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Erin Grace

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bullying Dialogue

The following is a project my step-daughter did for one of her courses. In light of the movie "Bully" being released, I thought it would be a good time to publish her paper. I think this is where I really connected with her in the first place, back when I met her at 8 years old. We both went through a lot of bullying and tough times and we speak up for those being bullied. Years ago, when my job had "Bring your child to work" day, I brought Allie with me. One of my co-workers brought his son, who had various problems, including ADHD and Tourette's Syndrome. Turned out that the boy was in Allie's classes in school. My co-worker told me the next day that Allie was the person his son would tell him about, who stuck up for him at school when the kids picked on him. So proud of her...great job, Allie!


Disclaimer: * I’m a college student and this was an assignment for my Argumentation class. We had to pick a topic that was both politically and socially significant. I chose bullying in public schools. This project had to be a dialog between two or more characters arguing their points of view on the subject. One character had to be on the pro side the other on the con. The final assignment was a persuasive essay on this same topic.* 

                   Is Bullying a Progressing Problem in Public Schools      

and is it Beneficial?  


 by Alexandrea D'Acunto


           Harvey Noble is 58 and the principle of Viking Ridge High School in Foxx Horn, Colorado. He started his teaching career at Viking Ridge in 1980 at the age of 26 after getting his masters of arts in teaching at Colorado State University in 1979. In 1987 he was the youngest and quickest teacher to become the principle of Viking Ridge High School. Harvey’s high school days weren’t the greatest and he was at the mercy of the school bullies. He was your typical straight A student who loved math and tutoring others. His passions for helping others lead him to pursue a career in education. He graduated from Hollow Pointe High School in 1971 with a full scholarship in mathematics. His ambitions of success drove him to Florida where he received his B.A. in mathematical science from the University of Florida in 1975. Harvey loved Florida, the weather was beautiful and the people there were congenial and entertaining.

Harvey grew up in Hollow Pointe, Colorado where he was the youngest of five brothers. He was beat up and bullied on a daily basis and never given any slack. Harvey grew up with a retired war veteran from World War II as a father. He drilled into his sons that how they were being treated would help build character and function in society if they were all man enough to stand up for themselves. Emotions were a sign of weakness to his father and Harvey could not afford to have a weak back bone and he carried this mentality with him to college. Today you can find Harvey spending most of his time with his family. On weekends he loves to go fishing at Grand Lake with his two Yellow Labradors, Teddy and Dottie. Some of Harvey’s favorite shows and movies he loves to watch are Numb3rs, Deal or No Deal, A Beautiful Mind, and Good Will Hunting. He also has an interesting talent for making model ships from the 1800’s from scratch, some of which he has sold for thousands of dollars. When Harvey is not at home relaxing he is at school where he makes sure that everyone is taken care of to the best of his abilities. 

Charlotte Warbain is 42 and a widower with two sons. Her oldest Patrick is 21 and in the Air Force. He is stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. Luke is 14 and in his freshmen year of high school at Viking Ridge. In 2005 Charlotte’s husband Graham was diagnosed with an Inoperable Brain Tumor. After three hard years of fighting Graham succumbed to his illness in 2008. Graham’s passing ultimately brought the family together but it was particularly harder on Luke because they shared a unique bond.

Charlotte grew up in Lexington, Kentucky where her father worked as a stable hand and exercise jockey for Calumet Farm. Charlotte and Graham graduated from Sterling Gate High School in 1987 and married shortly thereafter. Charlotte went onto the University of Kentucky where she received her B.S. in business and finance. However, four months before graduating from UK she found out she was pregnant with Patrick. They moved to Foxx Horn, Colorado right after graduating so Charlotte could start her internship at Scenic Valley Savings Bank. Today you can find her as the Senior Loan Officer for Rocky Mountain Mortgage and Loan. In her spare time she volunteers at the local ASPCA and walking the nature trails by her home. Charlotte loves watching Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. She watches the stock market daily and loves Jeopardy.

When Patrick left for basic training three years ago, Charlotte and Luke started to become closer than they have ever been. In Luke’s spare time he loves to read comics and mystery books along with watching SyFy channel’s original movies on weekends. Since entering high school Luke’s natural shyness has increased and he’s become antisocial. He is a perfect target for the neighbor hood bullies that roam the halls of Viking Ridge. Charlotte’s tolerance for the situation Luke is in is rapidly decreasing. Luke is coming home with bruises, black eyes, and on one occasions a broken left arm. The mental and emotional toll this violence is taking on him has him coming home in tears and causing night terrors. Luke’s health is diminishing and he’s beginning to beg Charlotte to let him stay home from school. His interest in anything is lost and she is determined to get her fun loving son back. 

* * * 

On March 14, 2012 Mrs. Warbain goes to Viking Ridge High School for her appointment she made with Principle Noble to discuss with him the condition her son is in. She is there to ask why nothing has been done to stop and prevent this harassment and bullying that Luke has to suffer through every day he is at school. Charlotte is outraged at the lack of awareness for bullying that the faculty has at this school. Growing up Charlotte was taught that in order to gain respect you must give it. Bullying is an increasing problem and Charlotte wants to know why her son cannot feel safe at school. Why aren’t the proper precautions being taken into effect to prevent bullying? Her appointment is about to begin… 

* * * 

Office Administrator: (Buzzing in through the desk intercom) Excuse me Principle Noble, Mrs. Warbain has arrived for her one o’clock appointment with you. 

Noble: (Buzzing back) Thank you send her on in. 

(Charlotte walks from the lobby into his office) 

Warbain: Hello Principle Noble, thank you for seeing me today on such short notice. 

Noble: Oh it is no problem how can I be of assistance? 

Warbain: Well, I am here to discuss the building concern I have for my son Luke. He is having a rough time dealing with some of the students here. In a nutshell, you have a serious bullying issue that I feel needs to be addressed. 

(Noble scratched his head and folded his hands together on his desk) 

Noble: Well Mrs. Warbain I’ve been the Principle here for 25 years and I assure you that we do not have a bullying issue. 

(Charlotte shifting her weight in the chair and quickly becoming irritated) 

Warbain: So (pausing to clear her throat) are you trying to say that I’m making up the fact that my son is having issues with the students on and off campus? (staring him down with her head cocked to the side and arms crossed) Listen nowadays the kind of bullying my son endures is not just physical Mr. Noble so please let me enlighten you. The things that these kids say to him at school and write to him via text message and Facebook are horrible and terrifying to Luke. I’ve gone to the extremes of changing his cell phone number on numerous occasions to having him block these kids from his Facebook account. Luckily I was off work the day he came home from school and I had to take him to the ER. Doctors said he had a broken left arm and three bruised ribs. So tell me Mr. Noble why you say that Viking Ridge does not have a bullying problem? I say you are not governing your school properly. 

(Noble just sat there in silence trying to retain all of what was just said) 

Noble: Mrs. Warbain did you know that, “psychologist at the University of California have carried out a study and found that bullying gives children an early lesson that not everybody is going to like them in life and teaches them about conflict resolution?” (“A little bullying”) It’s important for children to be taught conflict management but not to suffer in silence. My father always taught me and my brothers to stand up to the aggressors and then we are more likely to develop healthy social and emotional skills (“A little bullying”). “Today children ought to be self-sufficient enough to deal with bullying.” (“Bullying”) 

Warbain: Why, yes, I read that study done by Melissa Witkow from California and I find it to be completely preposterous. “Research has shown that bullying affects academic achievement. It’s been linked to depression, low self-esteem, and in some extreme cases, suicide.” (Vail). Principle Noble since my husband passed in 2008 Luke and I have become very close and we share everything together just like he did with his father. This bullying is getting out of hand. Luke has become severely depressed and even though his self-esteem never was the greatest it’s gotten worse. His grades are beginning to slip from the lack of sleep due to night terrors almost every night. Some days he doesn’t want to go to school simply because he does not feel like dealing with the harassment. I’ve been so concerned that I took it upon myself to read his journal and there are many entries where he discusses suicide. I’ve lost my husband already and I can’t bear the thought to lose my youngest son while my oldest is property of the government. 

(A long silence falls between them and after a few minutes Charlotte speaks again) 

Warbain: Kids and even adults today find ways to put others down so I’m not surprised at the lack of your concern. I thought you’d like to know that your school is exposed to liability if you don’t deal with this issue (Vail). Principle Noble did you know that most bullying takes place when bystanders are present? (Rigby) 

Noble: (puzzled) Well, uhm, no ma’am I did not know that but…. (Charlotte cuts him off) 

Warbain: And although most bystanders don’t act to discourage it, when any one of them does there is a good chance that the bullying will stop and a large proportion of students would like to see bullying stopped (Rigby). I recommend you read up on Dr. Ken Rigby’s work Mr. Noble you might find it insightful and educational and maybe after today you’ll adopt his techniques to better handle bullying in your school. 

Noble: Well Mrs. Warbain I thank you for this fine information but I still believe that if Luke is to be successful he needs to stand up for himself and reciprocate the dislike he receives from other pupils (“A little bullying”) rather than ignoring the harassment. Moreover I feel that repaying hostility with hostility seems to be the most mature. (“A little bullying”) 

(Charlotte looking at Harvey with complete disgust at what she has just heard) 

Warbain: How..ugh…how can you sit there and say that the best way to fight violence is with violence? “Bullying is widespread and perhaps the most underreported safety problem on American school campuses” (Sampson) and all you say is to attack the attackers. With all due respect Principle Noble I believe your priorities are extremely out of focus and you are not as in tune with your faculty and students as you like to believe. 

Noble: Mrs. Warbain I grew up in a home where I came home every day and was the subject of bullying from my own family and again at school. I turned out just fine because I stood up to my father and my brothers and now we are all successful adults. Luke will be just fine I assure you. I will also take a look at this Dr. Rigby fellow and skim through his research. 

Warbain: Oh please do you honestly think I am that gullible? My son is suffering and it isn’t in silence because I’m the one listening. Do me, my son, yourself, and the rest of your students a favor and leave your office for a half an hour and take a walk around your school and talk to your students. You might be surprised at the things they say if you ask them questions about the school and if they feel safe here. Also take a moment to talk with your teachers they are part of this bullying problem too. Most are ill-equipped to even deal with violence of students. 

(Charlotte stands up from the chair and straightens out her dress and shakes Harvey’s hand) 

Warbain: Well Principle Noble I thank you for your time today but I must be going. I’m cooking Luke his favorite dinner of Marconi and Broccoli and it usually helps me on days when bullying was at its worst, which I have a feeling today was a bad day. 

(Charlotte turns to walk away when Harvey stops here) 

Noble: Mrs. Warbain I can promise you Luke will be fine and I will take your advice and talk with my students and staff. Thank you for this enlightening conversation. 

Warbain: (Looks at Noble puzzled and in a soft, disappointed voice says) For my son’s sake, I hope you are right. Luke’s a great kid who never hurt anyone…not even a fly. It’s interesting to me that someone of your background wouldn’t have any compassion for this kind of thing. Just a thick head full of hot air… 

(Charlotte walked out of his office and left Harvey speechless) 

* * * 

It’s been two months since Charlotte’s meeting with Harvey and a local news station has just picked up a breaking news story about a shooting at Viking Ridge High School that took place at 1:52pm on May 24, 2012 

News Anchor: Good afternoon everyone breaking news is just in and we are following a shooting that has taken place at Viking Ridge High School in Foxx Horn. We have a reporter on scene with updates. 

Reporter: I’m standing here next to a group of students that were witnesses to what has happened here today during lunch period in the courtyard. They say that 14-year-old Luke Warbain, a freshmen here, came out of the lunch room into the clearing by the fountain and started shouting “Is this you want? Well you got it. All you people that bullied me you have all won and beaten me for the last time. You all won.” And then they heard a gunshot and Luke lay there draped over the fountain lifeless. 

News Anchor: Well that is certainly devastating and quite a tragedy. Have you been able to speak to anyone other than the witnesses? 

Reporter: Yes I was able to catch up with the Principle here, Harvey Noble but he didn’t have much to say other than that he should have listen to the boy’s mother in their meeting back in March. I was also able to catch up with Charlotte Warbain, Luke’s mother on her way into the school to confirm that the boy that lay there is indeed her son and she had and in depth response to this recent tragedy that fall in her family. 

News segment of prerecorded video of Charlotte plays 

Warbain: Today I came to Viking Ridge for a tragic reason and that’s because my son took his life in front of those who bullied and tortured him day in and day out. Principle Noble should have listened to what I had to say in our meeting about Luke and this continuing issue and maybe my son would be alive today and I wouldn’t be here. However he didn’t and now my youngest and most loving son is gone. Bullying is a continuing issue in the United States. How many more kids have to feel the need to kill themselves or others as way out from this torture? My son just adds to the count. 

Reporter: As you can see she is saddened yet angry that her cries for help for her son were not heard and now he is not with us. It’s a sad day here at Viking Ridge. Back to you. 

News Anchor: Okay well thank you for that heart aching story of a troubled soul….. 

Copyright © 2012 by Alexandrea DAcunto.


  1. If anyone wants to leave a comment or what have you, Allie would love to hear from you!

  2. Yes I would love to hear from anyone

    1. Well done, Allie! Thank you for speaking for those who can't or don't speak for themselves. Sadly, this is a true story in so many places. This past year in VT we had three suicides. That , to me, is insane. What are your goals around the work that you are doing concerning bullying? What is you course of study in school? Have you ever been bullied?
      Humans are capable of so much good and so much destruction. the gamut is always so alarming to me. Thank you for doing your part in the area of "good". :) Cairn

    2. I don't really have goals that surround bullying but I mainly want to get others to see that it is a problem and it isn't something to be looked over.My major is Criminal Justice and I haven't decided what specific field I want to get into but I know I want to do something with Forensics.I have been bullied. I've been bullied by teachers and tutors my mother hired to help me. To this day going on 21 years old come August it is still very hard for me to ask others for help especially teachers in fear that I will get rejected and belittled. I wasn't just verbally bullied by these women, I used to come home with bruises from them mainly from the elderly tutor my mom hired to come to the after school program to come help me with my homework and that same year which was second grade my teacher always gave me a hard time because of my learning disability and one day my mom told the principle she'd be dropping by my class unannounced and she dropped in on the right day because she saw this teacher grabbing me by the arm in FRONT on the class with her face in my face yelling at me. This teacher and tutor never taught again. I Have been bullied by students because of the learning disability I had and I wasn't the thinest kid in middle school so I was made fun of for that, but the bullying I went through was not nearly as horrible as what these kids deal with in the movie Bully. I cried so much during that movie and even though I was bullied I always stood up for those I also saw being bullied. I also stood up for myself. I wasn't quiet I said something and I didn't care if I was called a "tattle tale" which was the sin of all sin to be in middle school and elementary school. I didn't care and when I reached high school the few girls that liked to make fun of me apologized to me first which was quite shocking but it all worked out. I've also been a bully for a breif time in seventh grade. I became mixed up with this one girl in my band class and my section and I don't know what happened but I ended up bullying another girl in our section for some reason and emailed her and it was taken to the principle and I received ISS which is In school suspension for two days. I realized at that point what I had done and it was extremely wrong. I wrote the girl I had been mean to a letter of apology and we were okay and I ditched the girl I had taken after which then caused her to bully me for it. Bullying is a terrible and vicious cycle and nothing will ever be accomplished unless something is said. Which is why I Stand for The Silent.