education | April 07, 2013

Emily Bazelon Has Written an "Authoritative and Important" Book on Bullying Says NYT

"In its prescriptions Sticks and Stones shines," the New York Times writes about Lavin speaker Emily Bazelon's new book. "That is why this authoritative and important book should not only be read by educators and parents alike, but should also be taught in law schools and journalism schools." Bazelon argues that stamping out bullying involves more than just disciplining the kids we catch being mean to other kids. While she says that the "if it's mean—intervene" strategy has its perks, there are many complex factors that it leaves unaddressed.

Bazelon states that it is essential to refrain from defining bullying in broad terms. Further, she says it is important to not only document the plight of the bullied, but also analyze the struggles of bullies. This is a strategy that's praised in an earlier review in the New York Times. "Her most winning achievement is the kindness she demonstrates throughout the book," the review reads. "She is nonjudgmental in a generous rather than simply neutral way, and she culls as much pathos from the circumstances of bullies as from those of their victims." What's more, "Bazelon is at her best as a storyteller, and the most interesting parts of the book are its human narratives."

Despite the well-intended solutions to eliminate bullying in schools, she urges us to remember that we ultimately have to let kids be kids. There's a fine line between conflict and abuse, and children need to experience some adversity in their lives to prepare them for adulthood. On the other hand, she notes, the effects of chronic, long-term bullying can be devastating. “It’s a tricky balance to strike, the line between protecting kids and policing them," she writes in the book. "But we have to keep trying to find it.”

A senior editor at Slate, a New York Times Magazine contributing writer, and the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School, Bazelon is the perfect voice to speak out against bullying. She lectures to a wide array of audiences on the social and legal ramifications of bullying. Citing the importance of empathy, character, and grit (not unlike education speaker Paul Tough) in overcoming trauma and finding social success, Bazelon presents a compelling glimpse into how we can help our children and work to keep bullying out of schools for good.

Up Next

economics | April 04, 2013