By Tygue Lopes
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]
Teens today face many problems while becoming adults. They face problems such as peer pressure, drug abuse, self-esteem issues, and bullying. Aside from these other problems, bullying seems to be one that is growing constantly as time goes by. Bullying is also an issue that has no definite solution till this day. In fact, “In 2012 Obama committed $132 million towards anti-bullying efforts in schools.” Even with the amount of money spent, it’s apparent that there is still work to be done. The huge eye-opener with bullying is that children are taking their lives and the lives of others because of the mental abuse that comes with this issue.
According to “Alarming Bullying Statistics”, around 50% of teens have already been victims of cyber bullying. This is half of the student population not including other forms of bullying. This means 5 out of every 10 students in schools experience mental abuse just from what they are exposed to on the internet. Overall, “77% of students are being bullied whether physically, mentally, or verbally.” Other alternatives toward solving this problem in our country should be tested. The solution should not be something that is short term it should be one that will greatly reduce bullying and it’s sometimes harsh effects.
Making friends isn’t so easy for kids sometimes. In usual cases kids find at least one person that they can relate and connect too. But for the kids that aren’t so lucky, vulnerability to bullying is a serious issue. The ones who are loners without any friends or anyone to talk with in school are prime meat for bullies. Bullies see these kids as easy targets especially when they don’t stand up for themselves. As other kids see this one targeted kid getting harassed, the normal reaction seems to be joining the actions of the bully. In result, the poor kid is shunned from all others and is left alone year after year.
In some cases other students find it different to be intelligent. The kids classified as “geeks” are looked down upon because of their higher intellect. This leads to misunderstood kids picking on these geeks. Other kids could also get jealous because they aren’t as smart as they wished. So the only way to get rid of this frustration is to pick on the kids who have what they want. Geeks become a part of this shunned group.
On the other hand there are outsiders that aren’t victims of bullying; they are the bullies. Kids that are overachievers and talented in areas such as sports are usually the ones who are victimizing others and causing emotional harm. Many of these kids believe that they are better than all of their peers. They think that their way of doing things is the only correct way of doing it. When situations don’t go in their favor this is when other kids get bullied. These overachievers usually have the mindset that only they matter in life.
A majority of the times, bullies like to target the kids that stand out from everyone else such as the ones that come from a different culture that is uncommon in the place of residency. For example, in Hawaii the children who are instantly looked at as outcasts are of Micronesian decent. In addition to most of them being of lower income, just the fact that they aren’t from here leaves them vulnerable to bullies. Micronesians are the “new kids in school.” Other cases of bullying include the victim being smaller than the bully making them an easy target. A bully can feel better by man-handling the smaller child. Bullies also know that the defenseless child will most likely not fight back and make it easier. For instance, in Waianae High School some bigger kids threaten smaller kids. This doesn’t mean that they want to actually follow through with the threats, so they find a kid that is smaller who looks like he or she will not retaliate. This
gives the bully the satisfaction without getting hurt themselves. Aside from physical attributes, bullies like the pick on the kids who are different academically. The kids who excel in school can be easily sought out. There was this boy John who was ahead of his class in almost every subject. After a few days of answering all the questions asked by the teacher, students started to hassle him. It got to the point where he got yelled at and called names by other students when something came out of his mouth. These acts of bullying usually have emotional consequences on the victims.
When a victim of bullying puts themselves into a bubble they basically start to give up. What can make this even worse are the bullies feeding on these emotions. The harassment gets worse and worse while the victim slowly loses grip on reality. When other kids see this happening they tend to join in instead of going against this act. This happened with the boy John; other kids felt the need to yell at him just because their peers were doing it. Overall the bullying continues and the problems get more severe.
As the problems get severe the victims find ways to deal with the mental, physical, and emotional pain. Some of them become numb to the environment around them. When kids hit this certain point it can have drastic consequences.
In some cases bullying turns the victim into a bully themselves. Since they were bullied they feel like it’s only fair that it’s done to others. Other kids take it harder than most. They begin to cry more often. Having the thought that they are alone in life, and ultimately start skipping school altogether. At this point, the kids try to seek help from their authorities which does not always give a solution to the problem. In the video “Bully”, Fish-face and his family talked to the principal about bullying on the bus. The principal deemed that this was normal and
sort of brushed it off. When the people that these kids turn to fail, it causes these kids shelter themselves from the world.
The end result of bullying can either end good or bad. Sometimes the victims find someone that they can confide into and it makes life better for them. Or sometimes the bullies find something better to do or simply give up. John just stood up for himself and told everyone that he did not care what they thought of him. Then over time his peers found it pointless to harass him because it had no effect. On the other hand, some kids find the solution in revenge.
They want the people who caused the pain to feel the same way they did or even worse. School shootings are great examples of victims seeking solution in the pain of others. The Columbine school shooting resulted in the horrible deaths of others and the victims themselves. The two boys planned to kill their peers and in addition take their own lives. Amanda Todd is another example of bullying going too far. In her case she just couldn’t take the pain anymore and decided to take her own life. She failed to do so a few times before succeeding. Sometimes pushing a problem aside is not the answer.
According to statistics reported by ABC News, 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying. Many of these kids will attempt or contemplate suicide at one point in their lives. The ones that do succeed in taking their own life leave an empty void in their families. Parents of these kids have to live with not knowing the answer towards their child’s actions. Many parents go through emotional rollercoasters because of their child’s decision to take their own lives. For example, Rebecca Sedwick at only 12 years of age decided to take her own life as a result of being repeatedly bullied. Her mother said “Even when she’s gone, the bullying online still continues, I just don’t understand.” Rebecca’s mother
constantly sees kids talk about her daughter with no respect. Kids even announce that they are happy Rebecca died. In fact, there was also a speaker that came to Waianae High School to talk about bullying. He had lost his daughter in a school shooting that was a result of bullying. Although, His daughter was not a victim of bullying, she still lost her life because of it. He has dedicated his life to stop the ongoing problems with bullying. No parent should have to go through this kind of pain. If the younger generation were exposed more to the feelings of these parents and the stories they have, maybe it would have a greater impact than the solutions being suggested today.
Educating kids about bullying at younger age seems to be the best shot at changing these cruel acts. Children who are in elementary are still developing and can still be molded into something different. They are still being taught right from wrong compared to high school students already set into their ways. When anti-bully speakers went to Waianae High School they made a big impact, but that impact only lasted for two days maximum. The young adults already have a good idea of what is moral and what is not to them. It is too late to change the older generation.
The use of assemblies is a very effective way to get the message about bullying to students. The only downside to this strategy is there are not enough assemblies throughout the year, having an assembly only once a year does not instill a clear message in the minds of students. Most forget about this event in a matter of days. More efforts should be made into planning more of these assemblies to keep the effects of bullying in the back of students minds. There should also be meetings with the parents of the victim and the parents of the bully where they have a chance to speak to each other about the issue. If the problem cannot be resolved by
both parties then higher authorities should be called such as the police. This would ensure kids either stop or pay for their actions.
In the article “When your kid is the bully” by Treena Shapiro, Shapiro’s reaction to her son being a bully was to monitor him more closely. She made her son add her on Facebook and also cut his time spent on the computer. By doing so Shapiro could regulate what her son was saying and doing online. She also reduced the influence of her son’s peers by keeping him off of the internet for long periods of time. From what she has observed, her son has been behaving a lot better and there have been no complaints from the school or others. Perhaps if more parents adopted this sort of policy with their child, it would have a greater impact on the struggles with stopping bullying.
Bullying is a tough issue that does not have any easy way to solve, but the problems that bullying is causing is very clear. Young kids are taking their lives and causing parents like Rebecca’s mother to go through a lifetime of unnecessary grief. More efforts should be made such as assemblies and family meetings. Bullying is a serious problem that needs to stop.
In America we as people have the right to the pursuit of happiness. This means that others cannot decide what the purpose of one’s life is nor make choices that constrict them from what makes him or her happy. Bullying goes completely against this right and it is astounding that some people do not realize this. Perhaps educating the younger generation about the rights we have as humans can help reach out to some kids and having some impact even if it’s little.
There are many different approaches to this serious issue. It can be argued that a large amount of money is being spent on the prevention of bullying. To some people this is not helping the growing problem as much as it needs to be. Perhaps focusing on prevention towards bullying is not the only probable answer. Other alternatives such as simply educating an individual about the effects associated with bullying and for example Treena Shapiro’s method of monitoring her child is a much better way to go about this problem. Whether a permanent solution found or not, bullying is still a problem that’s happening. Kids are harming themselves and others over the physical, mental, and emotional abuse caused by their peers. It is crystal clear to anyone that something needs to be done soon.
“Alarming Bullying Statistics in the USA.” Bullying Facts Bullying Definition Bullying Articles. BullyingFacts.info , n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
“Alarming Bullying Statistics in the USA.” Bullying Facts Bullying Definition Bullying Articles. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
Bully: PG13 Version. Lee Hirsch. Weinstein Company Movie. 2011. Film.
“Bullying and Suicide.” – Bullying Statistics. Bullying Statistics, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.
Gregory, Corinne . “Obama commits $132M to anti-bullying — what will that mean?.” Corinne Gregory RSS. Corinnegregory.com, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.
Laithwaite, Carolyn. “How a Bully Targets.” Life After Adult Bullying. N.p.. Web. 25 Oct 2013.
Sha. “The Most Common Problems Teenagers Face Today.” YurTopic. YurTopic, 2 June 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
Shapiro, Treena. “When your kid is the bully”
“Two young girls arrested in case of bullying that led to suicide.” Anderson Cooper 360 RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.