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“Bi*ch, Spaz, Nerd, Dork” these are words of hate that victimized kids hear almost every day. Bullying within today’s society has become a bigger problem than ever. The issue peaks in middle school, continues throughout highschool, and sometimes carries out into adulthood. Both the bully and victim can suffer from lasting psychological effects. Often times people use phrases such as, “Keep a stiff upper lip” and “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” to counter the side effects but recently these have proven to be outdated and ineffective. Bullying should never be taken lightly. It needs to be addressed and stopped immediately before the situation worsens. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite” (Nelson Mandela).
Those who are victimized through bullying are not to blame. Bullies act upon prejudice, hate, and immaturity. Those who immerse themselves in bullying activities want the sense of power and control. They fight for nothing to bring their victim down to feel superior. A well known psychologist stated, “Bullying is an attempt to instill fear and self-loathing. Being the repetitive target of bullying damages your ability to view yourself as a desirable, capable and effective individual” (Dombeck, “The Long Term Effects of Bullying). After an accumulated amount of torment the victim is liable to develop mental health problems such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. There are also long lasting side effects such as fear, lack of self confidence, loss of pride and dignity, and irrational thinking. A common reason why bullying isn’t stopped is because students are reluctant to notify adults for help. Students are afraid of being further shamed into dealing with their struggles on their own rather than receiving help. Another reason why bullying isn’t often stopped is because the actual witnesses of the victim fail to speak up. This also has an effect on the victim, it makes them believe they are completely alone and no one is on their side which is not true at all. It was discovered that 60 percent of surveyed students had witnessed someone being bullied and did not interfere or get help. So much harm could be avoided if people would speak up and act against bullying.
Warren High School has a zero tolerance bullying program. If an incident is reported to an official, the problem is addressed and taken care of immediately. The Downey Unified School District strictly states, “Any student who engages acts of discrimination, harassment, violence, intimidation, or bullying related to a school activity or school attendance occurring within a school of the school district may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion”(Bullying Prevention). The system is anything but perfect, however it’s a step in the right direction. While yes a solid stance against bullying is an absolute must, we must not demonize the bully. Expelling a student for bullying will only send the bully to a different school. The bully will only grow into a criminal if he is continued to be treated like one. A bully is most commonly created because they come from a troubled household. They come from home where the parents choose to beat the lessons into their children. Since they are helpless to combat their parents they just take any and all physical and psychological abuse. The child then goes to school and finds a kid weaker than he is so that he can release his anger and frustration. While yes we must confront bullying head on and without hesitation. However in combating bullying we must not demonize bullies, because then the true root of the problem will never be solved.
A largely debated topic is which sex is bullied more than the other. In the article “Brutal Boys vs Mean Girls” Michelle Covington provides reports that approximately 25% of boys report being regularly bullied, while only 20% of girls are regularly bullied. Even with these statistics there is only a 5% gap between the two, the difference could only be a handful of kids. Girls interact and bond differently than boys and the same goes for the way they bully. That is why it is hard for adults to recognize what is really going on until it is too late, especially when it is verbal abuse. The biggest misconception that is brought upon bullying is it is viewed as normal social behavior or just a part of growing up. Girls will frequently use ostracism. They will do things that make the victim feel alienated or purposely left out of the group. An example of exclusion would be whispering to each other in front of the victim to intentionally make them feel left out. Girls it is also common for girls to bully in groups. Girls by nature are very socially inclined and require be surrounded by a group of people to feel socially valid. A group of bullying girls can unfortunately have a much larger effect because the bullying is linked between several people which makes the victim feel even weaker and tears them down faster. Since girls are not usually violent when they bully, it’s harder for adults to recognize female bullying. Once adults are educated on recognizing this under the table type of bullying, then the problem can be handled appropriately. Boys are just as abusive as girls can be when it comes to bullying. Boys tend to be
Being the victim of a bully is a frightening experience. When a person is up against a wall, a natural response is to get out of the situation by fighting. While bullying is a problem that must be confronted, violence is never the answer. “Returning violence with violence only multiplies violence adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). There are many non-violent and effective methods for dealing with a bully. The first method would be to ignore the offender. If you show the antagonist that their taunting is bothering you, then you are feeding the fire and they will not stop. If you can show restraint and not let the bully know their actions are bothering you then they will lose interest in bullying you. Your bullying problem will be solved, however the bully will just move on to his next victim. The only way to permanently stop a bully is to alert a teacher or parent. It is important to know that teachers on campus are there to help and protect their students. Alerting a teacher or parent is not “tattling” or “being a snitch”, it’s the only way to ensure your safety. Bullying is a matter that is to be taken very seriously. Lastly you can confront the bully.For some people this strategy works for them. When confronting a bully you are demonstrating to them you are capable.
Bullying truly is a destructive behavior for both sides of the party. Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades. (The American Association of Suicidology, AAS) It is unrealistic to think that bullying can become 100% eradicated. However, if the community can come together and focuses they can make sure bullying is much more rare than it already is. The community consists of student alerting teachers of bullying, teachers confronting bullies, and parents teaching their kids that bullying is wrong and raising them in a safe and loving environment. If each member of the community can do their part, maybe one day we can drop the suicide rate down to 0%.
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