Parents And Bullies: Taking A Stand Or Going Too Far?

CHICAGO (CBS) — A mother takes shocking action after she says her son is repeatedly bullied as she forces him to fight and it was all caught on tape.

“Get mad and (bleep) him up,” the mother is heard screaming to her son as he gets into a fist fight with the boy he says continually bullies him. The two boys are seen punching each other and they end up on the ground. The alleged bully has a choke-hold and is on top of the boy who begins yelling that he can not breathe.

“He’s choking me,” the boy yells and his mother responds, “No he ain’t…bang him in his (bleep) face.”

The boy then yells, “Help me mom.”

The mother, Kelly White of Maryland, is facing criminal charges including child abuse and assault because of this fight. She says her son was chased home from school and jumped daily by a group of bullies. She also said school officials failed to help so she wanted to teach her son to defend himself.

“You have to standup for yourself,” said Kelly White. “Because if you don’t, they’re just going to keep on coming after you.”

CBS 2’s Dave Savini examined the extremes parents will go to in the name of protecting their kids, and whether those tactics work. He showed this fight video to Shannon Sullivan of Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and is on the state anti-bullying task force.

“It’s really hard to watch,” Sullivan says about the fight video. “And there’s a kid that’s saying to break it up and the mom is saying no.”

Sullivan says she understands the mom’s frustration, but says violence is never the solution.

“It tells them that violence and fighting is a perfectly acceptable way to handle your problems and it’s not,” says Sullivan who explains that simply giving detentions or suspensions often fail to stop bullying.

“Punitive school discipline doesn’t work,” said Sullivan. “It doesn’t work to change behaviors.”

Instead, says Sullivan, students need to be taught empathy and new problem-solving skills. If bullying persists, parents can get help from her organization.

“There are ways that parents can be heard,” said Sullivan.

A Bolingbrook parent, Eddie Slowikowski, found a different way to address bullying in his son’s school. Slowikowski, his 9-year-old son Jack and other students performed an anti-bullying skit at his Plainfield school after Jack was repeatedly bullied on his bus ride home.

“Every time I tried to get past him, he start punching me,” Jack Slowikowski said about the boy who bullied him. For six months, he says he did not tell anybody about the bullying, not until he was injured.

“He pushed me and I hit my head really hard on the metal,” said Jack Slowikowski.

His mother, Maryann Slowikowski, took her son to the alleged bully’s house.

“I confronted the bully,” said Maryann Slowikowski. “I said, ‘you know I don’t appreciate what you did to my son. I’m not going to let you get away with it'”

“I mean you really got to get everybody involved,” said Eddie Slowikowski. “The parents, the school, the other kids — it’s got to be a community effort.”

Jack Slowikowski said he wanted to fight back, but didn’t, “Because I knew that it wasn’t right to fight back.”

The anti-bullying skit was a step in the right direction, but according to the Slowikowski family, it has not stopped the bullying at the school

Plainfield district 202 has created it’s own bullying task force to alleviate the bullying problem.

The mother of the alleged Baltimore bully says her son is not a bully.

Sullivan says the state task force will be implementing anti-bullying pilot programs next year in a select group of schools

© MMX, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. Interactive

More from 2 Investigators
  • What!?!

    I’m sick of hearing about this. Kids are being taught not to stand up for themselves, and fight back, but to run to someone and complain or whine about how they were treated. And we wonder why we have kids who have no self respect, and will be easily lead around throughout their lives. What are these kids going to do about “bullies” when they get into the work force? Run to their parents or supervisor every time someone “bullies” them. Honestly, it’s almost hopeless at this stage.

  • sanene

    Sometimes Violence is the ONLY solution.. There comes a time in every boy’s life when he has to stand up confront the bullies and fight it out. . He may even have to take a beating, but once he stands up for himself the bullies respect him and back off. Until he stops being a scardey cat and who runs away crying and stands up and fights like a real boy, he will attract bullying like sugar attracts ants. Hooray for that mohter. She knows what goes on in the REAL world.

    • Roberta Waker

      Unfortunately, I agree that sometimes violence is the ONLY solution. Maybe the schools should set up an area after school so the bully and his victim can duke it out once and for all. If they are really mismatched and this isn’t possible, the only other alternative is to file lawsuits against the schools and the bully’s parents. Sometimes paying for therapy for their victims can help “cure” their aggression because therapy isn’t cheap. Or, maybe the bullies should be sent to jail for a week or two so they can find out what REAL bullying is. We need to address this problem NOW.

  • Money talks

    Home school friend. Watch how much action the school takes when they are threatened with the lose of thousands of $$$ from tax credits given on each and every student enrolled. Then these over-paid do-nothings will put their @$$E$ in gear.

    • Cameltoe Rancher

      Overpaid? Dist 202’s salary scale sucks.

  • ANGIE M.


    • Roberta Waker

      I don’t understand why these bullies are still in school. They should be expelled or sent to a juvenile facility for a week or two to give them an understanding about REAL bullying.

  • Megaton

    When I hear of stories like this one I am reminded of something my 6th grade teacher once told a bunch of us who were fighting on the school play ground. “Your not animals you’re humans. Animals fight to survive, Humans have a brain and can find other solutions to their problems.” We all have been confronted with bullies at one time or another in our life. Now in 2011 we are in a uproar over bullys. If this is such a huge problem than the schools should send notices home to the parents informaing them if their child is involved in bullying anyone the school will report it to the police and the parent will be arrested. Deal with the brats who do this at home where it should be dealt with. Take their cell phone, computers, video games away and anything else that you bought them to keep them out of your hair.

  • liz

    I always tell my kids to stand up for themselves and my 5 foot 1 16 yr old has taught boys twice her size a lesson. If anyone ever hurt one of my kids I would bring assault charges against them. OR I might go make some sport of their parent. You beat up my kid, I mess up your mother.

  • concerned mom

    My son too was bullied. The school did nothing but tell the others to back off. The bullying intensified. My son was now labeled a “snitch” and a “momma’s boy”. I showed my son some simple defensive moves that would help. Afraid for gettin in trouble himself and knowing these bullies were stronger he hesitated to use what I showed him. I explained how it can be done to look as if he was just shrugging to get his coat off as they tried to take it once again. He tried it and it worked. The bullies backed off when they realized this kid is no longer an “easy” target. Watching the video I say the mother was wrong. How can you stand by when your child is yelling for help. Lift the bully up, call the cops and bring it to the attention of the other parents. The bully may not stop but he may think twice trying it on your kid again.

  • Eddiespeak

    “An Eye for and Eye leaves the world blind” This is a quote from Dr. Martin luther king jr. If we teach our children to use violence to solve the problem, we are creating more misery down the line. To speak to one of the statements above, if you are bullied at work you are not allowed to settle things violently…you have to find other means or you will go to jail. Why would you teach your children anything different. i understand that you cannot let anyone just roll over you but if you think a violent reaction is really going to make things better then you are blind. We can choose to react with self-respect and dignity and handle this issue by coming together as a community and demanding change. If we start to condition our children in an empathic way maybe they can create a world with less violence. I am hopeful! Look at how we all now wear our seatbelts…we didn’t use to but now we make sure our kids are safe in that car. Shouldn’t they feel safe in school and on the playground or the bus? Of course they should and it is up to us to help make that happen.

    • What!?!

      @ Eddiespeak – So, if you are an adult and experience “bullying” at work, you should run and tell your supervisor or maybe your parents? That is what kids today are being taught. They are not being taught to even attempt to resolve the situation themselves, nor are they being taught to defend themselves, they are being taught to run/hide/take the beating that they are receiving and then “report” what happened. And yes, if I were violently attacked at my workplace by a coworker, I would respond in kind, and let the supervisors deal with the aftermath. Police do not arrest people who defend themselves, assuming that they take only actions to defend themselves, and do not escalate it beyond that. If a person gets fired for defending themselves, then that is wrong by the employer. I really wish we didn’t even have to discuss this type of stuff, but until all humans come to the point to where they can act in a civilized fashion, this will be a subject of debate.

      • Eddiespeak

        The truth of the matter is that students are being taught to initially handle it themselves in a non-violent manner, to stand up fpr themselves in a non-volent way. Then many schools have in place what is known as peer mediation where the students come together to try and resolve the issue themselves. The students are also taught to get what is known as the by-standers to stand up for the victim in a non-violent manner. Then they are told to quickly get an adult involved. What in that scenario do you disagree with? And before you submit statements on a website, you should do your research. Is your solution to immediately get violent in the face of a bully? Do you honestly believe that this course of reaction is going to solve the problem or will it create more violence. If you were a principal of a school is this what you’d instruct your students to do. You know we also used to have the “wild West” in this country where people took care of there problems themselves with gun in hand. We don’t still allow that, and why do you think that is. I guess the real question is what is your long term vision for a solution? I suppose it is to be violent. I happen to believe that violence begets more violence and the whole point of this “debate” should be about keeping our children safe. And by the way, if you are an adult at work and anyone is harassing you in anyway, the proper protocol is to get the Higher ups and or authorities involved. This doesn’t make you a wimp it makes you a rational adult who is trying nothing more to do their job with anyone interfering. And of course if someone attacks you, self defense is warranted. bullying is not a one time attack. In most cases of bullying it is a consistent harassment, sometimes in a violent manner or through intimidation or emotional and psychological abuse. Bullying is about power and intimidation coming from a pretty dark place within. Teaching our children to strike back violently as a first level of dealing with bullying will create more violence. All that kid in the video above learned was that he got his “ass kicked” while his mother stood by a watched! Do you honestly think that the intimidation and abuse will not suddenly stop for that kid. Also, ask yourself how that kid now feels about himself after all of this. put yourself in his shoes and try to imagine how you would feel to be that kid today. A parents job is to love and nurture and protect and teach a child how to live a good quality of life in this world. If you come from abuse, you most likely will pass it down and the abuse whether it be physical, emotional or mental continues and one carries the damage with them for a lifetime. why not teach our children to shed some light on this issue to try to stop the violence. why can’t the community come together and work as one to help our kids find better solutions to the problems we face. The world is more dangerous then ever today for our kids and if we don’t learn how to show them what it means to create peace and compassion and empathy then we have not done our jobs as parents.

  • Jackie

    I think that the mother was right to make her son fight back. The only thing I disagree with is that she should have put a foot in the boy’s a– when he was on top of her son. If they press charges against her she should press charges against the child that bullied her son. It’s easy to say be peaceful when it is not your child coming home everyday crying or an hour late because he/she is trying to dodge bullies. I would get that a– and deal with it in court. The schools do not give a damn and blow it off because they are afraid of the bully parents I suppose. Expel the bullies and put restraining orders on them so that they can not approach the child on or off school grounds.

  • Lonnie

    First every parent knows their own child. Everyone has a right to defend themselves, whether a small student or a 16 year old child. I have a 11 year old boy. . I have noticed that on afew occassions when he was bullied he fought back (even when the bully was three years older) and guess what, they leave him alone. He doesn’t instigate the fights, but some children have no moral compass, they have parents who think it is “cool” that their kid is the tough one. This mother should have went to the boys parents first, the police second, and then let the school know, if her boy does not want to be aggressive. Sign the kid up for some type of karate lessons, boxing, teach him self defense, to teach him some type of self confidence. Now the kids is going to be bullied more because of the video.

  • anony

    Sometimes, the way the world is now, you HAVE to fight back. You don’t stand over your kid and coach his fight, however.
    Notice how the bully’s mother said, my kid isn’t a bully?
    These kids get bullied by their parents or brothers or neighbors and they become bullies themselves.
    Notice how the Slowikowski family said that, even after what was done, the bullying still hasn’t stopped?
    You tell the school but you still have your kid take some kind of self-defense lessons. You teach your kid that if threatened, he will defend himself.
    Some bullies will never learn otherwise.

    • eddiespeak

      Its not about the Bullies learning, its about your child learning a code with which to live there life. If you make it solely about the bully then you’ve given power to the lowest common denominator. I for one do not want my child thinking that violence is the answer to anything. And just so we keep things accurate, i am the Slowikowski family and the bullying my son was enduring has most assuredly stopped. My son has commented on how he has noticed others who are being bullied. he is very aware of it and he hopes that it can be stopped for all the victims out there.

  • Kerrie Stark

    What are we to do as parents when the school takes the side of the bully. My daughter has spent the last two months sitting in the office because she was bullied by a student her mother and a teacher. My daughter is scared to dealth of the teacher because she was yelled at by her teacher for something she didn’t do. The mother works for the school and said she was going to come over and scream and yell at my daughter and nothing was done. My daughter suffers from school anxiety yet the teacher was allowed to yell and treaten my daughter. I have had to spend thousands on on therapy and my daughter has missed 2 months of class. She goes to school two and a half hours a day and sits in the office. The mother of this child works in the office. It is a joke. I am up against a wall and don’t know where to turn. When the school and the teachers don’t care…….where do you go? The teacher has done NOTHING to make the situation better, she has failed my daughter and it sickens me. The principal has done nothing. The teacher and the principle are retiring maybe they shoud have retired a long time ago. U-46 school district has let my daughter and our family down. Mental bullying is worse because no one sees it. What can I do?

    • Eddiespeak

      There is a place called Alexian brothers and they help families like yourself. Look it up on google and get the number. They have a division of the hospital that deals directly with kids with anxiety about school and bullies. they actually have a school there that your daughter can choose to go to if she desires. Good Luck!

      • Kerrie Stark

        Thank you Eddie! I have looked into it but I don’t feel I should have to put my daughter in a school refusal program. She is not refusing to go to school, she is just scared of the teacher. The teacher could have done something to make the situation better. What is wrong with our schools! Does anyone know of any support groups where parents can get together and vent? How can a school allow my daughter to sit in the office day after day with no education what so ever. The little girl that started this isn’t sitting in the office, she doesn’t cry herself to sleep. My daughter is 11yrs old….this is wrong. She has a 504….the school is at fault but there getting away with this. This is another case where the bully wins and the school is allowing it. I raised my daughter to be nice and kind to others and to NOT be a bully. Look where it got me. The mother in this story may have gone to far but when is enough….enough?

  • Anthony Ellis

    This is a violent world and until Jesus Christ entervenes, we are just going to have to find a way to handle the violence. Violence leads to violence and that is not the answer. This mother is wrong for the way she handled the situation. The schools have to play a bigger part in these matters and so do the parents.

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