening to confront him. Tell him what he did last time was wrong and that he won’t be doing anything like that again. Look him in the eye as you say it and show no sign of fear. Tell him he’s nearly an adult and that, in the world of adults, there is no excusing that behavior. Next tell him where he stands: Any punch, any kick, any spit will be considered a criminal act of assault that you will report to the police. If he hits you anyway, call 911. Then and there. Ask bystanders to wait since they are witnesses. If the police want to push this off to the school for them to take disciplinary action, tell them that the school has been unable to protect you and others from the bullying and make sure they take your statements and file a police report.

Hopefully you won’t have to escalate it to the point of calling the police. Public opinion may shame him into good behavior at least then and there. When you’re speaking to the bully you will also want to address those around you. “Our high school deserves better than this” or “We should be able to walk through the hallways without fear of attack.” Sentiments everyone will agree with. Invoke a little school spirit if some athletes or cheerleaders are around. Link your cause to theirs. Also If he does relent, stay true to your word and call the police. You really don’t have to put up with bullying.

If there are LGBT high school students who are experiencing this, LAMDA Legal has a chapter in every state and have sued several school districts for failing to protect LGBT students from harrassment/bullying. They have won these cases.

Also, it’s worth contacting the ACLU in your state — if they can’t help you, they are very good about referring you to organizations that can.

I’m in California and here is a link to our state’s website on bullying. It has been an important subject out here and the schools are saying they are not going to tolerate it. Brandon, you have got to get someone to help you, this happens to many many other students and is a serious problem. You know there is something wrong with him, normal people don’t act this way.


you must have missed some of the NOTs in my post. Otherwise, I am completely confused by your statement:

“Well, back on the soapbox”Cedrus”.”Intimidation” is defined and listed as a criminal offense in the legal code of the State of Indiana.”
I said (new emphasis):
“… ignore him…minimize interaction, but be “polite”… PRETEND not to be afraid or intimated if you are… if the bully gets physical again, defend yourself, physically. (But) DON’T over do it, DON’T use a weapon, DON’T threaten to kill him OR to put a bomb in his locker” but please, show him he can’t violate you like that….

This sort of thing happened in my kids’ school…. The targeted kid got so frustrated that when he finally acted defensively, he went over board. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXPELLED….”
I was definitely NOT advising Brandon to intimidate or threaten the bully, but to be smart in his interactions with him, and defend himself if he has too.


Cedrus…must be my day…I meant the bully intimidating Brandon….NOT Brandon intimidating the bully. Oh, well….I’m confused, too. When that happens, I take a vacation….might be a while. Continue healing on Lovefraud….




Hey, Jim, you are now the “male equuivalent of “oxy” ” Are you going to sit still and let her call you “names” ???? Ha ha ha ha

Good morning, actually, afternoon, it is 12:01….

The schools here have the “no bully” logos up all over the place. I see them when we go to the schools and do our living history things.

I am sure that most schools are trying to at least stop the PHYSICAL intimidation of the physical bullying but I don’t see how they can ever stop the emotional bullying that goes on. The kid who is different, who is left out of the social circle.

Kids can be so cruel at that age, even the “good kids” who will still emotionally wound someone who wants to have “friends.” There are some experiments here iin AR with Junior high separate schools for boys and girls. That may help some, I don’t know. It may make it worse.

I know that school can be hell on the kid who doesn’t fit in. I was never part of the “jock in crowd” but was one of the “nerd crowd” but my school was small enough and had enough programs for the “nerdy” kids that I never felt excluded. I had to change schools in the middle of the 11th grade due to my dad taking a job in another town, and it was very anxiety-provoking for me to leave the school group I had attended since 4th grade and knew my “role” in that group of students and teachers. It made enough of an impression on me that I vowed then I would keep my kids in the same school from 1st to 12th—it didn’t work out that way though, but that was my intention.

There was only one time when I was bullied, and that was 2nd grade, where an older and bigger kid in my class would beat the snot out of me every morning. I actually was ashamed of being beaten, and didn’t tell anyone. When she broke my jaw with a coke bottle one morning, it became obvious and was handled immediately. I still to this day can’t understand why I was ashamed and didn’t “tell”—maybe the “don’t be a tattle tale thing” that is pounded into our heads, so one thing I did with MY own kids was from an early age tell them the differences between being a “tattle tail” and “telling.” Being a “tattle tale” is coming and saying “Johnny called me a doo doo” and TELLING is saying “Johnny is setting the house on fire.” They seemed to grasp that concept from 4-5 years old and would come and TELL me when some kid was doing something dangerous (rock throwing etc) and the problem was handled immediately.

I think as long as there are Ps and budding Ps that there will be bullying. Remember the book “Lord of the Flies?” I think that book clearly indicates what happens with kids if there are no adults to teach them civilization.

Oxy… t’was a compliment to the dear lad…quite the compliment I might add! 🙂

DEar learned,

Thank you sweetie!!! I knew what you meant, just making a little joke! Being complimented actually embarasses me, I guess part of me loves it and part of me feels I don’t deserve it. That’s another thing I am working on.

I don’t know if you have ever read the book “The Impostor Syndrome” but it is about as an adult feeling like we really are NOT competent etc. and that we feel like we are just “imposters” who have the other people fooled.

I can remember feeling that way when I was in 7th grade. I had taken a spelling test and made 100% (the only one in the class to do so, but spelling is NOT my big asset) anyway the teacher praised me for this and my thought was “Boy, did I have her fooled.” WTF? I did deserve the praise, I did a good job, but I felt I hadn’t deserved it, that I had “fooled” the teacher into thinking I made 100%!

I got wonderful job evaluations as well (with one exception) and I never felt I “deserved” them…yet I tried harder and harder to do the right things and did a “bang up job” in my career, yet, I never felt I was “good enough.” I focused on my lack of PERFECTION, nothing but PERFECTION was good enough to me, and I knew I wasn’t perfect, so therefore I wasn’t “good enough.”

I set the BAR WAY TOO HIGH FOR MYSELF and WAY TOO LOW for others. I a working on changing that. I am working on giving myself permission to NOT be perfect and stilll be OK. I can accept imperfection in others, but it is difficult to do it for myself.

And, Yes, I think Jim is a very level headed sharp guy with a great sense of humor! He is an asset to LF! If I wasn’t already “engaged” to Henry (if he decides to go straight) I might start to flirt with Jim! But you know, being “enagaged” to Henry keeps me from flirting too much with all these other great guys! Where is Henry lately? Haven’t heard from him in a while. I guess that’s what happens when you get a new job!

no problem.

I think it’s unreasonable to expect a high school student to be able to deal effectively and safely with a person who exhibits psychopathic and or sociopathic traits. Look at all the stories on this website that show how difficult that is for adults.

When the adults at school are powerless (baloney, but as long as they don’t intervene, the net effect is the same) there isn’t much Brandon can do but avoid this bully or leave the school.

Brandon is obviously motivated and intelligent. For a high school student to contact Dr. Leedom shows a startling level of insight or perhaps the guidance of a good parent. Either way, Brandon would probably do very well as a homeschooled student.

My own son had a problem with a boy I believe to be either psychopathic or sociopathic – the behaviors we saw fit with those labels and beyond that, this boy just felt “bad” in the same scary way another sociopath I had the misfortune to come in contact with felt. Since there were only a few weeks of school left, we decided to allow my son to stay in school but advised him to avoid the other boy as much as possible. Most importantly, our son was NEVER to speak or be around this boy without witnesses. We felt that (as in Brandon’s case) the teachers and guidance counselors would probably do more harm than good (this boy was an astonishingly accomplished manipulator) so we didn’t even bother asking them for help. We did give our son a crash course on how a psycho/sociopathic mind works so he’d have the proper respect for the danger we saw.

Because my son is not a psycho or sociopath, it was hard for him to empathize with the other boy. We used the analogy of a rattlesnake to help him grasp the concept. There’s no communicating with a rattlesnake, no explaining your perspective.

Since my son was no longer interesting to torment, he was left alone. I feel sure this was because this particular psycho/sociopath is young (two years younger than my son) and because high school is a rich hunting ground for someone like that.

I sincerely hope Brandon survives this contact without the consequences that so many others have suffered.

Dear Gentlepath,

Thanks for posting your perspective on this. It sounds like you gave your son a good LESSON IN LIFE, and many times, the things you suggested and your son seemed to implement well, WILL work if the bully is not too vested in THAT particular victim.

You are so right that HS is a “rich hunting ground” for psychopathic kids. Especially the larger schools. Thanks for sharing your take on this.

Well done for reporting it to the school. If you get nowhere with the school, I would go to the police. It sounds like school personnel want to wash their hands of him. They know he is a discipline problem and will probably graduate him even if he doesn’t know how to read just to get rid of him.
He sounds like a budding sociopath and not only your problem but societies problem. The police are best able to deal with this since they are there to protect and serve and enforce the law. He hit you which is assault and battery and against the law.
You sound like a compassionate kid and probably realize that there is more to this than meets the eye. He could be from an abusive family, it is good to see that he gets some help or at least be held accountable for his actions.
Say,” I am not going to be a victim of abuse”. Stand up for your rights. He violated your physical boundary and your psychological boundary by hitting you and trying to turn the tables on you, twist the truth, don’t let him get away with it. If he does get away with it, it will probably get worse.
You are in school to learn, think of your future, don’t be tempted to punch back. The kids got problems, keep your healthy boundaries in place. Don’t let him penetrate your coat of armor, protect yourself against his lies with the truth. Hold your head high. You made a smart move by seeking help.
Try not to be alone with him, go to an adult, witnesses are to your advantage and document each incident on a calendar. Write down word for word what is said, and clarify with him what his meaning is, like, say to him, “are you saying, I did something wrong? How did I offend you? Be proactive not reactive and come across with real concern and sincerity. Don’t stoop to his level or let him get the best of you.

He will get other kids involved to do his bidding. Point out to them, he is using them like a puppet and ask, don’t they have better things to do with their time, add a little humor. High school can be and should be a great time of fun, learning and growth.
This poor kid is playing out the aggression he probably learned at home. Maybe you can invite him to participate in more positive play like a game of football or basketball.
You may just want to tell him, point blank, that he is physically and verbally aggressive and a lier and see how he handles the truth. The truth can be like pouring Holy water on the devil. They run away and leave you alone.
Every school should have a “code of conduct” and “bullying rules” I suggest you get the handbook and read it. I hope any of this is helpful, Good Luck.

In “Napoleon Dynamite”, Pedro gave his protection. Well, with his cousins anyways.

It looks like these guys have got it covered. But I’ll add a bit more – stuff I really wish I had learned much earlier in life… how much in my own best interest it was, to learn everything I could about being my best physical self.

From grades 7 thru 10 I was tiny ”“ always the smallest kid in the class. You’d think I would have been a prime target. But aside from being placed on top of lockers a couple times, for some reason I never was a designated target. I got it from time to time, but also I had mischievous friends who’d get the bad guys back (without getting caught ”“ very important that one!!).

I did top out at 5’8”, not terribly short, with an average bone structure but good physical speed. But I was always telling myself that I was too short, too small boned, too pretty, to stand up for myself in a fight. Most if not all of my post-childhood bullying experiences might have been nipped in the bud if I’d been more confident in my physical self.

I finally went online and learned everything I could. A few examples:

You can build a string-speed bag contraption which uses a small speed bag attached to a string (I use a variety – 6 to 12 inches), under a 4′ x 4′ platform to teach yourself how to slip punches. After practice with mine I can jab quick as a blink, and bob out of the bags way, every time. I used to be terrified of being punched, but now I see a punch as one less arm an attacker will have at his disposal.

At 5’3” tall, Mike Bridges is one of the strongest men in the world. If he can bench 550, I should be able to do 350, which places me in the top percent or so of all men. Kara Bohigian looks like a little girl, but is stronger than most men. If she can bench 400…

In the early days of MMA, Royce Gracie was defeating people 40% + bigger and stronger than himself with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. For every opponents power move he had a counter move which rendered that power almost useless.

Some of the nicest and most humble people I’ve met are strong or into martial arts. I don’t see any evidence where it turned, as an adult, a nice guy into a bully.

The internet is an amazing resource. And of course, ratf%$#ing can be gratifying when you get away with it, but I don’t think they want me to get into that around here.
Student Of Sociopathy

My last SS used a crew of ’useful tools’ to do her dirty work, including trying to covertly bully me out of my job. The reason why she came after me: I refused to become one of those useful tools to do her dirty work. A rundown of her crew of henchmen:

1. A serious BPD case who always seemed to need one target on his list. I’d known him before. He turned from friend to enemy on a dime, after he was persuaded (with lies) that I was “a rat” or informant to the boss (I was not).
2. A deadbeat dad alcoholic divorcee who’d brag about his fighting prowess but was too cowardly to challenge me directly.
3. A paranoid serial bully, with possible unresolved latency issues, who spent most of his time ’working the office carpet’.
4. An lazy worthless POS who was wider than tall, who couldn’t stop bragging about what a great shot he was. He also had two pit bulls, a large truck which he didn’t need, and many large guns. Despite all the macho compensation, he repulsed women anyways.

In terms of work production, I could outperform any three of them at any given time.

There’s a pattern to this. A bully’s henchmen are usually worthless insecure cowardly scumbags themselves. When layoffs came, all but #2 was abandoned (disposed of) by the SS before she herself wound up quitting.

I talk more about that situation in my Tuesday, 10 March 2009 @ 2:48pm comment (the #4 situation) under “Psychopathy, empathy and moral agency: Lessons from autism.”

The lesson I learned, in that case, was that I had the tools to fight back, but I learned too late how important it had been to use them. Sometimes ignoring a situation works best, other times you have to get in there and fight. In my own situation I had all the tools I needed to win but didn’t use them because of the way I’d been brought up.
Student Of Sociopathy

S O S – My husband is 5’8″ and weighs 145 lbs, he was always the “small” kid in his classes, and he changed schools a lot so he was also frequently the new kid. However, he was in martial arts since he was 4. His way of avoiding being a victim of bullies would get a kid kicked out of school today. The first bully that tried to start a fight with him would get a beating that ensured no one else ever picked a fight with him, he never started fights, but he made sure he finished them.

As an adult he’s worked as a bouncer at bars, but he rarely dealt with any problems physically. It was his self-confidence, and effective communication skills that he used to diffuse hostile situations. He knew he could take care of himself physically if he needed to, but he preferred to prevent a fight rather than break-up a fight. Martial arts taught him self-discipline, how to think with a clear head, and that size is irrelevant. His style focuses on speed, leverage, and pressure points.

While fighting back in school these days will get you in as much trouble as the person who attacks you, it’s never a bad idea to learn how to defend yourself in case you’re attacked on the street. And dodging is a skill we could all use.

This is really sad but I have to tell it:
For years and years my twins were bullied and picked on in several schools as I kept changing schools the bullies followed! I changed only after I tried everything to get the “school” to “do something” but, unfortunetly, the admisnistration had already had their thinking poisened by my children’s malignant father. One school threatened to put a restraining order on me because I suggested they get a public health nurse to come for the lice problem. Well, charter schools have no desire for “outsiders” to be poking around.

Finally I home schooled them until they were 14 1/2 and they felt like the could try out the last school available in this area. I did not want to put them in because they had good habits, short hair and were sweet and respectful. However, my ex was using the court and threats so I had to.

Sure enough-there were all new bullies that they had never met. Being the opposites that they are, they handled it two different ways.
The quiet soft-hearted twin just takes the beatings and harassment and grew his hair long over his eyes and developed a “don’t care about anything” attitude. He gets into trouble often and hates school. He has changed, and it is heartbreaking.

The other started a rumor about himself from day one: He told everyone that he was psychotic and had a chain saw and his missing pinky is a result of going after someone with it.

NOBODY and I mean NO BODY messes with him EVER. He instantly became popular within his own circle and the friends that he has knows that he is an awesome kid.

Isn’t that terrible?
Well, whatever works, I guess. Since administration in the schools are the disaster that the are!

Dear Ewe,

I am sorry that your kids have had to endure that, and that you have h ad to watch them endure it as well. I’m sorry your soft hearted son hates school,, too. Maybe at this point you could home schooll them again or let him take the GED. I hate to see kids that miserable in school. Pox on their father, may the fleas of 1000 camels inhabit his arm pits, and the crabs of 100 ho’s his crotch!

Can you guys tell I’m in a spunky mood today?LOL

Dear Fleeced Ewe: When transferred H.S. (the 70s … LOL) … I was to be in one fight after another. I didn’t know these girls … but, apparently they wanted to beat me up. I think I figured out the logic (since I’m tall) that they would go after the “big” one and the rest will fall. Who really knows.

Anyway, 2 of my friends were taking Karate at the time, just happened to have their gear in their cars. They brought them in school … and when the friends of one girl asked what they were … they told stories like “Wini’s a black belt, didn’t you know”. Too funny… what my friends were saying to all the friends of those women that were after me. So … classes would start and stop … in between you know the place to go is the ladies room … to have that cigarette before the next class began. Low and behold, there is this girl that wants to fight me, and that girl that wants to fight me … on and on, I was to be in a rumble week after week after week.

How did I resolve my problems with girls wanting to beat me up? I confronted them … but, first you have to know they have a zillion friends (their’s and mine) lined up on either side of the bathroom as on watchers (actually, I think my friends were taking bets … but that’s neither here nor there) … as I was talking with the girl that wanted to fight, I’d tell her two things.

1. Throw the first punch, then I’ll finish the fight.
2. Do your parents own or rent their home?

Throw the first punch I told them so when the police arrested us after the fight I want everyone to be a witness that you started the fight … and I finished it.

Do you parents own or rent your home … because I own whatever your parents own … after you caused this fight … because YOUR PARENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS … moron.

Fleeced … I never threw a punch in my life.

True story … oh, and I got a standing ovation from the faculty … I wrote that about a month ago… don’t want to retype my true sagas in life.

But, both lines worked.


This story totally reminds me of someone a friend told me about. Ironically the guy who acted like this high school bully was actually a co-worker of my friend – a man in his late 20s, a professional in a professional workplace. Same exact behaviour, same tactics… Except I don’t think he ever actually punched anyone. But he would send pity e-mails “why don’t you like me?” all the time, pestering – sometimes with sinister subtext – or sometimes outright threats… and he’d play it big pity to superiors in the workplace, which saw him as “just being friendly” and whatnot if anyone complained about him.


I’ve seen this bullying tactic before. It’s an extreme version of “instant friends” scenario common with cluster Bs. The people who pull this one are usually less organized in style, and real drama queens. Run fast, run far, explain nothing to no one.

A varient on this one is the “We are all just one big happy family!” dictate from one or two people at the top of the pecking order. This forced intimacy leads to all sorts of high drama, all readiliy avoidable. Simply refuse to play.

If we think about it, we all know how friendships develop. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Elizabeth Conley: Unfortunately in the H.S. arena, you do not have the luxury of walking away…. for if I did, I would have surely been the first one to be beaten up … and as I said, the rest of students minding their own business attending school to study, would have been beaten up too. What I was trying do do at this time in our lives (teenagers) was to get bully’s to understand that there are consequences to physical violence…. whether that be arrests for fighting, or court situations. Either way, I don’t believe anyone should lay a hand on anyone else. What I did is known as BLUFFING! Standing my ground and bluffing… along with trying to instill logic of the situation.

Bullies don’t intellectually analyze what they are doing, they fall back on brute force.

I, for one didn’t want nor need to be physically assaulted.

Brute force isn’t relegated to H.S. or G.S. … it is all over … look at domestic violence in the world!


There are a lot of great insights here.

OxDrover says: “Brandon is getting an opportunity to learn about psychopaths [firsthand] at a young age.” This is absolutely true. The problem is that Brandon may also be learning that he cannot depend on his community to give him any significant help in dealing with psychopaths. This is hardly an acceptable civics lesson for any of us, I would hope.

ForelornNlost advises Brandon to “arm yourself with information…. Handle this like an adult. The law is in your favor….” Also valid, along with the advice that Brandon form a coalition of like-minded students to agitate against bullying in their school. Meanwhile, Wini’s tactic was/is brilliant. But a problem with these solutions is that they don’t speak to a very primal reality for young adults. These kids are at that vital stage of developing their SENSE OF SELF, as well as their life strategies. Again, in a community that doesn’t stand up for them, are they likely to develop a strong foundation of either individuality or citizenship? And if they don’t, what is the cost to themselves, their society, or their own kids?

GentlePath seems to agree, saying that “it’s unreasonable to expect a high school student to be able to deal effectively and safely with a person who exhibits psychopathic and or sociopathic traits. Look at all the stories on this website that show how difficult that is for adults. WHEN THE ADULTS AT SCHOOL ARE POWERLESS (BALONEY, BUT AS LONG AS THEY DON’T INTERVENE, THE NET EFFECT IS THE SAME) THERE ISN’T MUCH BRANDON CAN DO BUT AVOID THIS BULLY OR LEAVE THE SCHOOL.” A pathetic set of alternatives, indeed! Is this really the best that our school leaders can do??

Elizabeth Conley also places the responsibility on our school leaders: “The schools are definitely enablers here. In fact, they foster the subculture that bullies thrive in.’ But then OxDrover goes further, putting the onus on ALL adult members of our society: “Remember the book ‘Lord of the Flies?’ I think that book clearly indicates what happens with kids if there are no adults to teach them civilization.”

I believe OxDrover is onto something here. Bullying is nothing new. But according to many observers, it has become more widespread, and much more brutal, than it used to be. Why is that? Are our nation’s kids possibly reflecting our own failure to demand—and model—civilized, socially-responsible behavior? Think Jerry Springer Think “High School Reunion.” Think Bebe Fashions and Bratz dolls. Think steroid-taking athletes. Think Enron, and then think AIG.

At this time, I would direct all concerned parents to the website of Dr. Donald Gallinger:


Donald Gallinger is a critically-acclaimed novelist AND a high school English teacher of 24 years. He’s currently working on his next fiction, entitled “Stupid School,” which will apparently be a blistering illustration of daily life for American students. He’s posted the book’s prologue on his site. It’s both hilarious and absolutely chilling—mostly because (as he claims) ALMOST EVERYTHING IN THE PROLOGUE HAS HAPPENED AT HIS SCHOOL, OR AT A SCHOOL HE PERSONALLY KNOWS OF.

Thus far, many who have read the prologue find it disturbing in both content and language (“Over the top,” one remarked). But, interestingly enough, those de facto school teachers who’ve read it call it “powerful,” “true to life” “sad,” “intriguing,” and “hopeful”! So I think it’s worth a read to all parents and/or teachers who truly want to know the WHY of the more disturbing trends within our schools.

There are thousands of teachers throughout the country who will tell us (off the record) what’s really going on in our schools. Some can even tell us why the problems exist. This will change nothing in the short run. But we all have children, and grandchildren, and so we can keep working on specific symptoms of the problems. Yes, once we understand the magnitude of the problem we may well conclude we won’t solve it in our lifetime. But better to know how big the problem really is. Getting the truth ONTO the record is no small feat, and worth doing. It’s a good start. Truly, knowledge is everything!

I’d be interested to hear what people think of the wrenching insights of this American author and teacher.

A friend of mine is a teacher in a high school. He jumped in the middle of a fight with a 320 pound 10th grader who was pounding the heck out of a female teacher who weighed in at 110 pounds. The student hit my friend at the base of the neck with his elbow, paralyzing him from the neck down. He has recovered enough to walk now. The student was given NO suspension or punishment AT ALL because he qualified as “Minimally retarded” (IQ of 74) Personally I think that student is NOT RETARDED AT ALL, he GETS IT that he can bully and beat and injure others and that the SCHOOL AND THE LAW WILL DO NOTHING….he may be minimally and legally MR but he is NOT STUPID.

My friend is now a permanent “cripple” but that actually allows him to carry a walking cane to school, which in fact is a cudgle and he swears he will use it the next time he or another teacher is physically attacked….and damn the consequences because he is not “MR.” Personally I agree with him.

When I worked in an inpatient psych unit, the adolescent unit was populated by budding Ps who knew that the WORST thing we could do to them was to lock them in the “quiet room” (READ: solitary) for two hours NO MATTER WHAT THEY HAD DONE. They would throw that into our faces, knowing it was true. What we were teaching them at great expense was that there really are NO consequences for what you do until you turn 18. THEN you go to jail, at least for a little while. But even that doesn’t stop them from repeating the same violence as soon as they get out.

After I was almost stabbed by an “inmate” (I won’t call them patients) I figured it was God’s way of telling me it was time to look for a less dangerous job.

Out of all the “inmates” we had there, there was only one who was actually in need of psych treatment, and she didn’t get it because the need just to keep safe order in that group of budding Ps deprived her of what she might indeed have benefitted from and they sure didn’t benefit from their incarceration in the name of “therapy.” If that sounds pretty harsh, I am pretty harsh in my condemnation of the “system” in how these children(?) are handled, as well as how the adult Ps are also handled when they cross over into violence and mayhem.

I was never so shocked as when I was told by a teacher that a kid had been allowed to attend his school after being incarcerated for physical assault, and the administrators didn’t even warn the teachers about his record of violence. I don’t understand how these decision-makers think. They really do create an insane world, and, as such, YES, I think they create Ps.

Of course, according to my teacher friends, they do this at least partly out of fear of the parents. Apparently schools are terrified of lawsuits from parents who feel their little angels are being persecuted for youthful, high-spirited shenanegans.

When did we become such a nation? More to the point, how do we become a different one?

Oprah is doing a show today on bully’s. I hope Brandon & his mom see it, in my area it repeats at midnight, or maybe they could request transcripts.

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