By Gary Domingo-Oka
Waianae High School-ENG 100
Instructor Danny Wyatt
Leeward Community College-Wai’anae
[Note from the instructor: The assignment was for students to write a research paper using their three previous essays as a basis. The topic is “Bullying,” and it started with a video on bullying I showed to the class. They then wrote a cause/effect essay concentrating on the effects of bullying. The second essay was to examine why people (kids) bully one another — looking at the process that kids go through when they become bullies. The final paper was a persuasive essay on what should be done to address this issue: put all three together, cite them, develop the cited idea, and “voila” they have a research paper (more or less). -Danny Wyatt]
Feared by both students and adults, bullying is a problem that is gaining a lot of attention around the nation. From kids messing with each other on the playground to adults hassling each other at work, this issue is escalating to a whole new level. The old school bullying such as simple name calling has transformed into a way that people can get bullied no matter where they are and in any way that can even come to mind. Bullying is such a problem, but0 people still underestimate it.
People these days can relate to the topic because of the way it’s spreading like a disease. A website dedicated to the topic of bullying, Bullying Statistics, states that one in four kids in the United States are bullied on a regular basis. It may seem like a small number but, viewing the bigger picture, that means millions of kids are getting bullied. This ratio almost guarantees that there will always be at least one kids being bullied in the U.S.
Even though bullying is such a big deal, some people have brought the subject up as an issue that people are spending too much time and money on but, people supporting anti-bullying see it as the exact opposite. John Rosemond at a regional news station Charlotte Observer talks about how people overreact about bullying. He says that parents are calling what he considers as pranks to be bullying. It’s this kind of opposite view that causes the conflict to continue. This argument has been addressed all over America and people still see bullying as a small issue. It’s underestimating this problem that leads to terror among kids and teens because bullying isn’t dealt with as seriously as it should be. Bullying is when aggressive behavior from one person is used against another person more than once. If the behavior is obvious and used multiple times, less effort to stop it will worsen it.
Many people don’t know exactly how serious bullying is. People that have attempted but failed to stop bullying don’t fully understand what it is. How can people stop something they can’t comprehend? If people don’t fully grasp bullying, then the effects will continue to rage on. Bullying doesn’t need to go on without being stopped. It has been stopped in the past in the U.S. and can be stopped again with the right procedures.
The effects of bullying are devastating but, it all begins with a bully. These individuals whom people term “bullies” have more to them that is known to be true. There are many reasons why someone becomes a bully. Sometimes the simplest reasons individuals become bullies can lead to the most negative effects on not only the bully, but on their victims as well. Causes of bullying are different in sizes and schools. When these causes become reality, the process of bullying is already put into motion.
Size differences is one possible reason behind individuals becoming bullies. For example, they could be a whole foot taller than a kid they go to school with. The bully will feel a lot more powerful and they easily pick on the victim. They throw the victim around like a rag doll and the victim might not do anything back due to fear. Also, in some cases there is more than one bully at a time. If a bully has others to back him up, the bully feels more than enough power to pick on anyone at any time. They have other people to help him bully someone, so why not. The effects of this causes kids to be self-conscious for the rest of their lives. The Hazelden Foundation is a company that funds Violence Prevention Works for their statistics on how kids that are bullied have a low self-esteem. It proves that children do become self-conscious according to the article “How Bullying Affects Children.” Their confidence goes down, making it hard to do anything special in life. In serious cases, it leads to kids trying drugs like steroids. The feeling of being small drives kids to take steroid to gain somewhat muscle and become larger. The more kids bully others because of size, leads the victim to possibly overdose. Size is a major contributor in different cases when it comes to bullying.
Differences in school also contribute to why students bully. For instance, if the bully is an upperclass man opposed to a freshman. Being older gives the upper class student the feeling of seniority and the want to push around the underclass student. In other cases, seniors in high school can be known as the “Big Dogs” of the school. Just like years ago, the seniors still push around all the freshmen as a way of breaking them into the school which is considered bullying. Lastly, kids bully one another because the schools they attend are different. Bullies don’t like other students because they don’t go to their school. Already, there is that conflict resulting in the bullies thinking that their school is better, then they pick on their victims because of the school that they go to.
More factors that separate the bullies and victims are mental, physical, and even social differences. It’s these that always begin First, mental differences really affect how much of an outcast a victim is. For example, the victim is taking classes made especially for the slower kids that have a disorder like A.D.D. It’s really hard not to stand out with features like these compared to other kids. Kids with these disabilities have special classes in school that are separate from regular classes. Being treated in school like they are special exposes them more than other students. Second, physical differences literally makes students stand out or under others. If the victim is much more scrawny, short, or fat, then they stick out like a sore thumb. The bullies will see the physical difference as a invitation to pick on the victim because they’re too scrawny to retaliate. Lastly, socially awkward kids can be easily pointed out. Many socially awkward kids stand alone or don’t have many other friends in school. It’s differences like these that separate bullies from victims and begins the bullying process.
Bullying affects everyone in many different ways. Kids in school, adults at work, or even friends and family can be affected by bullying. First, kids can be affected by it by simply going to a different school. From there, a bully picks on them and it just gets worse. For example, Crime Library, a website that has been recording stories for years from people that have been bullied, provides the story of a young boy named Ben Vodden. Ben was on his way to his second day of classes at a new school when he was already being bullied on the bus. It continued to where even the bus driver joined in on picking on Vodden. It became too much for Vodden and he later hung himself according to article “Worst Cases of Bullying.” It’s stories like Vodden’s that exemplify how easily someone can get bullied.
Second, bullying can affect adults at work because bullying never just stops when kids graduate. When co-workers verbally, socially, or physically abuse someone is when it can be defined as workplace bullying. An example of workplace bullying is when workers hold an event and alienate someone by not letting them come to the event. It shows the left out co-worker that they aren’t good enough to be invited or aren’t wanted. Another way that adults can be affected is if their child is being bullied at school. It takes a toll on parents, no matter how tough they may seem, to have a child go through bullying. Especially considering the fact that many lives have already been taken because of bullying.
Friends and family can be affected by bullying just as much as the victims. At times, friends suffer even more than the victims because they know about the bullying but, the victim doesn’t want their friend to tell anyone. Because this, the bullying continues and in many cases it’ll be too late to help the victim. The friend then has to live the rest of their life carrying the burden of knowing there was a chance they could have saved their friend’s life. Hawaii News Now gives a story just like this about a Hawaii teen named Brandon Elizares that moved to Texas and experienced bullying. He was about to return to Hawaii and give his best friend in Texas a tour of Hawaii but, the bullying was too much for him. His friend Shaquail Reed later went to Hawaii and said, “Now that I’m here it doesn’t feel the same because he was supposed to bring me here.” The story by Tim Sakahara is known about nationwide and is proof of how much bullying can affect friends.
Bullying affected Brandon Elizares’s family as well. Brandon’s mother Zachalyn states, “It’s just heartbreaking. There is no other way to say it.” The Hawaiian family was originally and has been wanting to go back to Hawaii for the longest time. What they didn’t know was that they were coming back with one less person. This story is an example to many families of what bullying can possibly do. It shows how just how much bullying can tear families apart and into pieces.
This is the first stage of bullying or what is known as what begins to create the bully. What comes next is what pushes them to bully their victims. Bullies never hassle kids just because they wake up and tell themselves that they’re going to do just that, they have a reason. Reasons such as abuse, drug abuse, being neglected, or even being bullied in the past.
Problems started at home can escalate from simple treatment issues to issues including abuse. One type of abuse kids go through at home is drug abuse. Kids are very influenced by those who raise them. If their guardians raise them with drugs like alcohol, marijuana, or even drugs like pills, then at a young age the child will know what drugs are. Then, they end up buying drugs like those and begin to use them. From there, their health and emotions might become unstable due to the drug dose so they act out in school.
Another type of abuse kids experience at home is physical. This abuse exposes kids to violence earlier in their lives. So, the next thing that happens is the kid brings that violence to school to take it out on other students.
Besides paying too much attention on the bullies, they could be ignored. Their parents and elders completely block them out, forcing the bully to fend for themselves. Being neglected at home has a much bigger impact on kids than many people realize. Treatment like this leaves the bully in the cold and feeling like no one is on their side. From there, depression builds and they feel the need to take out these unresolved issues when they get somewhere away from home. That place just so happens to be called school.
What happens next is what strikes fear in the hearts of many kids and students, the bullying. Bullying comes in different forms such as oral, physical, and electronical. Oral bullying is when the bully picks on their victim by insulting them or even swearing at them. Bullies say hurtful words like “You stupid idiot” or by calling the victim a bad name. The severity of it can even be increased to saying longer term quotes like, “You’ll never make it in life.” It’s verbal abuse like this that proves that words can hurt a person. The victims take in what their bullies say and really feel like they are as bad as they are told. It messes with the victims heads causing them to down themselves.
Hurtful words are one type of bullying; Another type is physical and it is called physical for a good reason. Physical bullying is when the bully punch, kick, and even push, their victim. It can be by one bully or by a group. Bullies do so because what better way to make themselves feel better, than to make someone feel worse. Victims will take countless beatings and still many people won’t notice that the conflict is going on. It’s only later when teachers and parents finally attempt to step in and cease the abuse. Teachers have had meetings with parents about their child’s behavior and even talked to the bully one on one. Still, bullies continue to hurt their victims by giving them bloody noses, scratches, and bruises outside of school or whenever convenient. No matter the lectures or meetings, the oppressors continue to pick on their victims for pure enjoyment. The more the victims get harassed, the more fear towards their bully gets developed.
In many victim’s cases, bullying they is at school, but what many bullies have now turned to is the internet. With the power of the internet, bullies can take bullying from school to home where they have posted fake pictures of their victim, hurtful rumors, or even created hate pages. What makes the internet so much more harmful than bullying in person is that anything that goes on the internet is shared with the world. When a post or page is created, it could take years to be deleted. Cyberbullying isn’t only on the internet, but available on devices like phones, tablets, and instant messaging. Messages sent to victims from the bullies can be sent anywhere. Bullying has shown the world that it comes in multiple forms.
A good example of the effects bullying is in the award winning documentary, Bully, that features a boy named Alex Libby who was physically and verbally abused on the school bus. His experience showed the world what bullying looked like first hand. The kids grabbed his head and slammed it into the bus chairs multiple times, sexually assault him, and choked him. Kids even threatened to break his bones. This happened every single day that he would get on the school bus. Alex was traumatized for a very long time to where he didn’t even want to open up to his parents.
After the bullying stage comes the stage where the victims react to the bullying. Victims react in many ways but some responses are they speak up by telling an adult and keep the issues to themselves or deal with the problem themselves.
If the victim doesn’t tell a teacher or parent, they hold it in like how many kids have in the past. This is when kids avoid interacting with others so not to be seen crying. The pain of bullying comes with a toll that many kids cannot handle. The more bullying that the victim suffers from, the harder it is to handle the pain. No matter what, these victims hold the pain in and triy to look past it.
In some cases, victims will take the pain and brush it off. They see the bullying as an obstacle to easily overcome by seeing it as something to not get bothered by. Then there’s those kids who decide to do something about the bullying on their own. Some might see it as an obstacle to face instead.
In the past, cases when victims decided to fight back to defend themselves have happened. They fought the bully to get them off of their back and even threatened to bring weapons to school against them. This is what happened in the movie called “Bully” when a 14 year old girl brought a gun onto her bus. She was being bullied and teased that day when she couldn’t take anymore, she pulled the gun out. Victims get sick of constantly being picked on and think of many dark actions that they can partake in towards their bullies. The future won’t look good for either party because it will include some sort of violence. Reactions to bullying are very important in the process of bullying and what happens effects the bully’s and victim’s safety.
Luckily, the school might step in to stop the bullying. The school then punishes the bully or bullies. A publication in the United Kingdom gives the world a story of a cheerleading team in Hawaii that gets punished for bullying called “Cheerleaders accused of cyber-bullying at Hawaii high school complain that THEY are being treated unfairly.” It’s good that the school officials decided to do this because if they let it go, no one would have stopped it and someone would have gotten hurt. The cheerleaders were banned from practice and fundraising for their uniforms. Schools step in, but in many cases they don’t.
After victims react to the bullying, bullies sometimes continue the bullying or worsen it. Bullies attack their victims outside school because picking on them in school isn’t enough for some reason. The bullies pick on their victims for pure enjoyment at this point and using even worse methods. Stealing their victims belongings or by destroying whatever they own are some ways the bullying worsens. Victims will continue to hold in the emotions and anger or try to retaliate but nothing gets better.
As more time goes by, the bullying doesn’t stop and victims get pushed to their limits to the final stage which is the wake up call to people to ignored the severity of bullying. It’s at this stage when victims decide to commit actions like withdraw from others, or commit homicides, or suicides. First, withdrawal is when victims completely block themselves from the world around them. They don’t care about anything that happens to them or around them. The struggle of being bullied becomes too much to face anyone, even a parent. Victims don’t engage in any activities even as simple as eating a meal. The depression takes a physical toll on the body as well. Symptoms like unhealthy weight loss and sleep deprivation are among the many symptoms that victims develop during their withdrawal stage.
Next, some victims who build up anger instead of depression take to homicidal thoughts and actions against their aggressors. Victims can’t stand the bullying anymore and bring weapons to school in a last attempt to stop the harassment. At times victims will attack their bully with whatever weapon they can get their hands on. Some cases have involved knives and different type of guns. In many of those cases, kids have been sent to jail and many killed. Sometimes, victims get to school with the gun and lose control. This loss of control is the cause of shootouts in many schools and multiple casualties. For many victims, shutting up their bully for good by violence seems like the best option.
A story of a girl named Ja’Meya Jackson in the documentary “Bully” gives the world video evidence of what bullying can make someone do. She was being bullied and later brought a gun onto her school bus. She drew it on students and threatened students that she was going to shoot them. It proves how bullying can drive some students to resort to extreme violence in school. She couldn’t take the bullying and needed to stop it somehow as shown in “Bully.”
Lastly, the result that many are trying to prevent is suicide. According to Bullying Statistics, suicide amongst teens and kids is the third leading cause of death as told in the article “Bullying and Suicide.” They have found that bullying is a key factor to why kids consider suicide. Many teens and kids can only take so much pain before they can’t handle anymore. If those victims have been bullied for a long time, then they will want to find a way to avoid it. The agony of being hated and picked on becomes such a burden to the victims. They feel unwanted and unneeded in the world.
Once all attempts to stop the bullying fails, the only option to them is suicide. In fact, teens are around “9 times more likely to consider suicide if bullied” in the article “Bullying and Suicide” said studies at Yale University in a study dealing with the relationship between suicide and bullying. Suicide has been performed by guns, hangings, overdosing on pills, and even everyday household chemicals. Suicide is always an option, but it’s bullying that pushes many people towards it.
It’s suicides like Tyler’s that questions what the schools are doing to stop bullying. While Tyler was being bullied, his parents took the issue to the school. The school responded by stating “Boys will be boys. Tyler took it in the wrong way.” as stated in the article “Worst Cases of Bullying.” The schools around the nation have been underestimating how serious bullying has been but, some have been trying to stop bullying. Some schools have set up events and assemblies at school to show that bullying is bad. These assemblies teach students about anti-bullying and how to deal with it. The National Bullying Prevention Center website provides information about events have been set up in some states to raise awareness about this issue and October is even Bulling Prevention Month. The Prevention Month is held anywhere and is trying to reach out to more people to be aware of the problem. It’s small steps like these that are going on to stop bullying.
Kurtis Kropar, a longtime Honolulu resident and executive director of Hawaiian Hope, brings up the idea that people don’t just wake up and say that they feel like being a bully. They learn it from somewhere and majority of the time, that place is home. Kids at a young age are very impressionable always want to be just like the adult or the person they look up to in life. If that adult supports violence and misbehavior, then the child will grow up with that influencing them. It will shape them into who they will be in the future, in school and in the workplace. People need to stop their attempts to make kids stop bullying and focus on the real source of the bullying which is their home life and influences. Change the person and what the kids look up to and it will create a chain reaction. Once one kid matures into a good natured and non-bullying person, their kids will do the same. The cycle will go on and on until there is no more bullying. People must reach out to the parents of bullies and make them care about how important bullying is to change their ways. Stop attacking the kids that are bullies because no matter what thought gets into their head about bullying being bad will be completely erased if they go home to parents that influence them that actions like bullying are acceptable.
The research has been done and tests ran over and over again proving that the bullying problem can be solved. How many more kids have to die for people to realize that it is a serious issue no matter how serious or not it may seem to be? How many more kids need to go through bullying before it’s stopped? Bullying is definitely a challenge to take down but, people know the facts and statistics on it. It’s not an issue that is impossible to get rid of. According to a website called Bullying Statistics that is devoted to telling bullying facts, around 77 percent of students have admitted to being bullied in some form. It goes to show that it’s not impossible to not have bullying in the picture. All that’s needed to get rid of the bullying are the people and effort. Together and with hard work, people can stop bullying but, that’s only one person’s choice to do so and that person is you.
Bully: PG-13 Version. Dir. Lee Hirsh. Weinstein Co. & Where We Live Films. 2012. DVD.
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