Mitt Romney's "Hijinks" Seen As Bullying Today

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Loveland, Colo., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

 

When Mitt Romney was a good-looking teen in the buttoned-up `60s, corporal punishment was the norm and bullying had a different, more acceptable name: hijinks.

Yet in today's zero-tolerance world when it comes to, well, just about everything, things haven't changed all that much for young victims of bullies. Definitions have tightened, become law, but bullying is far from over.

"Bullying's never going to go away," said one crusader, ex-Marine James McGibney, a dad who founded a new social network, BullyVille.com, where victims can find help. "What makes it a million times worse is the advent of the Internet."

There was no Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or sexting when several fellow students at a posh Detroit-area prep school say 18-year-old Romney led a boy posse to hold down one among them perceived as different and snip off his bleached blond hair.

The victim, John Lauber, is dead now, but The Washington Post reported when it broke the story that he was "perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality" and screamed for help. Though he eventually left the school - kicked out for smoking a cigarette while Romney was not punished - indications are Lauber simply endured, as many of today's victims are forced to do despite the flood of anti-bullying campaigns in schools and out, advocates said.

Romney said he can't recall the incident but did participate in "hijinks" in his younger days. Later, he told Fox News that if he was involved, he's sorry. Lee Hirsch, director of the recent documentary "Bully" that spotlights several intense cases, said the Republican presidential candidate's response to the controversy falls short. "I would really invite Mitt Romney to see the movie. This weekend," he said. "This is an extraordinary opportunity for him to really lead and to help redefine the way, unfortunately, too many Americans still see bullying." Romney has said that his Mormon faith was deepened and his life's outlook altered for the better soon after the reported Lauber incident, when a van he was driving in France was in a crash that killed a passenger and nearly killed him as well.
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Source: Yellowbrix

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