Bullying: The Present-Day Plague

(Photo Credit Via Peakpx)

(Photo Credit Via Peakpx)

Bullying is a worldwide epidemic that affects thousands of children, teens, and adults each year. Not only can this plague of sorts be found in schools, but also on the internet and social media as well. Millions of people from backgrounds of every kind are subjected to this catastrophe, and there is no simple way to stop it. People have begun seminars, created apps, put repercussions into play, but more cases arise each year. Perhaps the spread of the internet is to blame, or simply the way new generations are being raised. However no matter what is causing it, bullying can lead to life altering decisions nobody should be faced with.

The dictionary definition of bullying is “to seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable)”. According to stopbullying.gov, bullying must include an imbalance of power and be repetitive. If the harsh behavior meets these requirements the victim must then determine what type of bullying is taking place- verbal/written, social, or physical. According to stopbullying.gov, the majority of children that are bullied do not have suicidal thoughts or tendencies. The site also says if someone begins to have self destructive behavior, changes in eating/sleeping habits, a decline in grades, in-explainable injuries, or a sudden loss of friends, they may be a victim of bullying and recommends getting help right away; however asking the student(s) about their sudden shift before taking immediate action is always a good idea.

Sometimes students who are being bullied may not show it, they might even handle it themselves. For example, there was one student who previously went to Jefferson-Morgan that was getting talked about behind their back. When they found out about it they decided to confront their bullies, it turned out that talking to the bullies was enough to get them to stop. This is just one example but many situations can be handled by just talking to an adult or by confronting the bullies themselves. Of the students who were asked, 80% said that an (almost) immediate solution to bullying is to either stand up to the bully or to let an adult know. But what happens when a civil approach has no effect?

New York Times wrote about a student from Wildlife Conservation who had been bullied during his sixth grade year, however he was only one of many at this school. A boy who started his sixth grade year there had several items stolen from his locker. Between that and the rampant bullying the boy had faced, he decided it was enough. He went to a secluded stairwell, tied his sweater around his neck, with the other end around the banister, and was ready to end it when the vice principle and two students walked by. The boy went to the hospital and eventually transferred schools, but had the teachers been able to help him and other bullied students sooner it would not have been necessary. 

If teachers don’t report bullying they are witness to and leave students to their own devices they can feel powerless; this is especially true for students whose parents and family does not support them. According to americanspcc.org one in three students say that they are a victim of bullying and approximately 30% of students admit to being a bully. Though this sounds like a low percentage this means that if there were 300 students in a school, 100 of them would be victims and 90 of them would be bullies. This site also says that 57% of the time the bullying stops within ten seconds of someone intervening. So for every time one attempt to intervene fails another succeeds, determination and confidence is the key to stopping it.

Should a teacher or student of Jefferson-Morgan Middle/High school come to realize a student, or themselves, are being bullied appropriate actions will ensue. The Jefferson Morgan Middle/High School Handbook states that bullying can lead to anything from counseling within the school to law enforcement. The definition of bullying, in this case, is an intentional act or multiple intentional acts of hatred or malice directed towards someone that is severe, persistent, and/or pervasive. Any bullying within a school setting – in school, at a designated school bus stop, during a school sponsored/supervised/sanctioned activity, within school vehicles, on school grounds, etc. – no matter the form of bullying is prohibited. Students and teachers alike are encouraged to let the principal, guidance counselor, or an other school faculty member of any bullying that they know of or are experiencing. Bullying can be reported in a verbal, written, or typed. Any bullying that is reported will be investigated and dealt with as best seen fit.

Should someone become a victim of bullying they can approach the school’s principal, a trusted teacher, counselor, or school therapist (found next to the main office). If anxiety causes an issue, sending an email to Mr. Robinson or a trusted teacher is always an option. These school administrators can take care of the issue anonymously or can state the victim’s name, depending on what the one who reported the bullying decides. There are also several online sources where people can talk about what is happening to them, one of those is stompoutbullying.org. It is an online chat link that is open during certain hours of the day, if it is offline and the victim is in crisis then they should contact 1-800-273-8255.