by: Skye Barber
Every year, about 3.2 billion students admit to being bullied and approximately 160,000 of those students skip school to avoid being bullied. In addition, approximately 4,500 of those students commit suicide to escape the bullying. That is a huge problem. Literally, it is KILLING our generation. However, the question is, what is being done to prevent it?
Empathy, the ability to understand another person’s feelings, should be taught in the home from an early age. A lack of empathy leads to the production of bullies. The best way to prevent bullying is by not allowing children to grow up to be bullies. But let’s say that measure has failed and children do not develop empathy and begin terrorizing other students when they reach school age. Now, what does the school do?
Maybe they give the bully a “stern lecture” or put up anti-bullying posters. But across the country schools have been criticized for not doing enough. Most schools try to teach students what to do by showing a CIPA training video each year to prevent bullying, but the problem is, that video itself will never be enough. Yes, the video gives okay tips on how to stop a bully and yes it is sad to hear about how students have been affected, but bullies do not care about that. They do not care about how others feel because if they did, they probably would not be bullying people in the first place.
An unnamed victim, a junior, was bullied her sophomore year. She said, “They would make cow noises as I walked by, call me names; I was devastated. One night, they called me and told me they hoped I’d slit my wrists. They told the guy I liked that I had an STD, and sometimes would push me to the floor or knock stuff out of my hands. I was in counseling for six months because they were making me so upset.”
“The thing is, our school had tons of anti-bullying assemblies but when I went to them for help, all they did was suspend one of the kids and nothing else. There were times where I felt like giving up. We looked at different schools for me to go to, but I felt like by moving schools, I was letting them win. Later on in the year, I got a No-Contact order, basically they could be within the same room as me but if they tried to bully me I could get them expelled immediately. Everyone thinks that after the bullying stops, you stop paying the consequences, but you don’t. It still hurts me and bugs me everyday,” said the victim.
It is because of bullies that this poor girl had to go through counseling and had an awful sophomore year that she did not deserve. The fact that they told her that they hoped she would “slit her wrists,” is baffling and is NEVER okay. She said, “ If I had any advice to give to people being bullied it would be to tell someone, whether it’s your parents or your administrator. Don’t give up. Keep fighting until it’s over.”
So what can you do? It turns out bullying usually stops within a few seconds if a bystander simply speaks up and says, “Knock it off.” That’s it. Bullying takes place in front of an audience 88% of the time, but only 20% of the time the audience intervenes. Lakers, we can do better than that. If the parents have failed, if the school has failed, we must not fail. All you have to do is say, “Knock it off,” or “That’s not okay.” Three simple words can change a life, can save a child.
Bottom line, do not stand down, stand against bullying. Tell an adult, be someone’s miracle. For more information on what a student can do to prevent bullying, go to: https://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/what-you-can-do/index.html