I got a call this weekend from the mother of this month's girl-bully victim. She read me a text message that one of my teens, Thing 1, had accidentally misdirected when she hit send, and which got around to her. It started "LMFAO," (Laugh My Fucking Ass Off) and went on to talk about how great it was that she had gotten this girl in trouble by reporting to me that the girl smoked pot (which I reported to the mom, because we're good friends). So my good friend is reading me a mean-girl message that my child has written about her child - someone we've known for years. What sadness all around. My friend is worried that her child might hurt herself and I'm sick at heart because my child piled on with the abusers rather than defending the abused.
Appropriate measures have been taken: cellphone is gone, daughter is grounded, computer is off-limits, apology has been made to the victim, and I have talked, and talked, and talked, about it all. But I've especially talked about how we are all only responsible for our own behavior, how there is no excuse - not rumors of something someone might have done or said about you, not nothin' - for wrong behavior, for inflicting pain on others. She seems to have heard me (she'd better, if she knows what's good for her).
As for me, I'm trying to educate myself about this problem better (so maybe I can educate the school). I'm reading a book called, "The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander," which approaches the issue both on the macro/societal level and on the micro/practical level. So we're all working on it here. And I'll leave you with this awful nugget I learned from the book. There is now a word, Bullycide, for suicide caused by bullying.