Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Today I have L.B. Schulman to talk with us about Bullying.


My newly-released young adult novel, League of Strays, discusses bullying on many different levels. When I wrote it, I wanted to describe more than just the impact of bullying on everyday students. I wanted to look at the anger that victims may develop toward their oppressors. To that end, I created five members of the League of Strays who all felt wronged on differing levels. One of their own members is the biggest bully of all. Kade is sociopath, and having no conscience, coupled with finely-tuned manipulation skills, he convinces the others to seek revenge on a grand level.

The thing about bullying is, it does more than make someone’s self-esteem take a nosedive. It can make its victims furious. Unfortunately, for some kids, revenge is the next logical step.

Sometimes critics tell me that League of Strays couldn't happen or that my main character should have run away from the sociopathic leader of the group, I respectfully want to remind them of the tragic event at Columbine High School, where two teenagers marched into their school in April, 1999 and murdered 13 people and injured 24 others. Those kids were unpopular and frequently bullied, and their response was to fight back with a massacre. Dylan Klebold felt uncomfortable with the philosophy of revenge at times, but his psychopathic friend and plan leader, Eric Harris, convinced him to go down a terrible path.

Rage is a powerful force. When we help kids with bullying issues, I believe we should always address the possible anger of the victims. Feeling helpless is the worst emotion ever, in my opinion, and it can make a person feel like a wild, caged animal, perhaps desperate enough to attack for escape. Most of us won’t decide on a killing spree, thankfully. But it’s a reason all schools should embrace Bullying Prevention Month and implement no-tolerance, disciplinarian actions toward bullies, and a supportive and helpful approach for its victims. No one is truly helpless, but in the thick of pain, kids can’t always figure that out for themselves. 


If you don't win the giveaway for League of Strays, you can purchase the book here: Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Book Passage


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