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Young Students Hiding Academic Talent To Avoid Bullying 684

jones_supa writes "The recent anti-bullying survey conducted by ABA brings up some interesting findings. According to it, more than 90% of the 1,000 11-16 year-olds surveyed said they had been bullied or seen someone bullied for being too intelligent or talented. Almost half of children and young people (49.5%) have played down a talent for fear of being bullied, rising to 53% among girls. One in 10 (12%) said they had played down their ability in science and almost one in five girls (18.8%) and more than one in 10 boys (11.4%) are deliberately underachieving in maths – to evade bullying. Worryingly, this means our children and young people are shying away from academic achievement for fear of victimization."
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Young Students Hiding Academic Talent To Avoid Bullying

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  • So Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fsck1nhippies ( 2642761 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:10PM (#42033175)

    That people feel they need to hide their abilities because they would do better than others.

  • This is news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 14erCleaner ( 745600 ) <> on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:10PM (#42033177) Homepage Journal
    It was like this when I was in school back in the 60's and 70's. I realize the study is from the UK, but anti-intellectualism is a long tradition here in the good ol' USA - witness the support for creationism and denial of climate change, etc, etc.
  • So? What's new? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:12PM (#42033219)
    How is this news? I would wager that humans have been acting like this for many thousands of years. The only people who should find this surprising are people who grew up somewhere away from all human contact,.
  • Re:This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qortra ( 591818 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:15PM (#42033257)

    witness the support for creationism and denial of climate change

    This doesn't have anything to do with the article. The article is about bullying, not your favorite religious/political issue.

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oxdeadface ( 1968100 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:21PM (#42033341)
    Here's a small collection of recent headlines:

    The Election is Over, and the Math Geeks Won.

    Obama's data geeks have made Karl Rove and Dick Morris obsolete

    The Real Election-Day Winner? Math Geeks.

    Math nerds score big wins with superstorm Sandy, Obama victory

    A library datebase, not just for science nerds

    This is only from recent events, but the same type of headlines are repeated all the time. Why the hell would any child want to be good at something that puts them into a category that is openly disdained in our culture?

  • Easy Fixed (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:30PM (#42033467)

    I suffered the same fate, right up until about grade 8. Some little asshole pushed me to the edge and i stuck a pencil through his hand. Never had a problem after that. I found the only way to deal with these fools was to return their crualty 7 fold. and i dont mean stamp your feet and cry like a baby. or play push me shove you. Stand up, look them in the eye, Smile, and stab the fucker with sumthing sharp. Now i know there will be so many out there (especially these days) who will sya turn the pther cheek, dont be violent etc. etc. but the truth is the world is a violent place, and no matter how fake you want to be, how thick your rose coloured glases are this will still be the case in another 100 years. So simple. Use your brains and augment your existing inteligence with a pari of testicles. You will find soon you wont be worth bothering anymore. I used to attend boarding school, I remember building a stun gun form a motor start cap, mains charged. that soon stoped them in thier tracks. There is only so many times you can run to a teacher and still stand tall as you own man. dont sucumb to the sheeple way of life, where its always someone elses responsibilty to protect you. The Police dont care, The teachers dont care. hell i dont care. Getting a little roughed up at school builds character. and teaches you to defend yourself in the real world.

  • by Tacticus.v1 ( 1102137 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:31PM (#42033471)

    and 90s and 00s but the response shouldn't be to toughen up. it should be to take the fucking bullies and remove them.

  • by readin ( 838620 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:31PM (#42033479)
    I think Chemisor (97276) said it best on Slashdot some months ago:

    To a nerd, acquiring social skills merely means learning that he can never mention anything he really cares about, and that he must learn to politely endure other people's boring rants without showing it. And then people wonder why he dislikes socializing.

    People don't get bullied for being good at soccer or for being good at art.

  • by saveferrousoxide ( 2566033 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:32PM (#42033485)
    Riiight....cuz no one was every bullied at a private school...
  • Re:So Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:33PM (#42033511)

    Some people don't mind a high bar and enjoy the competition. Some people may not like the competition but are civilized enough to realize that's life. Then there's people like you.

  • by snsh ( 968808 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:34PM (#42033517)

    Discussion of the bully issue usually avoids the fact that some kids are more prone to being bullied because they're sensitive, easily offended, or cannot handle self-deprecating humor.

    It all starts when you're five years old and a kid at school yells at you "I see your underpants. Ha ha!" If you react or protest or cry or run away, then the other kids will smell your fear and attack you like a pack of wolves. If you keep your cool or joke at it, then other kids show you respect. It all comes down to how you handle yourself in those moments.

    Anti-bullying crusaders dismiss anything that sounds like "blaming the victim". Instead they consider bullied kids as innocent bystanders, and focus only on the mean, misguided nature bullies, and how parents and teachers should to control them. But to fix the problem you really should look at each kid who gets bullied and show them what they're doing wrong.

  • Re:So Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pathogen David ( 2036758 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:34PM (#42033521) Homepage
    So since people can't accept that there are people smarter than them, the smart people should be punished? That is extremely stupid, the school system in America is already holding back kids who excel as it is.
  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:35PM (#42033529)

    There was a girl in my class in middle school who was first rate at figure skating, and never got picked on at all. There were kids who were good at art and other things ... no hassles. Precious athletes, for the most part, exempt from the social tax on excellence.

    There was a girl hideously deformed in the jaw and neck who showed up one day. No one said a word for two months, then the dam burst. I'd been in a children's hospital down the hall from a burn unit. I wasn't having any of it. Most of the adults who came to visit were so green around the gills to step onto that ward you almost needed a bucket in the hallway.

    Sam Harris says we grant religious beliefs too much automatic deference. I think this also extends to our little rotters. There's something terribly vicious in young children that we neither discuss nor study to the extent warranted by their appalling capacity for social cruelty.

    Not my little angel! Well, I suspect your little angel has become adept at emulating attitudes learned at home.

    The social violence of little angels should be news. Today and every day. Do people think it just goes away, or does it merely mutate into more mature forms? I'm not trying to stamp out scorn or derision. That's a fact of life, man. But I do think that the use of "gay" as a generic adjective of derision should get the little rotters shuffled onto a short bus for the social learning disabled.

    High time "gay" went the way of DUI, where nearly everyone looks at you funny, like you're charting a life course for a wall-mounted chrome toilet with no lid.

  • Re:So Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pelirojatica ( 533396 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:41PM (#42033611)

    Sad, true.

    As a shy person I might have gone this route, but no amount of bullying would have been worse than my parents' reactions to a low grade.

    As my father once said "what the hell is this B doing on your report card?!"

  • Re:This is news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AwesomeMcgee ( 2437070 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:44PM (#42033647)
    Haha way to exemplify the dude's point. "Creationism" and "Climate change" aren't religious or political issues. They're just anti-evidence ignorance. Politics and religion are about ideas and beliefs, creationism and climate change are about nonsense and anger. But avoiding intellectual achievement for a long enough time has ensured our culture is full of people like you who aren't capable of such critical thoughts.
  • Fuck teachers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:46PM (#42033687)
    I went through this shit... Teachers are awful. Half the time the teachers would join in. Fuck them. I remember in 7th grade my science teacher telling the class that one day we wouldn't have our pinky toe anymore because we don't need it anymore and evolution would take care of it. I raised my hand and pointed out that evolution didn't work that way. She got mad and told me I was wrong. The next day I brought in a book on evolution from the library to prove my point. I failed that class... and not because I failed any tests.

    If there's bullying going on in a classroom, it's the teachers fault. Period. I've always said it's a sad truth that your children are safer in a bar than they are at school. If the shit that went down in your local high-school happened anywhere else people would go to jail.
  • Studying from home (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:55PM (#42033823) Journal
    Love it. When I tell people that my kids will be home-schooled they usually say "but school is where you learn to socialize." No. School is where you learn submission to authority, to muscle and to bullies. Also, teachers try very hard to prevent socialization in the classroom. Socialization can happen in sport activities or extra-scholar activity, but learning does not require bullies and crowded classes.
  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:57PM (#42033845) Journal

    What's so surprising is that the current crop of intelligent people have actually succumbed to the bullies by the inferiority complex sufferers.

    I too, and many like me in my generation, and those before me, had gone through the gauntlet of taunts and shovings and beatings, just because we think differently.

    Those that bullied us bullied us because they felt inferior. They INSTINCTIVELY KNEW that they are inferior, but their ego just won't that happened.

    It's their internal struggles - ego versus instinct - that promoted some of them to act out in violence.

    As I said, I too got beaten up just because I ain't one of them, but so what?

    Why should I hide my own self just because someone else don't like who I am?

    Hey, I am born into this world not because I am destined to follow dumbasses. I am born into this world to do what I must do - that is, to be myself.

    Yes, I got beaten up, but that didn't affect my determination to be my own self, not even a bit.

    I hold my head high because I know that I am not guilty of anything. The guilty party is THEM, not me.

  • Re:This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ninetyninebottles ( 2174630 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @07:57PM (#42033851)

    This also doesn't have anything to do with the article. The article is about bullying, not the "assault" on fiscal conservatism.

    Just to be clear, the right wing in the US is not advocating for fiscal conservatism. Conservatism is keeping with historical norms. Rather, they are advocating for fiscal extremism, levels of taxation progressiveness lower than anything in the last 50 years. That's the opposite of conservative.

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @08:16PM (#42034071) Homepage Journal

    The only way to deal with them is bash them. Sorry of that's not PC New York Times and soccer mommy friendly enough for you but that, fellow geeks and nerds is what you have to do.

    Someone bullies you, break their arm. If they and their thug friends come back at you break their heads. If their mommies and daddies complain tell them everyone can live in a new house after their burns to the ground.

    They're not human, they're animals and this is what you do with animals. You beat them until they stop.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @08:19PM (#42034121)

    Do you think that students should be required to lift weights if they don't want to be bullied? Including girls?

    We have an underlying problem here: that academic excellence is despised, while sporting excellence is admired. Telling a talented student that they should dedicated themselves to sports instead does not fix that. It just ensures that we have another generation of children growing up to glorify sporting prowess, without the educational background to do something that really matters.

  • by stanlyb ( 1839382 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @08:20PM (#42034125)
    And once you are tagged as not a team player, guess what will happen with your career...
  • Re:This is news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by qortra ( 591818 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @08:36PM (#42034297)
    OK dude, let's break this down.

    - Creationism is, among other things, a religious issue in that religion is typically the determining factor in whether one believes it.
    - Both creationism and climate change are, among other things, political issues in that politicians are elected based on their views on these issues.
    - Even if I stipulate to your meaningless claim that "Creationism" and "Climate Change" are "just anti-evidence ignorance" [sic], it doesn't change my original point that these issues have nothing to do with the original article, which (one more time) is about bullying.

    Politics and religion are about ideas and beliefs, creationism and climate change are about nonsense and anger.

    This sentence is semantically null. Revise and resubmit.

    full of people like you who aren't capable of such critical thoughts

    This is an Ad Hominem fallacy.

  • Re:So Sad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @08:39PM (#42034317)

    You nailed it. The schools actually support this behaviour. Now you think I'm nuts, right?

    Consider if the child being bullied defends himself. Both children are suspended. This is
    real policy. My personal take is that school administrators are too lazy to sort things out,
    but that's what a zero-tolerance BS policy does.

  • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @08:53PM (#42034483) Homepage Journal
    Sports are an easy, reliable way to gain a group of people who - even if you're not really friends - will get your back. Alas, too often overlooked by the geek. You don't even have to play - while the "managers" as we called them weren't part of the core football team, they too would be protected, because these were the guys who came running with the cold water during time-outs. Being friends with the football team is useful.
  • by Whiteox ( 919863 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @08:58PM (#42034553) Journal

    I hold my head high because I know that I am not guilty of anything.

    Oh but you are! In a minor way. How many times did you not answer the Q because you wanted to give others a chance of answering or working it out?

    Rhetorically, stuff that appears comparitively simple - like an answer regarding the comprehension of the topic (no mentation required) should be available to all members of an attentive class. Why jump in? That denies others in the cohort.
    Then, when skills like interpretation, inference and other words beginning with 'i' are required to produce an answer, becomes a race! Who get's there first? That competitive aspect may appear to be fun in the short term but if there is only one or two answering all the time, the others who can work it out given time, become depressed, consequently losing their motivation resulting in underachievement.
    This happens in gifted classes as well.
    The ability to have pinpoint attention and all the other associative skills is surely the gift and shouldn't be conditional on the speed of response. Slow and careful is just as valuable as a rapid intuitive response.

    I do take your point but these dumbasses never realised that they could achieve given the right environment ~ and that doesn't really matter does it?

  • by SourceFrog ( 627014 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @09:03PM (#42034609)

    Hmm, let's apply this logic to a few other scenarios:

    - An abusive husband likes to call his wife a 'stupid f-cking c-nt' and beat her, and you know what she needs to do (according to snsh), she needs to "keep her cool or joke at it, then he'll show her respect -- it all comes down to how she handles herself in those moments", you know.

    - Here's another one: An abusive boss likes to push and spit on some of the employees and call them stupid useless idiots. What they need to do, is keep their cool or joke at it, then the boss will show them respect. It all comes down to how they handle themselves.

    Does this seem stupid yet? It's bad enough when the victim is an adult, now you think a five year old should put up with it? Really? These actions are criminal when adults do them.

  • Re:This is news? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AwesomeMcgee ( 2437070 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @09:18PM (#42034757)
    Creationism is the belief (regardless of source) that humans were created by a super-being 6000 years ago, despite insurmountable evidence humanity is far older.

    Human caused climate change disbelief is the thought that regardless of vast scientific agreement based on hard research and evidence, humans are not in fact causing any form of climate change even if it is occurring.

    Call both of those "religion and politics" if you will, but that's just displaying your lack of analytic skills which in a normal studious person can quickly identify these are both just beliefs that evidence should be thrown out and ignored. Throwing out evidence and ignoring objective analysis is the greatest practice of the intellectual underachiever, which is what this article is claiming our country's culture has pressured people towards.
  • Re:This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qortra ( 591818 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @09:49PM (#42035119)
    Something being obviously stupid/wrong/anti-intellectual is not mutually exclusive with it being a political or religious issue (as it seems you are claiming). For instance, if 50% of people in a country strongly believe that women should be legally required to wear a Burka in public and 50% believe that they should be allowed to wear whatever they want, it is a political issue in that country. This is regardless of whether this is any insurmountable evidence that such a law would be harmful or unjust.

    but that's just displaying your lack of analytic skills which in a normal studious person can quickly identify

    Again, you regress to Ad Hominem attacks. Why are you so quick to point out how little estimation you have for other peoples' "analytical skills"?

  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:01PM (#42035285) Homepage Journal

    I will say this, I definitely received less bullying at a private school than I believe I would've at the local public school. I never felt like I should underperform in order to fit in better or to avoid bullying.

    Then you were lucky. I was terrorized at private school. Once I switched to public school, the bullying didn't actually stop, but it got down to a level I could deal with and eventually learn to defend myself against. As someone further up the thread noted, it's a whole lot harder to get the administration to deal with problem students when their parents are writing the checks. There's a class issue at work here too--my parents were sending me to schools they really couldn't afford in the (mistaken) belief that I'd get a better education that way, and being a middle-class nerd surrounded by rich juvenile delinquents is really a special kind of hell.

  • Parents (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gd2shoe ( 747932 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:07PM (#42035367) Journal

    Where the f' are the parents in all this?

    That is a fantastic question. But... Whose parents? Note that the victims parents can't teach the bully that he's misbehaving.

    When I was in junior high, I was bullied frequently and mercilessly. My parents did get involved. They were told by the school councilor that I just had a self-esteem problem (I didn't) which somehow made myself a target (blame the victim, anyone?). They were told by teachers that there was nothing they could do (not true). They were told by administrators that everything was fine. They weren't permitted to contact the other students' parents. I blame the school system (primarily) for permitting bullying.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:28PM (#42035591) Journal

    There are a LOT of smart people out there that nobody hates. Perhaps it says more about you and your ego, than about "society" that they don't like you.

    I had a chat after a Cub Scout outing once, with one kid who was crying that "all the other kids hate me because I'm so much smarter than them".

    Obviously, I couldn't say it to the kid, who just needed a sympathetic shoulder at the moment, but the fact is: any kid whose parents have taught him that he's such a special snowflake that he could even HAVE such an egotistical, obnoxious thought, is in for trouble.

    And it's NOT because "he's so much smarter than everyone else". Not by a long shot.

  • by Paul Fernhout ( 109597 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @10:37PM (#42035683) Homepage

    Alternatives: []

    From John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education: []
    Our problem in understanding forced schooling stems from an inconvenient fact: that the wrong it does from a human perspective is right from a systems perspective. You can see this in the case of six-year-old Bianca, who came to my attention because an assistant principal screamed at her in front of an assembly, "BIANCA, YOU ANIMAL, SHUT UP!" Like the wail of a banshee, this sang the school doom of Bianca. Even though her body continued to shuffle around, the voodoo had poisoned her.

    Do I make too much of this simple act of putting a little girl in her place? It must happen thousands of times every day in schools all over. I've seen it many times, and if I were painfully honest I'd admit to doing it many times. Schools are supposed to teach kids their place. That's why we have age-graded classes. In any case, it wasn't your own little Janey or mine.

    Most of us tacitly accept the pragmatic terms of public school which allow every kind of psychic violence to be inflicted on Bianca in order to fulfill the prime directive of the system: putting children in their place. It's called "social efficiency." But I get this precognition, this flash-forward to a moment far in the future when your little girl Jane, having left her comfortable home, wakes up to a world where Bianca is her enraged meter maid, or the passport clerk Jane counts on for her emergency ticket out of the country, or the strange lady who lives next door.

    I picture this animal Bianca grown large and mean, the same Bianca who didn't go to school for a month after her little friends took to whispering, "Bianca is an animal, Bianca is an animal," while Bianca, only seconds earlier a human being like themselves, sat choking back tears, struggling her way through a reading selection by guessing what the words meant.

    In my dream I see Bianca as a fiend manufactured by schooling who now regards Janey as a vehicle for vengeance. In a transport of passion she:

    1. Gives Jane's car a ticket before the meter runs out.
    2. Throws away Jane's passport application after Jane leaves the office.
    3. Plays heavy metal music through the thin partition which separates Bianca's apartment from Jane's while Jane pounds frantically on the wall for relief.
    4. All the above.

    You aren't compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child to strangers who process children for a livelihood, even though one in every nine schoolchildren is terrified of physical harm happening to them in school, terrified with good cause; about thirty-three are murdered there every year. From 1992 through 1999, 262 children were murdered in school in the United States. Your great-great-grandmother didn't have to surrender her children. What happened?

    If I demanded you give up your television to an anonymous, itinerant repairman who needed work you'd think I was crazy; if I came with a policeman who forced you to pay that repairman even after he broke your set, you would be outraged. Why are you so docile when you give up your child to a government agent called a schoolteacher?

    I want to open up concealed aspects of modern schooling such as the deterioration it forces in the morality of parenting. You have no say at all in choosing your teachers. You know nothing about their backgrounds or families. And the state knows little more than you do. This is as radical a piece of social engineering as the human imagination can conceive. What does it mean?

    One thing you do know is how unlikely it will be for any teacher to understand the personality of your particular child or anything significant about yo

  • Re:So Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @11:04PM (#42035945)
    The dumb are held to a high standard. If you are a bad enough student, maybe one day, you too could grow up to be the next GW Bush. Clinton and Gore were both attacked by the conservative media as too undumbishness. But James Danforth Quayle rose to be Vice President and Bush to President. If you are smart, you make others feel as dumb as they are, so they hurt you for it. It's not about fear of success (though there has been some of that hinted in the media), but the fear of getting the shit kicked out of you that forces conformity.
  • by AF_Cheddar_Head ( 1186601 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @11:37PM (#42036287)

    Why is showing your intelligence considered flaunting but excelling on the athletic field considered the, thing to do and celebrated?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @12:34AM (#42036753)
    Depends entirely upon the teams culture. Some include everyone, some will have internal bullying.
  • by daemonenwind ( 178848 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @01:41AM (#42037177)

    I wish it had been Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold. Littleton, CO would be better for it.

    In school, I was bullied too. Here's the kicker - my dad was a cop, gunsmith, and holder of a Federal Firearms License. Yes, that means he sold guns.

    My home had guns stacked like cordwood. I'm not exaggerating. I had my first rifle at age 11 and became very proficient - most of the guys on the force considered my dad the marksman of the group. Probably came from his stint in the military, but whatever. I think you get the picture. I knew my way around most guns, could hit what I wanted to, and had easy access to weapons of all sorts.

    Here's the thing. I never took the bully's shit. They called me a name, I embarrassed them. They put a tack on my chair, I stabbed them in the kneecap with my automatic pencil. By the time I got to the back half of high school, I had no problems with people whatsoever.

    You see, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold just sat there and took it. They tried to find an outlet for their rage - video games, violent movies, blowing stuff up in the woods - but in the end, it was never enough. Because they never learned to send the evil back where it came from.

    Hate is like acid. Try to contain it, and you become the only thing that can hold it - glass. And when you do shatter, it gets really damn messy.

    Eric and Dylan shattered. I never did, because I realized a long time earlier that holding it in was the path to self-destruction.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982