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.