By Annette Landford
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]
What is bullying? A bully is defined as a person who uses superior strength to influence or intimidate another person or to force him or her to do what they want. In Zimmerman’s article on” Homophobia hurts straight men, too,” it talks about a college student who committed suicide after his roommate videotaped him and another boy having sex. Bullying can be found almost everywhere in homes, on the internet, and especially in schools. Bullying has a lot of repercussions that affect people in many ways. Recently, bullying has been blamed for the rising number of teenage suicides all over the country. No one is born to be a bully, it is a taught skill (Kropar). A victim of bullying doesn’t ask to be hurt; it’s a product of ignorance from today’s society. State agencies like the Department of Education could start implementing stricter rules to protect students. Bullying has become a problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible to protect victims everywhere.
Children who are raised by a family that has no structure or morals are at higher risk of becoming bullies. For example, a child that grows up in a substance abuse home usually gets abused by their parents physically and verbally especially when those parents are tweaking for the next high. As a result they tend to express their feelings by inflicting pain on others because they can’t take out their pain on their parents for fear of getting abused more. Another reason could be due to parents getting a divorce leaving this child to feel alone , blaming themselves for their separation leading them to rebel and act out towards others by hurting them physically or verbally. Sibling abuse is also common in homes when, children are placed in a position where parents show more attention and affection towards one over the other. Some parents don’t realize that they start this process amongst their children by making them compete against each other. These children tend to take out their frustration on their sibling hitting or teasing them. By making parents more aware of this problem, they have a better understanding of how serious this issue is and what needs to be done to help prevent bullying .
With today’s technology it is easy for anyone to take an embarrassing picture or video of someone else and post it on the internet for the whole world to see. An article recently published in the Daily Mail, reported a story that took place thousands of miles away in the United States on a small island of Hawai’i about a group of high school cheerleaders that were accused of bullying via the internet. The school shut down the cheerleading squad until an investigation is completed. Incredibly this story has gone so far that it has gone half away across the globe. Because bullying has become a world- wide epidemic plaguing communities like an infectious disease everyone is getting involved in exposing such a hateful act that causes so much pain to the victims involved. An alarming number of suicides are being reported by children due to bullying all around the world (a British newspaper).
In the United States alone there have been incidents that involved school shootings due this problem. Where even kids are taking revenge by taking guns and shooting their peers and teachers because of embarrassment and humiliation that they have endured continuously. For example, the news aired a story about a boy who went to school with a gun and shot several students and a math teacher at an elementary school in Nevada just last month because of bullying. Another example, was the first public school massacre that killed a lot of people, when two boys went in heavily armed and started shooting at everyone. In a recent article posted in Civil Beat, on how “ Hawai’i schools are still struggling to help tormented kids” addresses an issue of safety for students. Despite numerous attempts by lawmakers to get a precise answer from the Department of Education on their plans with identifying and dealing with bullies in the educational system they could not give a direct response but only given a response that there was already a rule in place which was the “ Chapter 19 “ law. It still doesn’t define the response that lawmakers were looking for ( Eagles ). School shootings have been more popular on the news than a decade ago. There weren’t any cell phones, digital cameras or tablets available back then and computers weren’t as savvy as it is now. People were more friendly and respected each other’s feelings. Now, most of them don’t care as much and rather hurt others instead of being nice. School officials and lawmakers need to combine their efforts in combating this problem and agree to identify and set rules and regulations to those accused in order to protect the safety of students everywhere. Recently, the district has launched a million dollar campaign against bullying making it publicly known to communities all over that this is a serious ongoing issue that we all need to address .
A Report submitted by the Hawai’i State Department of Health discusses an alarming statistic of suicides among children between the ages of 10 to 17 years of age. In a five year period 29 deaths by suicide has been reported ( Hawai’i state review ). There were numerous reasons behind these tragedies that claimed the lives of so many youngsters. Some reasons are due to dysfunctional families, were there could be parents who are divorced or have a substance abuse problem causing hurt and harm to these children who sees no alternative but to take their pain away by taking their own lives. A boyfriend or girlfriend argument that may lead them to kill themselves to show that their life is nothing without the other. The highest of all which is 61 percent is due to unknown reasons, meaning there was no explanation or evidence to show why their lives ended so early. Everyone is affected by these tragedies including family members of the deceased. When a child takes their lives, there is an unbarring feeling that a parent goes through along with questions like, “why?”. Why did he/she do this? Who is to blame for this? What could I have done to stop this? and so on. Sometimes it’s hard to see the signs of destruction a child is going through inside but, it helps to have an open relationship with an adult or someone to talk to before committing this unthinkable act. These are just a few statistics that was done in Hawai’i years ago not counting those from other states. These numbers are alarming to know especially when they are broken down into ethnic groups, age, sex and reasons of suicides. Bullying comes in many forms of abuse, whether it be physical, verbal or psychological it still affects a person. Due to those reasons alone there have been many attempts of threats, cutting themselves and even success of ending their lives. It is a sad situation that some of these victims had to endure to get to that point where they felt that it was the only way out. Hotlines and assemblies at schools could be a way of communication for some of these kids that they could look for help before turning to suicide. Before it becomes a statistic, everyone should pitch in to do their part in stopping abuse now.
If by being taught to become a bully than it is easy to say that it could also be taught to be a better person. By education and awareness may people come to understand the importance of change. It might be hard because bullying is publicly educated through television shows, radio stations , video games basically everywhere you look violence and bullying are being promoted. Children at an early age is a great example to start from because their minds are like sponges and can absorb the goodness that later structures them into kind hearted and open minded individuals that know by hurting people is not right. Bullying is an ignorant disease that can be contagious only if it is spread by those infected. But it could also be cured by antidotes of education and awareness of being Pono.
“ Citations “
Daily Mail Reporter, . “Cheerleaders accused of cyber-bullying at Hawaii high school complain that THEY are being treated unfairly.” Daily Mail (UK ). 20 Nov. 2013 n. page. Print.
Eagle, Nathan. “Hawaii schools are still struggling to help tormented kids.” Civil Beat. July 30, 2012.
Hawaii State Dept. of Health, Family Health Service Division, Materna and Child Health Branch, . “A report from Hawaii child death review 2001 to 2006.” December 2011 78-82. Print.
Kropar, Curtis. “” School bullies: we have no one to blame but ourselves “.” Civil Beat. 02 Aug 2012:
Zimmerman, Jonathan. “Homophobia hurts straight men, too.” Christian Science Monitor 06 Oct. 2010: N.PAG. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.