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Bullied Boy's YouTube Plea

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His powerful video has been viewed more than 46,000 times.

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"I'm going to kill you tomorrow." Those were the words spoken to 13-year-old Patrick Kohlmann by a fellow classmate at Udall Road Middle School in West Islip, NY. For the past year Patrick had been kicked, taunted, and shoved repeatedly by the other boys. The day after the threat, Patrick's mom alerted school officials and cited 12 other reports of attack, including a school dance where Patrick was dragged across the floor, and an incident where a group of boys pushed him down a flight of stairs. That same afternoon, Patrick's head was struck with a rock, causing a concussion.

As a result of the school ignoring their pleas to help, Patrick's parents, Beth and Harry Kohlmann, filed a notice of claim against the West Islip school district, and Patrick created a video chronicling his story. After school officials wouldn't allow him to show it at a PTA meeting, claiming it was too "graphic," Patrick posted it on YouTube instead. Now, his powerful video has been viewed by more than 46,000 people to date. To see the video for yourself, click here.

Since posting the video on YouTube, Patrick says he's received overwhelming support from his classmates, and his mother is working with the state legislature about an anti-bullying legislation. And Patrick is giving out blue bracelets at school that say "STAND UP to bullying!"

Momlogic asked Ross Ellis, founder and chief executive officer of Love Our Children USA, the national nonprofit leader on child violence prevention, for tips on protecting your kids.

Kindness starts at home: "The reality is, any kid can become a bully or be victimized themselves, so it's crucial to take preventative measures now," says Ellis. Bullying is a learned behavior. So when kids see you criticize others ("Can you believe what Jill was wearing?"), they mimic your actions out in the world. What's more, insecurity usually triggers a bully's behavior. So raising confident and empathetic children will have a two-fold effect: Not only will your kids have positive self-esteem, but they'll be more likely to stand up for other kids who are being harassed.  

Develop a buddy system: "It's a fact that bullies rarely strike groups--they just don't have the guts," says Ellis. "If your child is being harassed, make sure he or she walks around school with a friend, or is within earshot of a teacher." If someone does start up with your kid, have them look the bully in the eye and say, "I don't like your teasing. Stop it right now." Then they should walk away and report the incident. If the bully pushes, teach your kid not to hit back. "Bullies want a reaction, so if the victim reciprocates, the problem will worsen," says Ross.  

Take action: "As tempting as it is to sit down with the troublemaker's parents, don't," says Ellis. "Most parents are defensive toward criticism of their child or are in denial there's even a problem." A better idea: Go to the school directly, and record every incident of harassment. Then ask your school to develop an anti-bullying program and form a watchdog group with other parents. "The sad truth is most prevention lies with parents, because most schools just don't take bullying seriously enough."  

Is your child being bullied? Click here for The Bullying Prevention School of Rights.


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38 comments so far | Post a comment now
Youngster June 18, 2008, 7:57 PM

I can’t stand bullies, but you know what? I can’t say I fully agree with the whole “don’t hit back” tactic. I looked like the typical “nerdy” kid that others assumed would be bullied, but I never was because those bullies just knew I’d hit back.

I’m not saying violence is a cure-all, but there’s nothing wrong with self defense AND most bullies are such cowards, they won’t bother with someone who’s not afraid to stand up to them.

Just a thought.

SugarPlumFairy June 18, 2008, 8:02 PM

I commend the kid for standing up for himself in a positive non-violent manner.

Anonymous June 18, 2008, 8:42 PM

My dad gave me the best advice of my life when he told me two things:
1. Everything you do is a choice.
2. Don’t start a fight, but if you have to, finish it.

Charles June 19, 2008, 2:33 AM

I fully support what this boy did, however, there are some people who won’t respect anything but violence. Self-defense is the only alternative to those people. No one should ever have to allow themselves to be beaten, and those who fight back stop bullies faster than any words ever will.

Anonymous June 19, 2008, 12:50 PM

I had to beat the crap out of some kids in school on two occasions while I was in grade school. One guy (I saw guy because he was in 8th grade and I was in 6th and he was very intimidating) bullied everyone. One day he swung by my table during lunch, reached over and took food off my plate. He didn’t know who I was, we never spoke. So I stood up, threw my whole lunch tray at him (mashed potatoes and all) and asked him, “here why don’t you have it all?” He huffed and puffed but I called his bluff and he went away.

Later that day, after school, he showed up with two of his friends. They were all bigger than me. They started threatening me, it was pretty bad but I stood my ground. I told them, “you guys might win this fight, but not before I send you to the hospital.” I swear, I expected to be pummeled into a wall at that point. They looked at eachother and said, “damn, this kid has some B*lls.” They respected me after that and I never had a problem at that school again.

I am a pacifist. I hate fighting. I’m pretty big and can be intimidating, but I prefer to be someone people feel safe with. But although I don’t like fighting I have accepted that sometimes in rare circumstances, there’s no other choice. Likewise, it’s important to know when “barking” will help too. Don’t be afraid to make a stink and get loud. It’s all just behavior. Just like monkeys. Who can screech louder or flare their chest the most. A lot of times, bullies won’t want to fight if they feel it’s a fair match.

I commend this kid and hope that other children out there will see that it’s not only okay to defend yourself, it can change things for the better.

Anonymous June 19, 2008, 9:16 PM

While I agree that bullying is a big problem, there are a fair amount of victims who are wiseasses and can’t backup their comments. When pushed, they pull the bully card and the real problem of them being a weasel is hidden and while the bullies deserve what they get, sometime the victims are not so innocent. It would be great if there was an easy way to tell the two apart, but it is not so. While I was bullied, I stood my ground, but friends of mine fit the other mold and when they would wiseoff, they would just blame the bully when all was done.

Anonymous November 19, 2009, 11:53 PM

hm I remember one tactic that actualy frightened a bully I got fed up one day after I was hit in the head with an ice ball but did I cry… yes did I run… no I actualy got angry and looked like I was mean and tough and guess what they ran like chickens from a wolf :D

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Anon March 26, 2010, 5:25 PM

Why the hell did this kid’s mom wait an entire YEAR before she took action? She’s a horrible parent!
Pat needs to forget the pretty bracelets, work on his social skills (maybe join the Boy Scouts), and take some hardcore combat martial arts classes (boxing, kick-boxing, jiu jitsu - none of that karate or tae kwon do crap).

If you’ve got a kid being picked on, do something! Get the Total Bully Solution

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