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27 January 2012

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Richard O Jones

I am a writer for a newspaper and recently did a story about bullying in the schools and how in spite of a district's best efforts, the problem persists and is getting worse thanks to the rise of social media, which allows people (not just kids) to bully without having to look their victims in the eye.

In the course of research, I received a very well-written, well-thought-out letter from an 11 year old boy describing his experience and feelings being bullied and how it carried over from his school to his little league in the summer.

I didn't have room to publish his letter in the newspaper, but I did post it on a blog on our newspaper's web site. Sure enough, while the boy and his family had a lot of supporters comment on the letter and verify that the child is indeed bright enough to compose such a missive, a lot of people (many of them, presumably adults, associated with the local little league) continued the bullying, accusing the boy's mother of writing the letter, calling them liars, etc. Within a week, there were over 100 comments and the conversation had degenerated to such name-calling and vitriol that I unpublished the letter just to make it stop.

So as it turns out, you can't even have a conversation about bullying without offending the bullies.

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