Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Can't take the heat? Then stay out of the kitchen!

There are times when I actually have time on my hands to surf around on the internet and just read blogs or message boards. One place I have gone before is the Perez Hilton blog. This is one that shows pictures of celebrities at their worst and pokes fun at their misfortunes in life. I may see a photo of one supposedly leaving rehab and on the picture, white dots are drawn dribbling down the nose of the celebrity at hand indicating cocaine use. Or, I may see another picture where he has written “no talent” on the picture. Plus, I wonder how much of what he is reporting is truth or word on the street so to speak.

I do not know Perez Hilton as a person and have never met him. I am not trying to judge him or slander him. However, I do have an opinion of his blog. I think that he is verbally abusive to celebrities and believe maybe 1/8 of what he reports. Like any other tabloid out there, I feel he is just enjoying his fame by kicking others when they are down. Folks, once again, this is a form of bullying and Peer Abuse. Slander, the pictures, making fun of someone else and their problems. Where is the compassion? The support?

Recently, two ladies have created a blog entitled Perez Revenge where they are standing up to Perez and reporting facts about celebrities and not kicking them when they are down so to speak. As a result, Perez has gone the legal route and seeking damages in this. Why is it okay for Perez to slander celebrities but when the shoe is on the other foot, he seeks legal help? True, his home address did not need to be placed on the internet, however, that is not the issue at hand. The issue at hand is that these ladies are standing up to what I see is a bully and when someone does the same thing that he has done to many others, he reacts in typical abusive and bullying behavior; he reacts and threatens. A bully does not like for people to give them a dose of their own medicine. They get angry and react every time.

I wish these ladies well and commend them for their efforts. It is hard to bring down a bully and in my opinion, Perez comes across as a bully. If he cannot take the heat, he needs to stay out of the kitchen. What comes around goes around and Perez deserves what he is getting as far as I am concerned. Now he sees how it feels to be lied about, slandered and made fun of when the chips are down and he does not like it at all. Hopefully, he will change and for the better.

Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Its Not All About Them!

I watched another Lifetime Movie this weekend. This one was entitled True Confessions Of A Hollywood Starlet which starred young pop star Joanna “JoJo” Levesque and television veteran and Jenny Craig Spokeswoman Valerie Bertinelli. The premise was about a young A-list teen star Morgan Carter (Levesque) who is an alcoholic and after a stint in rehab, was sent to live with her mothers long time friend “Aunt” Trudy (Bertinelli) in Fort Wayne, Indiana as part of her recovery process. She took on another identity as “Claudia Miller” in Indiana and attended a regular high school and required Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. At first, as with anyone in a new environment, adjustment was not easy but eventually, she came to appreciate this new life away from the spotlight and those who were there for her.

As this movie was a good one, those mean girls still had to make their presence known. In the lunchroom, the Queen Bee had to make some comment about Claudia’s clothes. Claudia, even though not the most socially up to date teen was able to stand up to her and put her in her place. Then, we see the two together in the gymnasium for a game of volleyball. Again, this wrenching queen had to slam the volleyball into Claudia’s stomach and again, after Claudia verbally went back to her and allowing her language to go a little far, was sent to the principals office. Needless to say, the queen was not sent to the office. This bothered me as both were in the wrong. I know it’s a small portion of the movie but why wasn’t Queen Bee sent for slamming the volleyball into Claudia’s stomach? Because like any other bully, she was able to fool everyone into believing her slamming the volleyball into her stomach was an “accident”. She should have been right behind Claudia in going to the principals office. This is far too common out there. The bully never seems to be punished while the other party always seems to suffer the consequences. This was not an outright case of bullying because Claudia did verbally come back at her. However, the queen not being punished is the point I am trying to make. She was just as much at fault as Claudia was. Folks, get both sides to a story before handing out punishment. Usually, it’s the bully that starts these tiffs in the first place.

It was nice that we only had a couple of scenes with this queen bee and her honeybees. They did not dominate the movie. We did not see them terrorize everyone around them. In other words, it was not all about them. Many times, Queen Bees have to have the center stage but in this movie, it was good to see the focus not on these mean girls but what became a nice teen and her caring Aunt instead. The kids in this movie were good kids. Of course, another antagonist emerged later in the movie but this was because of a feud over a boy and not everyone around them got involved. She did not spread vicious lies or make Claudia’s life unbearable. If the boy had not been in the picture, I am sure the girls would have gotten along well. Its all about noticing a real bully and what they are about.

This is one movie I recommend. I only wish this Queen Bee had been sent to the principal along with Claudia as she was the one who instigated the problem in the first place. If anyone sees this occurring, please get both sides of a story and see that both parties are punished fairly.

Resource cited:
Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit .

Saturday, August 09, 2008

As I got up this morning and went online to check the latest news, one of the first things I found was news about Megan Meier. For those who may not remember, Megan was the 13 year old girl in Missouri who committed bullycide (suicide by bullying) after she was dumped by a supposed 16 year old boy named “Josh” on the popular site My Space. It turned out that this 16 year old boy was really a woman pushing 50 named Lori Drew who was a neighbor and had a 13 year old daughter as well. Ms. Drew was posing as a 16 year old boy as she was trying to make sure that Megan was not trying to slander her daughter to others online. After the story broke last November, a blog surfaced online entitled Megan Had It Coming that was fueled with more abuse and slander towards Megan, her family and the situation itself. The blogger stated that he was Lori Drew. This blog fooled many and even made the news. This morning, I learn the real identity of the blogger is a 32 year old Washington State man named Jason Fortuny. Fortuny does not deny his actions and hides behind the freedom of speech in this. Also, he does not care what anyone thinks about him or his actions. His actions really hurt a lot of people but again, he does not care.

As traumatic as this story was for many, what made this man go a step further? What made Lori Drew devise the plan she did to pretend to be a 16 year old boy? One thing I do see in this and that is again, we are ignoring the root of the problem. The fact that we have consenting adults behaving like this is troubling. Is this a case of people having too much time on their hands or the possibility of adults with personality disorders? Both behaved in a pathological manner. Both should have had a child’s best interest at heart. Yet both crossed a line. If we have adults behaving like this, why are we so shocked when children are behaving as they do?

Its time to take this online impersonation problem seriously. You visit social sites like My Space and Facebook and see young favorites like Zac Efron, Chad Michael Murray, Lindsey Lohan and others who have a page on there and guess what? They talk to their fans! Or, people are on there viciously attacking one another and doing so under false identity. After fooling people with these actions and much abuse, it comes out that the person behind the page was not really Zac, Chad or Lindsey but a cyber bully wanting to make problems for others just for fun. Or, kids from the same school spreading lies and making vicious pages about their peers. Some even go as far as being adult predators. Now we have a suburban mom and a bored man pulling the same games. What is the result of all of this? A lot of pain, hurt and psychological trauma ensue for the victims. A young girl kills herself. Then we have those who impersonate, lie and do all of this for their own entertainment. Something is definitely wrong when the welfare of others is at stake and at the hands of people who behave and enable this problem. Or, like Mr. Fortuny, they just don’t care.

Lori Drew is dealing with legal ramifications in Los Angeles and is trying to keep a not guilty plea. What will happen to Mr. Fortuny? Can he hide behind the freedom of speech forever? Why do they feel they have done no wrong? One thing I can say is that this is how a bully operates. Until these sites take the bullying and peer abuse problem seriously, these problems will continue to exist. The innocent will fall and the guilty will rise. At the end of the day, that mind set is pathetic.

Source Cited:

Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit .

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

McKinney North High School and The Texas Cheerleading Scandal

As I was sitting down and watching television on Saturday evening, I happened to stumble upon a movie on Lifetime entitled The Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleading Scandal. The movie was based upon a true story that occurred at McKinney North High School in Mckinney, Texas where five cheerleaders (dubbed themselves the Fab Five) were able to get away with all sorts of bullying of their teachers and fellow students. The Principal, Linda Theret, was the mother of one of the girls on the squad. This problem kept occurring until a new Cheerleading Coach, Michaela Ward, came and stood up to the school and the school district. She tried to discipline these girls but to no avail. These girls not only terrorized the school, they also committed such acts as making a sexually explicit video and posted it on My Space while in uniform in a condom store and holding bottles of alcohol. When the story broke and made national news, Ms. Ward was told she was “emotional” and “in need of meds” and was fired from her job as a result of her trying to do the right thing and discipline these girls. However, the investigators also faulted Ms. Theret and other school officials for not enforcing discipline and allowing these girls to get away with so much. The Principal was eventually dismissed from her job and the girls were dismissed from the school. I have no idea what ever happened to these girls but being removed from school was a step in the right direction.

This is a serious problem in our nation. Daily I hear from angry parents who have children being bullied in school by their peers and nothing is ever done to remedy the problem. Many cases are swept under the rug and the bully has carte blanche on everyone and everything around them without consequences. It may not always be a Mckinney North High School situation but the problem is all in the same. Peer Abuse, bullying, misuse of power and its all there. They are quite the little charmers too. They know who to be sweet to and who to walk all over. They fool authority or walk all over them depending on how they can best manipulate the situation. Overall, they make life a living hell for everyone around them.

It is high time these schools get educated. Stop burring their heads in the sand and allow this problem to fester. Ms. Ward laid blame on the adults in the situation but I also blame the students. These girls were seniors in high school and a few short months heading into the real world. They were most certainly old enough to know right from wrong. However, as someone said “kids will be kids”. No, kids need discipline and need to abide by the rules and learn that consequences exist for a reason. That excuse is played out far too much if you ask me. Schools need to enforce these anti-bullying policies and stop the misuse of power not only in adults but in students as well. They need to take things more seriously and have programs on peer abuse and bullying on a regular basis. Incorporate bullying into the curriculum. I know a science teacher who finds a way to incorporate this into his daily lessons. Folks, it can be done.

Hopefully, someone out there learned something from this movie. Again, I have no idea what ever happened to all of the players involved but I do hope McKinney North cleared up its policies and enforced discipline on all without the favoritism and exceptions in anyone.


Elizabeth Bennett is the Author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit