Bullying helps lead to suicide in '13 Reasons Why'
It was bound to happen somewhere—”bully insurance.” A new article out of Japan informs us that an insurance company is now offering parents insurance against bullying for about US$24 per month:
What a bargain! For far less than the price of counselling or therapy, an insurance policy will solve a child's bullying problem.
Japan has been fighting bullying in schools even longer and more intensively than the US, and it has becomes a more serious problem with the passage of time. This occurs in every nation that takes on the war against bullying. How exactly will this insurance policy succeed in protecting kids from bullying when the government's most intensive efforts have failed?
It won't. Because the policy's primary beneficiaries are not children. They are: (1) the insurance company and (2) lawyers.
Lawsuits are expensive and time consuming. And parents usually end up losing. Therefore, few parents are willing to shell out large sums of money in the hope of winning a bullying lawsuit, and lawyers are reluctant to take on a bullying case on contingency basis unless they are highly confident of winning, which they usually aren't.
So what is the solution? Bully insurance! It's brilliant. For a modest fee, Japanese parents can now pool their money and get the insurance company to pay lawyers in the event that they decide to sue their child's school and/or bullies. Because Japanese parents are terrified of the growing bullying problem in their country, it is a good bet that the insurance company will come out ahead, while providing lawyers with income they wouldn't be likely to get if parents had to foot the bill on their own.
And the defendants – schools and accused bullies – will need to hire their own lawyers once a lawsuit is initiated against them. Schools' insurance rates will also go up because of the escalation in bullying lawsuits. It's a win/win for the insurance and legal industries.
Anti-bullying advocates have been encouraging parents to sue schools when their children are bullied in the belief that this will force schools to begin taking bullying seriously and thereby put an end to it. But that is wishful thinking. If it worked this way, the bullying problem would be over by now because all schools have become abundantly aware that they could face bullying lawsuits.
In fact, the best way to ensure that a child is going to become absolutely miserable, perhaps even suicidal, is for their parents to initiate bullying lawsuits. The child and their parents become enemies of the administration, of teachers and counsellors that are accused of being negligent, and of any children that are accused of doing the bullying—and of their parents as well.
The school staff and the other parents are bound to defend themselves and to fight back by trying to prove that the alleged victim and their parents are to blame for the problem, so a vicious feud is set into motion. The bullied child is likely to end up leaving the school before long because they will not be able to tolerate the misery of being a pariah.
Lawsuits usually drag on for years, so all the involved parties, especially the bullied child and their parents, will suffer until the trial is over, and they will continue to suffer if they lose the case, which is the likely outcome.
Anyone who thinks that a bullying lawsuit is going to be helpful to their child should watch the series, 13 Reasons Why, a saga about the devastation unleashed upon a community when parents file a bullying lawsuit against their daughter's school subsequent to her suicide. And the parents in the show lose the lawsuit anyway, after having had their deceased daughter and themselves dragged publicly through the mud.
But insurance companies and lawyers need to make a living. This new insurance policy will undoubtedly result in more bullying lawsuits because they become more affordable. Lawyers will be guaranteed to earn their fees even if they lose the lawsuit—no need to rely on contingency.
And as a result of the escalation in lawsuits, more suffering will be unleashed on communities, as per 13 Reasons Why. More children will become depressed, anxious, angry, violent and suicidal, and their families will have their lives turned upside down for years.
If the bully insurance policy turns out to be profitable for the Japanese company, it may not be long before other countries' insurance companies follow suit, with the encouragement of law firms, anti-bullying advocates, and naive parents who think the insurance is a solution to their children's bullying problems.
Izzy Kalman is the author and creator of the website Bullies2Buddies.com and a critic of the anti-bully movement.