Independence Day for Those Who Bully

Do you know the film, Independence Day, from 1996? One of the characters, an alcoholic crop-duster, Russell Casse, played by Randy Quaid, kept insisting that he was abducted by aliens. No one was buying it. Once the aliens landed, he had his day by saying, “What did I tell you?” (Quoted from memory).

It is now our turn. No, we have not been abducted by aliens, but we have been speculating within our institute about Adam Lanza, the tragic figure who turned his own fury onto innocent children in a Connecticut school on December 14, 2012. We have been saying to each other that he himself in all likelihood was a victim of severe bullying.

A recent article in the New York Daily News (April 13, 2013) by Matthew Lysiak and Larry McShane supports the view that Mr. Lanza was a victim of bullying. According to this article not only was Mr. Lanza taunted but also beaten by fellow students when he attended Sandy Hook Elementary School. A relative of Mr. Lanza, who wished for anonymity in that article, gave this evidence of bullying: “Adam would come home with bruises all over his body,” the relative said. “His mom would ask him what was wrong, and he wouldn’t say anything. He would just sit there.” The mother considered suing the school because of this abuse that she suspected.

The one bullied transformed into the one who bullies, and even worse, into the one who kills.

For a moment, let us presume even with this news story that the accusations of bullying toward Adam Lanza are incorrect. Even so, there are thousands of children as I write this being bullied and bullied very abusively in schools.

How many of them will transform into the one who bullies?

We have to do something to protect the victims, yes, but what is rarely emphasized is this: We must find a way to quell the fury within those who bully. Their fury is what is abusing and in some cases contributing to the death of other students.

What did I tell you? We are suggesting this to the world: We strongly urge all school districts in the United States and abroad to develop comprehensive psychological programs to reduce the rage in those who bully. One source for school psychologists, counselors, and social workers is the Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Education Program available in the store section of this website. This curriculum targets the anger within those who bully.

Our research on forgiveness therapy and our research on forgiveness education shows that those with deep anger can reduce that anger statistically significantly.

It is time to quell the fury within—-for the sake of the next victim and for the sake of those who harbor the fury. We have the resources. Now let us all pull together and do our part not to let anger have its insistent upper hand. Let us start today and achieve Independence Day for those who bully—-independence from the binding torture of their own anger.


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Categories: Anger, Bullying, Children, Counseling, Education, Our Forgiveness Blog, Trauma


  1. Jessica says:

    This approach makes so much sense to me. I did some looking on the Internet and you are right. The vast majority of the anti-bullying programs focus on getting “the one who bullies” (as you say) to not behave that way. Yes, this is important but it ignores the underlying cause of anger. I share your view that it is time for schools to wake up and get it right.

  2. Chris says:

    If all we see when we look at the one who bullies is a “problem child,” then we miss the cause of this problem. Looking at his or her past is a great strategy for pinpointing the issues that can be addressed in the hope of putting a stop to the bullying.

  3. Josh says:

    Thank you for getting to the heart of the matter for this particular news story. What you are actually pointing toward is the heart of the matter for bullying in general. This should become a new pattern for counselors, to assess the bullying that the bully suffered. It is a “no brainer.” It is especially important because your research shows that you have a program to address this first abuse and to reduce the bully’s frustration and anger. You are right that this approach should be standard procedure in all schools.

  4. Samantha says:

    Those who bully are people who bleed just like the rest of us. We are all better protected if we can take the time to help stop their bleeding. This is an important post.


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