Stop calling this “bullying.” It’s not.

Being “bullied” has always been a common childhood experience. When I was in 4th Grade, Save Jerseyans, I was a skinny and relatively meek (imagine that!) little guy with thick glasses who was chased home from school many days of the week. I had been bullied by two dufuses (one who had been ‘left back’ a couple of times already) and found myself physically out-matched. Luckily I only lived one block from the school building in those days and could run pretty fast, so I usually made it home without sustaining a beating. And when I made it home? I was safe and felt safe.

What happened to Central Regional’s Adriana Kuch wasn’t bullying notwithstanding the fact that it’s once again the popular formulation of the problem following the Ocean County teenager’s tragic passing. It was far more than that, obviously so, and it’s apparent her contemporaries are becoming accustomed to something far darker than what you and I experienced as children.

To begin with, the now widely-viewed savage beating she sustained in the hallway at the hands (and feet) of multiple students might’ve resulted in real consequences forty or thirty years ago. It also wasn’t a routine fist fight, and you can’t say it’s an isolated incident; a quick search of YouTube reveals scores of equally disturbing examples of relatively young kids beating one another like gang members participating in a ghoulish initiation ritual. Compounding the problem is the fact that school officials have lost the ability and the will to punish such behavior. It probably started with Tinker v. Des Moines Indpt. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969), a U.S. Supreme Court decision that resulted in the end of the doctrine of in loco parentis (schools acting in the role of a parent while the children are in their charge). Teachers went from being IN CHARGE of their classrooms to passive prison guards simply trying to do a difficult job while hoping the entire time that a riot doesn’t break out.

Parents changed, too, which is a big part of all of this. The only thing I ever got in trouble for in elementary school was talking too much (less suprising to some of you I’m sure than my long-gone shy streak), but you can be sure that when the teacher gave me detention for it, my parents were solidly on the side of the teacher.  That’s no longer the prevailing attitude. Ask any teacher, and they will tell you that many Gen X and millennial parents automatically assume their children are being victimized and, naturally, neither the administration nor the union is willing to stick their respective necks out for the education in the crosshairs.

Kids not being parented at home OR at school. It’s no wonder that these children – drowning in an increasingly nihilistic and violent culture – are mutating into Lord of the Flies-style monsters who display extreme callousness when interacting with their contemporaries. After all, the culture handles them callously and cynically at every turn. Add 2-3 years of lockdowns and unrestricted social media use to the mix and you have a perfect recipe for a human nightmare. Not only is the harrassment and violence ramping up, but there’s no longer any refuge when you’ve crossed over the threshold of your own house. The torture follows these kids everywhere there’s wifi, 24/7/365.

But the politicians and talking heads don’t like complex problems. Complex problem implicate difficult solutions. It’s much easier to label all of this “bullying,” pass some stupid fucking bills to mandate anti-bullying education, and implore children who have no moral compass to be “kind” which is sort of like lecturing a rabid dog to employ restraint; it has no point of reference.

This isn’t bullying. It’s far darker and more sinsister, and the real answers we need right now stem from questions no one is asking. Did we do the right thing by kicking God and overt patriotism out of the classroom and replacing them with nothing? Should education be treated as a right when we all know it’s not? If parents aren’t going to parent, then don’t we need to give schools the ability to lay down the law in their absence? Should we be focusing on teaching kids they can change their gender with a pill or, as we did back in the day, preach loving self-acceptance? Is the education establishing culturally/politically/emotionally grooming children at the expense of protecting the classic healthy childhood experience? Is SCHOOL CHOICE part of the answer here since the school administration was infamously less-than-sympathetic to Adriana Kuch’s plight?

Learning how to deal with bullies is a NORMAL and usually HEALTHY part of development. This isn’t that. Our children are terrorizing one another because many of them have been warped into Frankenstein monsters by the same class of assholes who are presently telling you that parents don’t have a right to know if a child wants to go by a different name during the school day. Think about that for a moment.

There’s a lot to unpack, but I’m unapologetic in my frustration that the ruling class is once again prepared to ignore the real problems driving what’s happening to young people like Adriana Kuch through the lazy application of a hashtag-quality label. If you’re not? It’s time to forget what you think you know about this unfolding American disaster and review everything with a fresh set of eyes. 

The next generation is counting on you. Their lives are quite literally on the line.

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MATT ROONEY is SaveJersey.com’s founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of ‘The Matt Rooney Show’ on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST. 

Matt Rooney
About Matt Rooney 8533 Articles
MATT ROONEY is SaveJersey.com's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.