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Monday, March 21, 2011

"Hey mom, I got suspended for defending myself."

By now many of us would've seen the video of Casey Heynes, an Australian student, who fought back against his bully by body-slamming him on the concrete. Like most people that I spoke to and with whom I shared the video with, I did not feel sorry for his bully. I still ask myself why did it come to this level in the first place? Why did it come to the point that Heynes had to physically defend himself in order for the school to react? Why was Heynes suspended?

My martial-arts consultant wrote in his blog that:

"Bullies look for easy victims. If they wanted solid opposition, they’d pick kids who fight back, hard. But they never seem to do that and instead focus on the ones who are shy, timid and lack the self confidence to stand up for themselves."

I'd also add that school bullies take advantage of rules that punish victims for fighting back. This is a serious problem. And now with digital technology, something we didn't have when we were growing up, it's about time that schools come out of the stone age and modify their rules. Heynes got suspended. His suspension was wrong because this situation should've been judged on a case-by-case basis. And according to Heynes, he's not new to being a victim. In fact, this had gone on for years. Who wouldn't have expected him to either snap or commit suicide. I'm sure that I speak for everyone that we're happy that he snapped instead. At least he wouldn't be so unfortunate as to suffer any more additional psychological damage. Furthermore, Heynes should be satisfied knowing that he taught his bully a lesson, and has definitely inspired several people—younger and older—to stand up to bullies.

As for Heynes's bully, he'll spend several years humiliated by the fact that the whole planet saw him get his ass kicked. My advice to him would be that he get his name legally changed before he starts filling out those job applications.

Russell Brooks is the author of the International Spy/Thriller, Pandora's Succession.

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