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School Shootings and the Bully Economy

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On Sunday, Salon.com ran an interview with Jessie Klein (author of the The Bully Society) that focused on bullying and last week's Chardon, Ohio, school shooting. The interview is well worth a read when you have a spare 10 minutes.

Conducted by Thomas Rogers, Salon's deputy art editor, the interview deals with the Ohio shooting, historic trends in bullying in U.S. schools, and what Klein calls the "bully economy." The bully economy, as Rogers describes it, is the idea that economic conservatism is fostering the epidemic of bullying in the nation's schools.

For Klein, there is hope for the future in spite of the ever increasing number of school shootings. However, an improved future requires a fundamental shift within schools. "Right now kids are trained to be heartless and pursue success at any cost," Klein says in the interview. "If schools really worked to create community and to help children value themselves and one another, different kinds of people would come out of those schools." For Klein, the effects of this reorientation would eventually extend to leadership at the highest levels, altering the composition of the nation's leaders.

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