Editorial: Teachers Should Forget Bully Ban

March 8, 2008 -
Bully...

It’s back and so is the absurd controversy surrounding it.

Earlier this week, GamePolitics reported on an international coalition of teachers who are concerned about the negative effects Rockstar's game could have upon release.  Seemingly unaware of the fact that Bully has been out for well over a year, they are still calling for retailers to ban the game.

A recent editorial in the Globe and Mail has a few harsh words for the teacher group.
They seem to think that the young generation will become a veritable Hitler Youth of bullying automatons if exposed to this silly, satirical video game...

This gives little credit to young people's intelligence and ignores the role of parents in helping their children screen out or deal with negative influences. In Bullying: Scholarship Edition, the teachers have found a convenient scapegoat for a serious social problem.

Nor is the editorial's author impressed with the general controversy surrounding the title.
There's more than a little hysteria at play here. One needs to view Bullying: Scholarship Edition to grasp the extent of it. It will be immediately obvious to any viewer, even children under 10, that the video game is a satire on hideous boarding schools, a sort of Roald Dahl gone interactive… Of course it exploits the very violence it satirizes - it is a video game, after all - but it is no less obvious a fantasy than Bugs Bunny, and about as harmful.

-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen

Comments

Speaking of Roald Dahl, I believe the book Matilda was banned in certain places for supposedly encouraging rebellion against authority figures in school. Sucks back then...Roald Dahl writes great children's books.

Personally, I have been bullied a lot and I blame athletes (jolks) and America's high standards on what you should look like.

lets face it guys anything that has something to do with entertainment or any device that we play. there will be still one person bitching and complaining about how its not good for us.

First time posting first!

I think the UK is more messed up with the video game issues than North America. Over there they would likely put Bully on the same limelight as the much more grotesque Manhunt.

Anybody seen the web series Xin? I'd say that glorifies bullying about 100x more than this game those.

*Those should be does

I certainly agree with the guy's point, but it would help if he got the game's name right.

to paraphrase mrs. Lovejoy of the simpsons:

"Oh please why won't someone think of the adults"

.....they do have trouble grasping reality now dont they.

@JustChris

Funny, I saw the scholarship edition on the shelf today in the Uk and hvae yet to hear any ripples on this side of the pond. That is untill Keith Vaz starts mumbline, but no one listens to him.


@Sean, Xin does glorify violence, but the undertone of the whole piece was the message of inequality bred from corporal punishment, it was hard not to see the anti-bullying message somewhere between the 50,000 school-kung-fu fights

This is why i don't respect most of my teachers.

The guy is spot on, but he could at least try to get the name right...

The game has already been out for over a year, WELL over a year, and nothing has happened at all because of the game.

Ah, it was so refreshing to hear some common sense, it made me overlook the fact that the editorial flubbed up on the game's name :)

@JustChris

Really? You serious? I mean, attempting to ban "The Outsiders" in school because of underage smoking is one thing, but MATILDA!? Haha...God damn...

@ GRIZAM 512,

He has to have at least some defect somewhere... I mean, he favors personnal responsability!

@Waffles:

Agreed... I mean getting the name right would've showed that they cared enough to do their research, which I'd usually expect from the opposition. But I can't fault them either for being on our side...

I've often accuded the 'videogames cause violence' lobby of of using scapegoating to avoid having to deal with the actual causes of crime, as well as making it look like they're actually doing something.

I can think of no more blatant case than this. The entire time I was in public school, the staff did NOTHING to combat bullying, and their complaints against the game show how utterly inept, if not outright negligent they are in dealing with the real issues.

@ Cattleprod

I'd say MOST teachers don't do anything. I say most because my mom was a teacher for over 30 years, and if she ever saw anybody getting bullied, she'd jump in and break it up and issue some discipline. Needless to say, she wasn't well liked by the students because of that.

I cant get over the hillarity of the fact that they are not aware the game is out already xD

*presses fingers against temples in response to headache*

Please, please GOD let this stupid bullshit come to an end! WHATS NEXT?! AUDIOSURF ENCOURAGING PIRACY?!

The sad thing about this is. The game has been out for a year. These teachers are trying to ban this game for our sakes, yet probably barely knew about it a year ago.

They say they're doing it for the good of the children, but from the looks of it, they aren't even paying attention to the world around the very kids they are trying to 'protect' so they make a big deal about this kind of stuff, to show that they 'care' when all they are really doing is looking for an easy excuse as to why bullying is bad in schools.

Back in school if you got bullied, the teachers would make any excuse they could not to get involved, tell you the kid bullying you is just looking for friends, or he's lashing out because he's sad, or that you should just ignore it. Then when he gets caught hitting you, and both of you get in trouble for fighting, somehow none of the teachers saw it coming, they "never had a problem like this before".

My mother was always the heavy discipline teacher, but she was fair. So her students liked her, and never wanted to get out of line. She may have been a pre-school teacher, but her class was like a bunch of miniature soldiers compared to the other classes.

@ Godkarmachine O Inary
Yes, that has happened to me before, when the teachers blame YOU for the fighting, which is retarded because if you WERE fighting, YOU'D be throwing punches, not covering head and running in fear. Yeah, it's a shame how adults tell us kids to be more open and take the time to understand things in the world so we won't make assumptions based on stereotypes, yet those same adults always don't adapt to new things and always want to stay stuck with "what they grew up with" and "don't like these gizmos that these brat kiddos use". Well, it's too bad.

@DJ Sessum, Godkarmachine

Yeah, my friend recently got suspended, (and can't join NHS anymore) because he was punched in the face. He made no attempt to fight back or anything but got the same punishment as the kid that started the whole conflict. Whatever happened to our right to defend ourselves, our right to life...

Anyone else notice the spelling errors he made in the games name?

Teachers unintentionally incourage bullying and crap like that by picking favorites, then they don't do shit to stop it, then they blame it on video games. F-cking dandy.

@Billy:

Aww. Sucks to be them then, but good for her! I've had more than my fair share of incidents growing up, so I know how s*****y kids can be sometimes.

And to clarify my earlier comment, I meant the 'against' side rarely cares enough to do their homework on these things ("Counterstrike: Half-Life", anyone?)

I get the feeling that all the people shitting their pants about Bully are the same ones who say "just ignore it" when a student comes to them reporting something that would result in harassment lawsuits and restraining orders if it happened among adults.

Just a game. Just a game. As that Steve Tiley said, "Just because a peice of entertainment is about a thing doesn't mean it condones that thing." BRILLIANT.

Steve Tilley. Sorry about the error.

George Carlin speaks frequently about how people seem to obsess over children and how unhealthy it is. I completely agree with him, though must note that he is a comedian and all of his off the wall ideas are obviously for comic value only. But in his latest HBO comedy special he coined a term for this trend and gave it the title of Child Worship. (At least I think he was responsible for that terms creation...)

To any way, the term Child Worship seems to fit and good ol' George is absolutely correct in how unhealthy it is to children and society. We sacrifice so much to give ourselves this illusion that somehow we are making a safer world for children without even considering the idea that maybe overprotecting them isn't the best method. Freedoms we so willfully sacrifice in the name of children are held so dear to some people that it really is a crime against society. Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying children should be exposed to all kinds of negative aspects of the world but I am saying that we should all be free to expose ourselves to these things. Just because someone else doesn't wish to put the effort into parenting their children shouldn't mean my government should take way my rights just so that lazy parent can be worry free.

Parenting isn't easy, that should be a fairly common and well accepted fact of life. But why should the government make things easier. For the government to make things easier means the government is not only taking a part in parenting your children but taking a part in parenting you. Do you want to be perceived as a dependent child by the government? Do people not realize how dangerous this is? Obviously not because things such as this is not uncommon in society. If it isn't books it is paintings and if it isn't music it is video games. One thing or another government is always set to clean society up and this obsession with protecting children is simply used as tool to take advantage of the universal desire to provide a safe, clean and welcome environment for children.

The government is using your concern over the welfare of your child as a tool and using that tool to attempt to fix things that are not exactly what me may describe as broken. The fact that the government uses universal concerns and fears for their own benefit is disgusting enough.

But you may be wondering why I am ranting so much about the government. After all, this post is about teachers isn't it. Well then again if you think about it many schools are public schools and that means that the government is the one regulating and maintaining these schools. So it is possible and very likely that employees of the public, in this case teachers, are speaking out against this video game. So really this absolutely is a government issue.

Teachers are paid to be authority figures in the classroom. In my personal experience my teachers also attempted to be authority figures outside of the classroom. This is exactly what is going on right now. It is absolutely INSANE. Teachers should stay in the class room and not have any impact on outside life of students. If a student asks for help that is a different story but this seems like they are over reaching their boundaries and trying to enter our homes. I think this is not only an unprofessional practice but an infringement upon parenting rights. Since I do not have children I don't really have a huge amount of credibility there but my basic idea is that parents should decide that kind of art and entertainment their child consumes in their own home. Teachers should simply mind their own business and stay out of the child's life at home.

Now the idea of teachers staying out of the home life also plays against homework assignments which is an entirely different topic. I do know when I attended public schools here in USA at times I barely had enough time to finish my home work much less enjoy video games. This resulted in bad grades obviously because I refused to spend 5 hours each afternoon/night on homework. There really should be some kind of law restricting teachers of the k-12 level to refrain from effecting the lives of their students at home. Now I'm not saying there should be no homework but there obviously needs to be something that requires teachers to remain concentrated on the students lives while they are on school ground. This way they can solve bullying problems in school and keep the students not only more productive but happier to be in school.

Lets face it bully wasn't created to create a problem. It was inspired by a common problem faced in nearly every school worldwide. It is a problem that can be directly linked to the elitist hierarchy that is present in all schools. This elitist hierarchy present in most schools is to blame for all negative situations that are present in school. Sometimes this hierarchy is actually encouraged by the schools. Of course they are not going to go out and encourage the students to form their own groups and label themselves as jocks, nerds, preps, stoners or whatever other silly name you can think of. HOWEVER, the very structure they create in terms of class, athletics, student groups, student government and all extra curricular activity will, in fact, encourage the formation of an elitist hierarchy. This is where the solution of all these problem lie. Blaming video games is just a idiotic attempt to distract from the real issues which is a failed education system. Blame the system not something totally unrelated to the problem. Instead of finding a scapegoat how about we try to actually present solutions to fix this problem. I can't really help you out there because I'm not an educator and I only have experience as a student. But I think it is fairly obvious where the real issue is at and the party to blame is the system itself.

I find it quite amusing that Rockstar is involved in about 90 percent of all controversies in the industry. I can understand how games like Manhunt and Grand Theft Auto cause outrage but Bully? Even Rockstar's non-violent games are getting a bad rep in the media. I think there are a hell of a lot more violent games out now than Bully. Maybe it's just the company itself. Next we'll see parents attacking Rockstar Table Tennis!

@Corey

There's actually a mod for that game that makes everyone naked and turns the ball into a pair of boobs!!(JOKING)

@TJLK

Brilliant speech.

Bravo!

lol

Thank you, I kind of got carried away with the post. I really tend to get frustrated at things like this as I am extremely passionate about liberty, personal choice and video games. GamePolitics is the website I visit most frequently and it is also the website that pisses me off most frequently. Not pissed at the writers or anything(Dennis and the GP/ECA crew kick ass) just at the issues.

I decided to turn expand upon the post and correct the grammar to the best of my ability and turned it into a post on my personal blog. I don't like to link my name to any website/blog but I will this one time just in case you want to read it after its been improved upon.

@TJLK

You should send that directly to them (or somebody else should). Brilliant speech!

@TJLK

Damn man, I thought I had a gob on me... Nice rant. I agree that there's such a thing as protecting children too much, any painful or unfortunate things that happen when they're young should be considered an innoculation for future problems, helps them build up an emotional immune system. Thats why, whenever I'm out and happen to be near a crying child, I punch them in the face as an innoculant for a future where they may get punched in the face. You can never be too careful...

TJLK - Nice one!

Bloody Hell, a decent Editorial

I'm currently playing all the way through Bully for the second time (PS2, bought it when it first came out), and there's two things I've noticed. First, it's twice as good as I remember it being (did Rockstar magically update the quality when I was away from it?) And second, the teenagers depicted in the game are amazingly clean-cut, to the point where it's almost unrealistic. They don't drink, use drugs, or engage in any sexual activity beyond kissing. Aside from fighting violence and the dog-eat-dog mentality the school encourages, it's a pretty innocent student body.

"it is a video game, after all - but it is no less obvious a fantasy than Bugs Bunny, and about as harmful."

Best damn quote ever.

Oh and yes it is satire, especially satire for the various cliques in there.

@TJLK

Again ,bravo.

Protecting kids too much will only cause more harm in the long run.

The kids never have a say in these issues.

Hell, back in the day, if a child got bullied on the playground, a teacher got the kids to knock it off and gave the picked on kid a hug and let them know it's alright. nowadays the teacher gets sued by the parents for being abusive to the bullies and labeled a molester for giving the kid a hug, thus ruining their career and lives in general.

If we simply helped children to find their own stable feelings of self-worth (a positive self-image), independent of the views and opinions of their peers, we would see a drop in bullying, as the self-confident children grow to not care what the bullies think or do.

Independent thought for the ultimate win, my friends.

ITFTUW Indeed.

Yep. Wild as Hell.

Independant thought? Why thats practically terrorism! Or communism. It's certainly an 'ism' of one sort or another!

It wouldn't surprise me to think that these idiots actually think they won the last battle when 'Bully' didn't hit the shops on PS2. If they dont do their own homework they probably dont even realise 'Canis Canim Edit' is the same damn game.
I bet they are all going around saying to themselves, ''well we beat Rockstar once, we can do it again and protect those poor children from computer games so they can go to school and experience real life bullying which is much healthier''

Its good to see though, that the game got its real name this time round in the UK rather than the s**t rename R* gave it

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Good follow-up piece to post. Ubisoft lead designer and pundit Clint Hocking has issued a challenge to the leadership of the CTA: agree to engage in a discussion about Bully's merit or lack thereof, and I'll buy you a 360 or a Wii system and a copy of the game so you may play it:

http://www.kimpallister.com/2008/03/teaching-teachers.html
 
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