The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America's Schools

Synopsis

In today's schools, kids abusing kids is not an occasional occurrence but rather an everyday reality where children learn early that being sensitive, respectful, and kind earns them no respect. Jessie Klein makes the provocative argument that the rise of school shootings across America, and childhood aggression more broadly, are the consequences of a society that actually promotes aggressive and competitive behaviour. The Bully Society is a call to reclaim America's schools from the vicious cycle of aggression that threatens our children and our society at large. Heartbreaking interviews illuminate how boys - but also girls - obtain status by acting masculine, displaying aggression at one another's expense as both students and adults engage in surveillance of themselves and others to enforce boy and girl codes.Klein shows that the aggressive ritual of gender policing in American culture creates emotional damage that perpetuates violence through revenge, and that this cycle is the main cause of not only the many school shootings that have shocked America, but also related problems in schools manifested in high rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-cutting, truancy, and substance abuse. After two decades working in schools as a school social worker and professor, Klein proposes ways to transcend these destructive trends - transforming school bully societies into compassionate communities.

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