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The Contender
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Doing the same thing/s the bullies did to their victims as a punishment is a bad idea

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/4/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,096 times Debate No: 35277
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




I believe that tormenting the bullies, just like the bullies did to their victims is a bad idea. I'll tell you several stories about why it isn't a good idea.

Story 1: The Result For Physical Bullying

[One day, some guy decided to go out and torment somebody. Then, he found his victim. He punched and kicked his victim, until the bell rang and lunch time was over. The tormentor warned his victim not to tell anyone, or else there'll be serious trouble. This happened day after day. Until one day, the victim was tired of keeping the secret and told his teacher. The teacher then called the tormentor/bully to come over to her. Then, she called for the class's attention. After she got her classes attention, started to punch and kick the bully, until there was severe bruising. Then, the teacher explained to her classed what had happened every lunch time to the victim. Then, the bully got into rage and started crashing and ruining everything he can. He threw chairs, and got the classroom into a mess. The teacher got mad and sent the bully to the principal's office. When it was home time, the bully told his parents that his teacher was abusing him. The next day, his parents talked to his teacher and his teacher told him everything that happened yesterday. Then, they saw the victim's parents and the the 2 families started to argue with each other and the teacher.]

This is one problem.

Story 2: The Result For Verbal Bullying

[There was a fat girl in some boy's class and he decided to torment her about her obesity. "Fat pig," he said, blowing a raspberry at her. "You're no fit to be in any sports team, so don't even dream of making it in the try-outs." he said with a smirk. The girl looked upset and walked away. The boy ran in front of her and stopped her before she could go any further. "Oh, no. Not so fast, Fatty because we're not finished." he continued. "What do you want?" asked the girl. "What do I want, huh? What I want is to tell you that you are too fat to be useful or sporty." he replied. "I don't have time for this. Now, if you excuse me, I want to go somewhere." she said. The boy blocked her way again. "No, I don't excuse you, Fatty." he said. "What is your problem?" she asked him. Then, the bell rang. "You are to meet me here tomorrow. If you don't, you're dead pork." he warned her. The girl got more annoyed and upset by his harassment by the minute. This happened day after day, until the girl was feeling very sick of keeping this secret and told her teacher. The teacher then called for the bully and the class's attention. Then, he grabbed the bully by the shirt and started swearing and teasing him. Then the boy got scared and talked back. Then, they argued and argued until the bell rang for home time. The teacher quickly told the class what the bully had been up to every lunch time. When the boy got home, he told his parents that his teacher grabbed him by the shirt and swore and teased him. The next day, his parents went to complain to his teacher about how he was treated. The teacher told them that their son had been a bully. But they argued and argued.]

Which is why I think that tormenting the bully back isn't a good idea.


First of all, it is odd that you would only use anecdotal evidence to support your claim, furthermore, the evidence you use show us more about the character's specific character flaws and circumstantial evidence then any real information as to why a "tit for tat" method of reprimand is wrong. To explore exactly why your argument is wrong, I will directly address and analyze both of your stories.
But first, I would like to lay out some general points to clarify my position on this debate.
-As we are considering the use of equal punishment dealt out by an authority figure (ie. the teacher) and NOT how this position on punishment is viewed by our society, we must accept that the use of said force against the child is legally condoned to focus fully on the potential advantages or disadvantages to the children involved in such a system.
-I would also like to impose a limit on what is considered bullying. Stabbing someone or poking out their eye is NOT bullying, it is assault. Therefore, if such an attack that is not legally condoned is committed against another child, I am not suggesting that the bully be stabbed back, but rather that they are taken to the proper authorities. Acts that do fall under bullying include, but are not limited to: rough housing, name calling, throwing objects, taking lunch money, etc.

Now, now last point before I start on your anecdotes: Where are your stories from? Are they from personal experience, can they be sourced or are they completely fictional in nature?
Story #1:
In this story, a bully ("some guy") decided, seemingly on a whim to bully someone. To leave it at that is to ignore the psychology of the bully and to focus more upon his aggression as a derogatory thing. However, it is important to note that bullying is largely seen as the result of two forces upon a child:
1. The need to "empower" one's self and boost his own self esteem.(1)
2. An imbalance of social or physical power.
To prevent further bullying, it is logical that a display of public humiliation through bullying towards the bully would show the child that physical violence toward his peers would result only in a similar reprimand. Classical conditioning suggests that pain and humiliation will cause the bully to discontinue bullying once it is associated with that stimulus. (2) Once this connection is established, it will become clear to the child that bullying is not an effective way to empower himself, thus teaching him a valuable lesson. Additionally, getting bullied in turn would show that the perceived social imbalance of power that prompted him to aggressive action versus his victim is not actually in his hands, rather in the hands of the teacher, where it should be.
The issue of authority, as your story implies, does not end here. Although it is illogical that the bully would: "[get] into rage and started crashing and ruining everything he can." due to a fear of further punishment, it is likely that he would turn to his parents. Here, however, we run into a very grey area of the argument. Different parents with different ideas of how their child should be raised would have a multitude of responses ranging from outraged that action was being taken against their child to support of this technique. I think that for the sake of a focused and rational debate, we should focus more upon how children would react to this method of punishment and if it is effective rather than on the less predictable parenting ideas. This will further the debate on whether quid pro quo is effective and avoid a major tangent from the original question.

Story #2
First of all, I would like to point out that in this story there is a death threat. Due to the way the anecdote was written it is unknown how serious this threat is, but if it is intended as an actual threat on her life, it goes way beyond bullying and into assault. There is a legal premise for such an act, and is beyond the scope of this argument. (for those who are interested in an example: see source 3).
I would like to note that in this story you have mentioned that the teacher and student "argued and argued until the bell rang for home time." This seems like an unlikely manifestation of this principle because, as I have mentioned before, bullying is predicated on an imbalance of power. Therefore, if the teacher is bullying the student, it is much more likely to be in one direction only: from the teacher and to the student. Such an interaction would more clearly demonstrate to the class and to the bully what is the point of this kind of punishment. Furthermore, it is unlikely and inefficient for the teacher to "quickly [tell] the class what the bully had been up to every lunch time," at what sounded like the last minute of class. Instead, if this is going to be a tactic used by teachers, the point of the exercise would be made clear at the beginning of the humiliation as to maximize the impact and effectiveness of the punishment not only as a lesson to the bully but also as a deterrent for the entire class.

As you have failed to mention what tactics you would suggest instead of such a method, I will leave my argument as such and wait for your reply. Thanks for taking the time to have this debate, and good luck!

(2)Bouton, M. E. (2007) Learning and Behavior: A Contemporary Synthesis, Sunderland, MA: Sinauer
Debate Round No. 1


It's a bad idea because the bully would just be abused and there could just be a big mess after that. Sending them to juvenile prison is better than doing it back to them. Besides, teachers are not allowed to hurt students physically now. Another thing, I have other ideas about what kinds of other things people could do to the bully other than doing it back to them.

1. Send them to juvenile prison.
2. Make them more active (eg. make them do push ups in front of the class or grade).
3. Talking about bullying more in the school and make them think about what they did to their victims.
4. Make them talk to an expert.
5. Give them time out.
6. Send them to the principal's office.

And so on and so forth.


Please extrapolate what you mean when you say "just be a big mess after that." This is an abstraction and doesn't provide any substancial evidence for your argument.
Also, as I have already said in my first argument, it is obvious that teachers cannot hurt students now, but for the sake of this argument that focuses on the pros and cons of using such force, we are suspending the legal implications. In the past it has not been unusual for teachers to be allowed to use force against their kids, especially rulers, lets revert to those laws.

Sending bullies to juvenile prison is an odd idea. First of all prison seems like a very harsh punishment for the level of bullying that we are talking about. However, before I can make a proper formal argument against it, I would like you to extrapolate exactly what you mean. Where are you incarcerating them, in juvenile hall with kids who actually committed crimes? Furthermore, the prison system in the united states is meant as a system of punishment for people who do wrong. Although it isn't exactly what the bullies were doing to someone else, it is a similar concept to the tit for tat principle you are arguing against. Please clarify this point and prove that it isn't.

Additionally, your idea of "Make them more active (eg. make them do push ups in front of the class or grade)." Is also very similar to the idea of public humiliation that I brought up in my first argument. In fact, I would agree that that sort of punishment, especially where it is relevant (where a perceived physical imbalance of power is at play with the bully) would be very much aligned with my argument.

Although your argument can be praised for its brevity, I would aslo ask you to further explain why any of your alternatives is a better way of dealing with bullies. Although you have provided some alternatives, you have not provided any reasons why my method is wrong or indeed why your's is right.
Debate Round No. 2


If sending a bully to juvenile prison is a harsh thing to deal with bullying, then doing the same thing/s the bully did to their victim as a punishment is more harsh when it comes to physical bullying. It would only abuse them, and in return, wouldn't help much for the bully to understand that what they did is wrong. We must find a way to deal with the bully so they can understand that what they did is wrong, and they won't do it again. Otherwise, they might not stop because they don't understand how wrong they are to their victim and would only abuse them.

You might think that sending them to juvenile prison will not help the bully to understand what they did wrong, but it's a better idea than just doing it back to them. In juvenile prison, someone could talk to them about what they did wrong and explain why. Then (hopefully), the bully would understand how wrong they were and would stop bullying others.


Please can you reread my comments and respond to my argument?

Incarcerating people is a terrible punishment. Confinement and lack of freedom are some of the most extreme punishments and even physical abuse, due to its shorter nature, is a much less harsh punishment then the separation from the child from his life and family.

Furthermore, as I have said from my first argument, the point of the public humiliation and punishment would be explicitly shared to the whole group in order to make sure they learn a lesson from it. In this manner we are more efficient because we teach not only the bully but the whole group why bullying is wrong and the consequences of doing so. I do not see any reason as to why they would learn that lesson better confined in prison.

I do not see any significant evidence of therapy being an effective way to prevent bullying. Therapy requires the person to want to change and to work with the therapist. For bullies who are not willing this won't be as effective. However, my method of punishment promises a more universally effective reaction.
Debate Round No. 3


I did not mean sending them to juvenile prison for days and weeks or something like that. I meant sending them there for the school day. Then, when it's home time, they can be free to go home. I know that's not how prison works, but they're just young people, so we wouldn't make them be apart from their families. That's why, my idea is to keep them in prison for a short time. They could still do their work, because they were to bring all the work that the teacher gives them to bring there, so they can do it. There should be a juvenile prison in schools. There has to be someone in there to talk to the bullies one by one and tell them about how what they did was wrong. Then, when it's home time, they could be let out. As Con had said, children shouldn't be parted from their families. That's why, what I had in mind was to not let them be parted from their families, but to be kept in prison for a few hours of school or for the school day.


So basically you are talking about putting them in detention. This is the standard procedure for dealing with this problem today, however over 70% of kids admit to being bullied during their education! (1) Calling it prison and separating them from their classmates does nothing more then serve to make them bitter. A more involved manner of approaching this problem is necessary if we want to teach them how to behave.

"There has to be someone in there to talk to the bullies one by one and tell them about how what they did was wrong. "
This statement is flawed in that the kids know what they did was wrong. The rules are always established in school, the problem is that they choose to break the rules. Talking to them and telling them "what they did was wrong" does nothing more than confirm what they know. There must be a more active involvement in the lesson you are trying to teach them if you want to make sure they actually learn.

Debate Round No. 4


Have you thought that not all bullies know that they're bullying? They could be brainwashed in some way. They could be worried something might happen to them if they don't do it. They might have mental problems. Maybe they don't even know they did it. It's not always about them breaking rules, but it's about what they actually know. You might think that they know it, but what if they don't? Maybe they do, but they didn't know they did it? Harassment is bad, but their education is more important. You have to teach them about harassment so they know. For those who don't know, can keep being punished so they could learn. Borrow books for them to read about bullying, show them websites about bullying, etc.

If they don't behave, get them suspended or something. Or send them to another school. I've heard about this boy that was a bully. He was so bad, that he got sent to another school. He was more well behaved in that school and he had discipline. He learned. He dropped his bad habits.


This seems to be an argument of stories and anecdotes, so I have one that you should consider in regards to your arguments.

There was a boy named Tom that my brother's friend used to babysit that came home one day with a story about his friend. It went something like this. Tom's parents were a huge fan of brainwashing, a fact that Tom was very proud of. However, it meant that when he told stories about it in school his friends would get jealous and steal things from him. One day when his friend Tim stole Tom's casserole something inside Tom broke. He grabbed a spork and stabbed at Tim, not meaning any real harm, but it cut his wrist open and he died. Tom was charged with assault and sent away to Juvenile Hall. There they took away his books and his brainwashing and left him to rot in a cell for weeks at a time. Throughout this time he was sent to counselor. She was a good woman and an even better social worker, but unfortunately (as Tom says) they never are able to reach anyone. During his stay, the warden provided a new benefit for the inmates: they were given books to read on bullying and they were shown websites about bullying. The iron shutters of the roof on the prison shook with the might of their riots as they protested this action. Then, just as the courts decided they were lost causes and sentence them to death, the Warden was struck with an idea that was so crazy, it might just work. She dove into the archives and searched for days on end until finally she found it. She took a stack of binders and slammed it upon the court's floor to draw attention above all the contesting voices. She then solemnly approached the first boy and after she got the court's attention, started to punch and kick the bully, until there was severe bruising. He went back to school in CA and was on the honor role for 3 years. One by one she went, the folders of the original records of the boy's misdemeanors in one hand and various bullying tools in the other. One boy ended up going to Harvard and another won three Pulitzer awards. Tom's is now is an astronaut-president-jedi-Bear Wrestler who secretly invented a time machine and set up the world so he could make money off of apple so is a billionaire too.

As we can see from this story, counseling and giving bullies books on bullying to make them better has no effect on children at all (in fact it can cause riots of a violent nature!). However, when the bullies were exposed to what had been done to them, the results were astounding. I wish that my teacher had used this technique on me, I would also like to be a bear wrestler. I think this story proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that my suggested tit for tat method is the best method for teaching bullies.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by sweetbreeze 4 years ago

Yes, but read what Sandy said. She has the pointed out the very reason that treating a bully like they treated their victims was a bad idea.
Posted by Sandy8 4 years ago
I agree with sweetbreeze that treating a bully the same way the bully treats others is a bad idea.
In addition to her argument, I would like to add that most of the time, the reason behind bullying is because they were bullied or abused themselves and want others to feel the same way. If the bully were to be bullied, it would only spark there reasons to be a bully.
Bullying is a serious, emotional thing that must be handled very carefully, and bullying a bully isn't the way to handle it.
Posted by bladerunner060 4 years ago
I understand that, sweetbreeze, but you're attempting to establish that with pure hypotheticals...someone could create a hypothetical where the end is the bully learns their lesson just as easily.
Posted by TheFurryOat 4 years ago
Did these events happen in reality?
Posted by TheFurryOat 4 years ago
This seems interesting... :)
Posted by sweetbreeze 4 years ago
bladerunner060: No, it's not a "who can make up a story" debate. It's a "doing the same thing/s the bullies did to their victims is a bad idea" debate.
Posted by bladerunner060 4 years ago
Is this a "who can make up a story" debate?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bsh1 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con has better analysis/is not reliant on "what ifs". Con successfully answers Pro's questions.