For the big­ger prob­lem in school threats, look to the bul­lies

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

Re­gard­ing the Oct. 21 Metro ar­ti­cle “Boy’s record won’t in­clude threat”:

The child in ques­tion, an 8-year-old, was said to have made a “homi­ci­dal threat” when he said he wanted to kill a class­mate who had stomped on his foot. I have looked in vain for any­one hav­ing of­fered a dif­fer­ent view of this in­ci­dent.

What do you call a boy who stomps on the foot of a smaller or weaker child and says some­thing such as “What are you go­ing to do about it?” If a la­bel doesn’t come to mind, try “bully.” Has any­one at the ele­men­tary school or in Mont­gomery County Pub­lic Schools rec­og­nized that the greater prob­lem may lie in the ag­gres­sor child?

I’m clos­ing in on 88, but back in the 1940s, I was bul­lied. I said, “I’ll get you,” but in my mind were thoughts sim­i­lar to those at­trib­uted to the boy be­ing per­se­cuted by his school.

For the record, years later, my bully and I ended up work­ing for the same or­ga­ni­za­tion. When he came up to me later say­ing how great it was that two of us from the same school ended up to­gether, I re­minded him of his ac­tions years ear­lier. I was su­pe­rior to him in grade but never his su­per­vi­sor, so I never af­fected his ca­reer, but the look in his eyes when I said I re­mem­bered his ac­tions years ear­lier has re­mained with me for­ever, even though his name no longer does.

Pete Ber­mel, Great Falls

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