An editor from the online site Slate has written a new book on the dangers of bullying among teens and has focused some of that work on the case of a bullied teenage girl here in Middletown.
Emily Bazelon's book "Sticks and Stones," takes an in-depth look at the problem of bullying in schools and in the realm of the digital world. She probes the case of Monique McClain, who was bullied so relentlessly at Woodrow Wilson Middle School that her mother eventually removed her from the school.
Read an excerpt of the book here.
In an interview with Terry Gross on NPR's program "Fresh Air" this week, Bazelon said she spent time at the school and with students there to figure out why Monique's situation got so out of hand. What she found, she said, was a culture among students at the school that promotes and rewards bullies.
Here is an excerpt from her interview with Gross:
BAZELON: ... And in one of the schools I spent a lot of time in, which was, like, kind of a working-class school, diverse, in Middletown, Connecticut, the kids really benefitted socially in school from being very combative. They had all these words for it: 'gunning' and 'flaming' and 'cracking on' other kids.
And then you could see when you saw what they were writing on Facebook that they were translating that same way of communicating online. So maybe that helps explain that finding you were talking about.
GROSS: You say they benefitted from that in school?
BAZELON: Yeah, it was a culture in which the way you rose socially was to be mean. That's why they had all these names for how they were acting.
In a video on her website, Bazelon discusses Monique's case in greater detail.