I was reading this MSN story today as well as the comments.
To continue on the stupidity of school administrators, I'm right there with you on the whole punishing a kid for defending himself/herself issue. I was also tormented myself & my father didn't always threaten to murder the little shit. I really identified w/Dawn in Welcome to the Dollhouse because I was similar in many ways, though I had much more of a backbone and by 8th grade, I had had enough. You have to thank the friends I had at that time for it; they probably saved most of these people from a deadly rampage later on & certainly improved life for me. They told me point blank I'd have to stand up for myself but that they'd have my back if needed.
When I got insulting notes from people, I'd just retaliate & put the kids in situations where the teachers heard them torment me during class or saw them writing notes. I was also a smart kid so there was no favorites contest going on. I probably hurt the self-esteem of this one girl who tormented me by saying that nobody liked her (which was true, people said she was a snobby bitch). Later on, I had older friends & that probably helped lessen problems I had.
I'll say this right now. If my nephews were bullies, no one in my family would let them get away with it. If they got bullied and defended themselves only to get in trouble, I'd had plenty of words for the school administrator/principal/teacher trying that one. I'd ask if they would allow someone to hit their person & not fight back or allow someone to bully THEM. In case you can't tell, I'm not an advocate of turning the other cheek in most situations.
I also have a problem w/the "I didn't see it so I can't do anything" logic. That just means I can kill someone in cold blood but b/c you didn't see me do it, you can't punish me. Do you want to live in that world? I sure hope not.
I also hope my nephews take some self-defense classes or something w/a fighting component; I just got done taking a self-defense class for women and found it extremely useful to real life. I hated gym class but I actually did well at this & if I have the $, would consider pursuing Jiu Jitsu training.
I loved the suggestion some of these comment writers had of having a bullied child take self-defense & use those skills when needed to teach the bully a lesson. You know what they say, some of the cutest kittens have the sharpest claws.
That little rule needs to change & start with having the aggressors get punished. Perhaps it should become a social services issue w/the parents who refuse to accept any responsibility or control their little hellion offspring. Maybe if you can't handle your own child, then you shouldn't have had him/her to start with. My parents never took mess from us or though we were perfect. People like that should also never hire babysitters since if your child is never doing something wrong, you obviously trust that child to be alone.
Don't even get me started on administrator's kids or teacher's kids getting away w/things b/c these grownups didn't bother to put the discipline where it needed to go. I had a friend who was the daughter of the school board president & she was the sweetest person in the school. She never walked around with an entitlement complex or thought she was exempt from the rules. In fact, she even defied the cliche of the bitchy cheerleader by being nice to people who weren't popular.
Maybe the people who brush off bullying should become bully targets themselves. I'd bet they'd take action after that. Same principle as making the heads of the MTA take public transit themselves for a few months; I'll bet you things would shape up really quickly after that.