Being right is wrong


October 5, 2005, 09:17 AM
:D This was in today's Richmond (VA) Times-Disgrace which is why it is all the sweeter to have read.

Boy, 11, suspended for defending his friend
He says he pushed a bully at the bus stop

POINT OF VIEW Oct 5, 2005

Mark's column appears Sun. and Wed. Contact him at (804)649-6822 or mholmberg

Rhodes Hardy, 11, tosses a football with the good friend he defended in a scuffle at a Pocahontas Middle School bus stop. Hardy was voted the most mannerly student in his fifth-grade class last year.
Some of you older fellows will recall how Joe Hardy, the more impetuous of the Hardy Boys, would unman a foe or defend a chum with a well-delivered knuckle sandwich.

His older brother, Frank, could also let the air out of a bully or yegg with a cold cut to the chops.

But, alas, the famous sleuthing brothers of Bayport would likely have to undergo anger-management counseling in today's sissified climate of zero tolerance for any kind of hormonal expression.

Which brings us to a brand-new adventure, The Bus Stop Scuffle, and a modern-day Hardy boy who was suspended from school for defending his chum, just like Joe and Frank would've done.

Rhodes Hardy is 11, a straight-A student who never has had to be disciplined for any reason at school, according to his parents, Julie and Kerry Hardy.

This stalwart young towhead could've come straight from the pages of an original Hardy Boys mystery, complete with blue eyes, a dusting of freckles, a slightly gap-toothed smile (just like his dad's), a buzz cut and a kitten named Sam he rescued from beside a drainage pond a couple of weeks ago.

He'd like to become president of the U.S. one day (or, if that fails, he said, "the next Roger Clemens, I hope"). So he's been conducting himself accordingly.

Last year at Nuckols Farm Elementary School, he received a Presidential Academic Achievement Award and was voted "Best Manners" in his fifth-grade class.

He pitches and plays shortstop on his Little League team and believes the St. Louis Cardinals will go the distance this year.

On Thursday morning, he and some of his fellow Pocahontas Middle School students were tossing the pigskin while waiting for the school bus in their comfy Short Pump neighborhood.

Rhodes is a sizeable sixth-grader 5-foot-4 and 130 pounds. But his good friend, also a sixth-grader, is considerably smaller.

It's this friend who seems to draw the unfriendly attention of a much larger seventh-grader and his two companions, Rhodes said yesterday.

Thursday's bus-stop footballing triggered yet another such episode, and Rhodes said his chum wound up ducking punches from the seventh-graders.

Enough was enough.

"I ran at him and pushed him," Rhodes said of the ringleader, who fell partially to the ground.

A crossing guard at the bus stop noticed the activity and called out for the boys to stop, Rhodes reported.

He figured that was the end of it.

But it wasn't. Thursday was a half-day at school. Rhodes' dad picked him up so they could meet Julie Hardy for lunch.

So Rhodes' chum didn't have any back-up that afternoon.

The unfriendliness from the seventh-graders resumed, resulting in an alleged bus-stop beat-down that left Rhodes' friend with a black eye and scrapes.

That's all the evidence Kerry Hardy needs.

"The three boys decided to take it to [another] level," he said. "These are the kind of boys we're dealing with."

He's proud his son stuck up for his chum. "I wouldn't want him to do anything different."

Which is why Kerry Hardy could hardly believe it when he was called to the school Friday to discover his son was suspended for three days for assaulting another student.

"He went to the defense of a little guy who was a buddy of his," Kerry Hardy argued, to no avail. (He and his wife are appealing.)

The school's policy of punishing anyone participating in fighting or bullying -- regardless of circumstance -- flies in the face of what the Hardys have tried to teach their son.

"That's why it's so confusing for Rhodes," Julie Hardy said. "We've always taught him to be a good Samaritan . . . to help people . . . now he's being punished for it."

Mychael Dickerson, spokesman for Henrico County schools, confirmed that anyone involved in a fight, whether it's mutual shoving or an act of aggression followed by retaliation, is punished according to precise school guidelines.

No exceptions -- no fighting, bullying, hazing, cursing or threatening, Dickerson said.

School officials can't talk about this case, or say whether the other participants were punished.

But my research indicates this Hardy boy was as truthful as the originals.

And as true blue.

But we're teaching our children to be yellow, aren't we?

We're saying, in essence, let someone else deal with it.

Which is why we saw hoodlums unchallenged by able-bodied men in New Orleans.

We're seeing it more and more in our feminized society -- the weaker among us shoved aside; women treated ungallantly; decency mocked and honor trampled.

Because we're not raising enough Hardy Boys.

Contact Mark Holmberg at (804) 649-6822 or

I've sent Mr. Holmburg a link to this thread. I'm betting he will see more support than opposition.

stay safe.


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Greg L
October 5, 2005, 09:40 AM
My kids all love the Hardy Boys (at least the ones 30+ years old). I would hope/expect them to do the same thing in a similar situation with my full support.

The article was a bit confusing however, was Rhodes suspended for the shove at the bus stop or did he go after them on Friday after his friend was beat up after school? In the first case it would be asinine & in the second the suspension should be worn as a badge of honor.

Along the same vein, the NHL really needs to get rid of the instigator penalty. Sometimes you've just got to stick up for a teammate.

October 5, 2005, 09:42 AM
Schools have come down hard on the wrong behavior. The common thread in just about every single incidence of school violence is NOT guns, nonconformist behavior, or anything like that. It is bullying.

Yet guess which activity has not been focused upon?

For those of you thinking "these kids just need to toughen up", keep this in mind: kids who are bullies in grade school are punks in high school, and they are the criminals in adulthood. You nip it in the bud early, or you can expend a great deal of effort to contend with the consequences later on.

October 5, 2005, 09:46 AM
The policy of punishing kids who defend themselves as if they were agressors is one of the reasons my kids have been taught at home.

October 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
The article was a bit confusing however, was Rhodes suspended for the shove at the bus stop or did he go after them on Friday after his friend was beat up after school? In the first case it would be asinine & in the second the suspension should be worn as a badge of honor.

Rhodes was suspended for the shove at the bus stop before school started. Thast afternoon was a 1/2-day & Rhodes' dad picked him up to meet up with his mom for a family lunch, so Rhodes did not ride the bus home. Rhodes' friend got beat up that afternoon by the same kids who had bullied him that morning.

The problem is that young Rhodes now has an entry in his "PERMANENT RECORD that may be used against him all the way through his education. I'm trying to find out if the suspension also carries a referral for anger control counseling. If so, the mental health treatment record may follow him all the way through his life - medical records confidentiality notwithstanding. The good news, if you can call it that, is that there is nothing to indicate that Rhodes Hardy has been charged with A&B. Crimes of violence as a juvenile are not sealed issues if you enter the criminal justice system later in life (Thank the USA-PATRIOT Act for that!).

stay safe.


October 5, 2005, 10:06 AM
If so, the mental health treatment record may follow him all the way through his life - medical records confidentiality notwithstanding. The good news, if you can call it that, is that there is nothing to indicate that Rhodes Hardy has been charged with A&B.

I work in the mental health field. In my state, mental health records on clients that are closed are only need to be kept for seven years, then they are destroyed. The agency I work for takes privacy very seriously.

I have had referrals for situations like this. Unless the person is somehow predatory or is the bully, I will make sure that my reports indicate that they have nothing wrong with them and that they didn't need to be in counseling. I think court ordered counseling is mostly a waste of time. It is kind of like be ordered to think about "good thoughts." There is no way to force someone to change through counseling.

October 5, 2005, 10:09 AM
Remember Skidmark, we need to know which people are not thinking like the herd. We need to apply more "controls" to them.

October 5, 2005, 10:15 AM
Crimes of violence as a juvenile are not sealed issues if you enter the criminal justice system later in life (Thank the USA-PATRIOT Act for that!).

Could you give us a citation to that provision? I'd like to read it to see how far it goes.

October 5, 2005, 10:21 AM
IMHO the kid did the right's just a shame the faculty can't see it for what it was...a good kid doing the right thing, not trying to provoke violence

If and when my husband and I have kids...I'm homeschooling them..public schools are officially a joke and if it's even possible, they're getting worse :rolleyes:

October 5, 2005, 11:45 AM
Is the bus stop on school property? Can the school's zone of influence cover things that happen outside normal school hours and not on the school's physical location?

My opinion, if you're going to get suspended - at least do a deed worthy of the suspension. Shoving someone to the ground is fine, but if you're going to get suspended for fighting you might as well give the jerk an ass-whooping to remember. At least then your friend won't get his later on from the same guy.

When I was in high school I had a guy come up from behind and sock me right in the nose. Started bleeding all over the place and just turned around and walked the other way. As I was sitting in the nurse's office the principal came down and wanted to know why I was fighting. They actually tried to suspend me. Figured from then on if I was going to get in trouble I might as well actually do something.

October 5, 2005, 12:35 PM
I remember one bully I had in High School. I was a small fat freshman, and therefore an easy target of a seinor football player in my mechanical drawing class (open to all grades). After taking his crap for a couple weeks, I hit the SOB over the head with a drafting stool (come on - the guy had at least 50 pound of muscle on me and would've creamed me if I went at him fist to fist). The teacher who saw it happen actually said I did a good job and made fun of the senior for getting beat up by a freshman!

This occured at a CATHOLIC SCHOOL, in the mid 80's (class of 90), guess they were still trying to instill right and wrong, instead of making us robots.

October 5, 2005, 12:47 PM
My high school had a policy of immediate suspension for fighting (I graduated in 2000)
In my opinion, it was a message to students that fighting was unacceptable in schools, but it was a message that was hard to convey and RARELY worked as intended.
If it had been simple stand-up fights, I wouldn't have cared so much, but in this day and age of gangs and grudges they hold, if you didn't fight back, you could find yourself riding to the hospital with a knife wound instead of holding ice on a black eye.
I got in one and when my father came to pick me up, he told me to shape up...and then asked if I won. :D

The Freeholder
October 5, 2005, 12:57 PM
I know it's a school policy, and I do applaud anti-bullying measures. But I've told my kids that even if they get suspended from school, I will not punish them for defending themselves from anyone.

However, if they started it, they...will...PAY!

October 5, 2005, 01:08 PM
I was bullied without mercy in 7th grade. It only stopped when I suddenly realized I had grown a foot by 8th grade. I had a "Swedish temper" explosion and beat the bejesus out of the ringleader. I'm sure they would have expelled me for that, esp. since I recall making specific death threats during the fight. But the taunting magically stopped. I learned a valuable lesson about the need to defend yourself, because the school and by extension the state will never do it for you. There comes a time to raise the black flag and kick some.

The lesson kids seem to be learning these days is to rely on the school/state to defend them and control their lives. A very dangerous precedent. They come out of school used to being searched without warrants, used to passing through security checkpoints, used to a policy that rewards rats, used to highly organized after-school activities, used to being DRUGGED to calm them down, used to federalized manatory testing, and used to overwhelming punishment for anyone who does not fit in. And of course, used to "zero tolerance" for evening *THINKING* about firearms. It's a brave new world.

October 5, 2005, 01:21 PM
Cosmoline, its not a brave new world.

This was attempted 60ish years ago in Germany. Perhaps your familiar with that little bit of history.

I'm glad that my parents raised me with a little more common sense (although the Irish temper doesn't always help)

October 5, 2005, 01:29 PM
I am unaware of any USPA provisions that touch on school fighting or bullying...but our current administration's No Child Left Behind and Safe and Gun Free Schools Act (as amended by provisions of NCLB) both contain strict requirements re: any act of violence (like the school's stupid policy, it does not distinguish between acts of aggression and acts of defense) in order for each state to be eligible for federal funds.

To put it quick and dirty, schools are being put in a no-win position by these NCLB requirements: if they want the funds, they have to adopt "zero tolerance" policies. The kicker is, they then have to report EVERY instance of a violent act (again, no distinction between aggression and defense), and if they have too many of them over the years, they are deemed "unsafe" schools, and suffer financial consequences.

And so, the $$%* runs downhill, and the students get treated poorly.

Guess we deserve the government we elect, from the school board to the white house.

October 5, 2005, 01:31 PM
No exceptions -- no fighting, bullying, hazing, cursing or threatening,
Man, those kids can't do anything fun :)

October 5, 2005, 01:36 PM
Great article!!

October 5, 2005, 01:43 PM
Technosavant, you might have a point. Really, you could be spot-on.

But what you are suggesting is a test, perform a test on the entire population of kids, and see what they turn into.

Imo that's irresponsbile. You should select a small population of children and then test behaviour modification techniquies and technologies on them. If your results are appealing, then put forth the suggestion that all children born in the future should be modified in a similar method.

I'm not a convservative or a liberal, but I like aspects of both original ideologies. And when it comes to scientifically altering the phches of millions of children, I'm leaning conservative. If it ain't broke don't fix it, and if you think you can make it better you need lots and lots and lots and lots of proof.

October 5, 2005, 01:48 PM
I was bullied without mercy in 7th grade. It only stopped when I suddenly realized I had grown a foot by 8th grade. I had a "Swedish temper" explosion and beat the bejesus out of the ringleader. Me too, though somewhat different circumstances. Still in 7th grade, though towards the end of the year. A bully had been after me since the start of 6th grade. I finally had enough one day when he scattered my sheet music I was holding ahead of band practice. I just saw red, grabbed him by the throat, shoved him into the wall, and started trying to lift him up the wall. Mind you, he outweighed me by a good 100# at the time. He must have seen the fear of God in my eyes, or something, since he not only left me alone after that, he even fessed up that it was all his fault while we were in the principal's office.

Edit - Oh yeah, I was let off scot free. Not even a detention. The following year I was chasing down another bully. The vice-principal stopped him and me, and said that "I know sumpnz wouldn't be chasing you without a darn good reason. What were you doing to set him off?" Stragely, I didn't suffer too many problems with bullies after those incidents.

I still have the entire collection of Hardy Boys books (yes, every last one - at least that had been published by 1988 or so). If I ever have a son he'll get the whole thing. If not, then a grandson will get them. Speaking of which, I should find out if I'll be getting another girl or my first boy in January! Wife is due at the end of May!

October 5, 2005, 01:49 PM
Lucky, I wasn't proposing a test.

I was relating my own observations. Kids who grew up right next door to me were your typical bullies- preying on the weak, hotshot punks with no discipline in their lives. They became the usual punks in high school, having outgrown "normal" bullying, moving on to the usual minor misdemeanors. One of them eventually became a drug dealer. The other is currently in prison for manslaughter (he and some friends killed a man outside after a bar fight; this worthless punk kicked the guy in the head repeatedly after the fellow was already on the ground). Had a couple sets of parents decided to discipline their kids, one man would be alive and much other miscellaneous damage would never have been done to society.

If you look into the lives of many repeat criminals, you will probably find similar events. This isn't a natural law- some bullies will reform, others who were not bullies will become violent criminals anyway- but I do believe there is a strong correlation.

October 5, 2005, 02:52 PM
although the Irish temper doesn't always help)

:D I bet. Though the Irish temper is like a howitzer. It goes off whenever the right ammunition is there. The temper that runs in my lines is more like the Hawthorne Mine that started the battle of the Somme. It explodes only rarely and only after sufficient explosive material has been stored up, sometimes for no apparent reason and rarely with appropriate timing. The last time mine went off was five years ago when the neighbors downstairs were playing the music too loud and refused to shut it off. I don't really remember all that I yelled, but the music was silent after that and the kids in the basement were terrified of me. The time before that was in '92 when I yelled at a truck driver on the loading dock who was deliberately damaging VCRs by tossing them down from the stack because he didn't want to help us. I threw a major appliance at him, which kinda defeated the whole purpose of my anger to begin with :D

October 5, 2005, 03:09 PM
I still remember my dad's instructions back when I was in school...

"Son, don't ever start a fight. Try to talk it out, walk away from it if you can. Don't bow up, don't let your ego get in the way, and don't ever throw the first punch.

But by God, if someone else throws the first punch, you make sure you throw the last one."

The public education system today has forgotten the concept of 'standing up for yourself'. A couple of years ago one of my Godson's was having a problem at his Elementary School. A group of kids started hassling him, jumping on him 3 and 4 at a time, for the crime of 'liking a girl'. One day he'd had enough and swung back.

The school made this big hooplah about how the only reason he wasn't being expelled was because he'd never had a disciplinary problem before. They stated that the teacher had not seen him getting shoved, punched, or kicked on any of the previous occasions. They further stated that if he ever threw a punch or kick at any other student, for any reason, he'd be expelled.

About a week later his mother got a call from the school. The Vice Principal was both angry and struggling to prevent laughter at the same time. I drove the parents up to the school because we were in the middle of a break job on their van. We're greeted by the teacher who's laughing so hard she almost hurt herself.

It turns out that all the self defense moves that were being thrown into the 'rough housing' play with the boy had paid off.

One of the boys from the previous incident had tried to start a fight with him on the playground. Chris started to walk away. The boy screamed and tried to run at him, looking to shove him to the ground. The teacher said that Chris very quietly spun out of line, stuck out his right foot slightly, and caught the kid by his right arm. When the kid lost balance, Chris very gently took him to the ground, spun his leg over the kids head, put his butt directly on the kids nose, and farted.

The VP was sputtering throughout the entire meeting. By her own words, "I can't expel him. He did everything we told him to. He didn't punch him. He didn't kick him. He didn't shove him. He didn't do anything I can call 'fighting'. But we all know that he could've seriously hurt <insert name of other kid here>. What the hell have you been teaching him?!"

The boy got treated to ice cream on the way home.

October 5, 2005, 03:25 PM
The problem is that young Rhodes now has an entry in his "PERMANENT RECORD that may be used against him all the way through his education.

Read my sig (I'd love to send this kid a copy of Atlas Shrugged)

Young Master Hardy has learned a couple of very very important lessons never trust bureaucrats and government is more evil then good.

Lets hope he takes these to heart and doesn't become a drone.

The public education system today has forgotten the concept of 'standing up for yourself'.
No they haven't "forgotten" the concept, they are purposely trying to bury the concept.

Good serfs NEVER stand up for themselves.

The Freeholder
October 5, 2005, 03:43 PM
Wynterbourne, you and your Dad are men after my own heart.

So has the grandkid had any further problems? :D

October 5, 2005, 03:43 PM
Sounds like a great kid, I'd vote for him.

More and more I'm planning on having my kids homeschooled.

Whoa...the thought of me with kids is weird. >_>

October 5, 2005, 04:03 PM
My daughter's school had a similar rule but we taught her to do what she needed to do and we'd back her up. She's only 5'2" and skipped a grade to boot so she generally was one of the smaller ones in her classes. One day a boy tried to pants her and she decked him (and made him cry). The boy had the nerve to complain to a teacher who'd witnessed at least part of the event. The teacher was wise enough to laugh at the boy and pretend nothing had happened. :D

That daughter has been teaching 7th grade for 4 years and has gone back to school for her Phd and is now teaching teachers. (Unfortunately, one thing she had to do was explain all the normal things she is forced to leave home and that they now couldn't take to school with them such as pocket knives, pepper spray, etc. :(

October 5, 2005, 05:10 PM
Two of the "Great Lies" of our PC time- "Violence never solved anything" and "It takes two to start a fight".

October 5, 2005, 05:39 PM
I too have fended off my own share of bullies.

You learn a lot about fear and bravery and your own worth in the process.

Intentional or not, these zero justice policies have the effect of raising a generation of kids who know only fear, but not bravery or their own worth.

Not to mention justice.

Inherently unjust policies will not teach justice.

October 5, 2005, 05:53 PM
So has the grandkid had any further problems?

Not really. The little bugger's learned an important lesson, namely that if it doesn't look like violence, they can't really call it violence.

As an example, his brother was having a problem with one of the kids in his class. So Chris meets him as they get wait to get picked up and puts his backpack on the ground. Sure enough, the boy who was giving his brother problems came up and tried to pick a fight.

We open the van door and hear Chris say, "Come on, Mom's waiting." His brother takes off in a jog and Chris reaches for his backpack. When he went to spin it around and put it on he did so just a little too hard, a little too fast, and smacked the other kid right across the face.

The kid's nose is bloodied, and he's on the ground screaming and crying. Sure enough, Chris gets snatched up and yanked to the VP's office. Even the officer they have watching the kids when they leave told her that it looked like an accident.

Back in the van his mom looks at him and tells him, "You need to be a little more careful." He looked her dead in the eye and said, "I was careful."

Other than that, he's taken to resolving issues with pranks, when he can. You know, the simple application of a little humiliation from time to time.

The most recent thing that I know he's done was to superglue a fellow student to the cafeteria seat. Apparently this kid was teasing one of the girls in his class, a girl Chris likes. So Chris stole a tube of super glue out of his dad's crafts kit, cut the top off, and resealed the lid. He carried it with him for -3- days, until the kid got up during lunch to go to the restroom.

Chris got permission to dump his tray, and as he walked past the kids seat squeezed the tube of superglue. The kid never noticed as he sat down. The empty tube was dropped in the trash with the rest of his tray.

This would be a good time to mention that apparently the boys parents work a good 45 miles away, on the east side of Dallas. So he got to spend several hours, standing in his Underoo's, in the Principal's office. Apparently this 'tough' kid likes Spiderman.

If you haven't figured it out, Chris is one of those kids that you have to punish for some of the things he's done, but you're fighting laughter while you do it.

October 5, 2005, 09:43 PM
so true Geek so true

Standing Wolf
October 5, 2005, 11:38 PM
If I'd had children, they surely would not have gone to union schools.

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