Apparently, according to some people, your child acting in self defense by punching a bully would count as “vigilantism” and would therefore be bad. I saw the link at Murdoc’s, and I didn’t believe it until I actually read the entire thing.
The good stuff in the comments to the thread at Dean’s Place – where a commenter named Naftali (which humorously is a Hebrew name for “struggling” or “one who struggles”) is saying that it’s an act of vigilantism when your child defends themselves from a bully, or if a woman is groped on a train and she smacks the person doing the groping.
It’s too bad for Naftali that there is a pretty widely accepted definition of vigilantism, which doesn’t including acting in the preservation of one’s person. For example, let’s look at the situation of being groped on the train: in that moment when the offender makes contact, you have no idea what their intentions are. There is no way to differentiate the touch of someone who just wants to cop a feel from the touch of someone who wants to harm you – but don’t do anything about it, because if you fight back it’s vigilantism and that’s bad.
Don’t even get me started on the part about kids fighting back against bullies – the current school policies against self-defense (which often punish the victim for defending themselves equally if not more harshly than the aggressor) are a big reason why I’m seriously considering homeschooling my children.