The younger generations are said to be much more sensitive and easily offended nowadays. This could be due to the overlooked bullying and harsh truths that children have to face each day. All over the world these young boys and girls wake up to face another day of school, but that day can hold a different experience for each child. Some face the day with pride and joy, others with anxiety or terror that it could be an endless shift of bullying. News stories constantly remind the population of just how bad it’s gotten for these kids; some even ending their lives because they don’t want to take on this hurt any longer. Lowering adolescent suicide rates, improving academic success, and attentive children are a few goals of sufficient training being implemented for educators. Schools should be held responsible for implementing resources that put an end to bullying.
With better training and adequate resources available for children, suicide and self-harm could vastly decline. Death among youth is always an incredibly tough thing to deal with. There are non-stop efforts to beat childhood cancer and disease, but rarely is it heard of that adolescent suicide is being researched. With this being one of the leading causes of death in children ages 13 to 19, there most definitely needs to be something done. News stories of a child killing themselves are often followed by an update that the child was severely bullied, but schools aren’t held responsible until it’s too late, if at all. Youth as young as 8 years old have committed suicide due to the ongoing torment from their peers. When will this end and when will schools be held responsible? For several hours a day these children are spending their day at a home away from home. For some, this place doesn’t feel like a home, but more of a prison. Bound to the place that should feel safe, they struggle to get through each day, wondering when the bullying and attacks will end. With that question unanswered, they search for a way out themselves. This is where schools fail at protecting the youth, which should be the most important goal on their list. How can they expect a child to succeed and strive for a brighter future when they struggle to find motivation to stay alive and fight through the day? David Molak was a sports and video game enthusiast who was in his sophomore year. Other kids took it upon themselves to attack him for his looks, which ultimately led to David killing himself after his third suicide attempt (Ladika, par.4). After the first attempt, something should have been done to provide a safer environment for this child. There seems to be many missed opportunities for the school to handle this situation and protect a student who desperately needed help. Yet again, David becomes a story of the past while other suicides are being reported. Educators and staff should be readily available and qualified to put a halt to this behavior. Parents send their children to school expecting them to be in a safe environment. Taking action and providing resources could stop several bullies and in turn give the victims a sense of relief to move on with their lives, unscathed and unharmed.
Additionally, if faculty were equipped with the correct training and resources, these children would feel safer in their school. Knowing where to turn in the event that they felt unsafe or uncomfortable would likely result in a more relaxed and guarded environment. School staff could properly exercise their knowledge possibly putting a halt to several bullies. This knowledge could then be presented to the students helping them gain confidence on what to do in these situations. While some schools have been unsuccessful in bullying programs, others have empowered children to not just be another bystander. In Dan Hardy’s article, he educates that there are programs that can be successful in combatting bullying. One example is the Olweus program that Pennbrook Middle School took on. This program highlights training for staff, students, and parents to acknowledge and intercede bullying. An anonymous survey is also given to pinpoint where the behavior is igniting. This helps create regulations and holds the bullies responsible. Lastly, regular class discussions help prevent the torment from reoccurring. If all schools took the approach to adopt a successful program, there may be a significant reduction of bullying in sight. Each day children are given the resources to succeed on class assignments, adding these programs would just be an additional piece of knowledge for their future. There’s no harm in teaching youth how to be decent, respectful, and helpful people in difficult situations. This would certainly make the students feel safer entering their school each day with awareness of how to stop bullying, but also where to turn when they need help.
Bullies need to be held responsible for their actions. Repeatedly, there are reports of victims being bullied and tormented for years at school, but nothing is being done about it. Parents frequent the school to question the staff about why it’s not stopping and responses are given that help them avoid becoming involved. “Both the school board and Hamilton police have confirmed they were notified of bullying incidents involving Devan before his death” (‘Hamilton School Board to Review Anti-bullying Practices After Teen Fatally Stabbed’). Punishing the tyrant is the first step in helping their victims feel safer. Lacking discipline and punishment will only feed into the bully’s mentality. More often than not, there is more than one individual in school who is considered a bully. If the others witness the consequences first hand, this could make them reassess their actions in the future. If they aren’t being held accountable, why would there be any reason to stop the behavior? These programs should enforce specific consequences so the children know what is in store if they make the choice to bully others. Teachers and staff sometimes turn the other cheek because they aren’t confident in resolving an issue or they don’t feel like the students respect their authority. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation states that regardless of the guidelines set by the school, parents don’t seem to see the oppressor being held liable in these situations. Holding them accountable for their tyrannizing actions will hopefully prevent further behavior of this type. But most importantly, it could help save lives and hinder further damage to innocent children.
Equally important, children need to be focusing on class work and their grades. It is not their responsibility to go to school each day and make sure the premises is safe for them to be there. That is clearly the job of the faculty. Today’s youth have enough stress as it is and dealing with intimidation from another child should not be added to their daily schedule. With this added tension, how can they focus on school work? Snell and Hirchstein state that students have experienced damaging effects regarding their education, which has also reflected their feelings towards going back to that school. When staff ignore the tormentor’s behavior, they could also be robbing a child of their future abilities. In some cases, these long-lasting effects could take away from the aspects of a person that should have never been a victim. Some parents have even resorted to taking their children out of said schools because staff and law enforcement aren’t doing anything to change the circumstances. In these situations, a child is being distracted from their regular studies and forced to adapt to a new school or lifestyle just because the issue wasn’t handled properly. With the stress and anxiety these children take on, this tends to show within their school work. Depression and a lack of confidence may lead a child to stop caring about what should be of importance to them. But the victims aren’t the only ones whose grades suffer. The individuals causing the torment tend to brush off school as an important factor for their future. “In high school, these were the children who experimented more with sex, drugs, and alcohol and had higher dropout rates” (Smith-Heavenrich, par.11) Academics and recess should be among their priorities, not bullies.
These resources can potentially help diminish or prevent the effects that come with bullying. Michelle Castillo writes: “Being bullied as a youth was linked to more struggles to hold a regular job, more health problems and poor social relationships when the victim became an adult” (Castillo, par.1). This doesn’t seem like too much of a surprise though. These victims go to school each day dreading the belittling and embarrassing torture they will receive. With the little action that staff take, this is more than likely going to last years, or at least until the tyrant finds another target. In that time frame, the victim will most likely lose trust in others due to no one stepping up to help or stop this. They may lose confidence as well. Anxiety, panic attacks, and depression are often effects of bullying. Even if the bullying stops when the child leaves schools or graduates, there’s no way to guarantee these results will also disappear. More than likely this person will continue to carry burden this throughout adulthood. As an adult forming and keeping relationships have shown to be a struggle, especially for extended periods of time (Castillo, par.7). Presenting resources for these children could help halt these traumas from building damaging effects later in life. If they could rebuild their trust and confidence, a bright future may very well be what they have to look forward to. Working through, or all together avoiding, this negative baggage is most important for these developing brains.
Furthermore, learning from previous plans or programs that didn’t work can help schools pick successful resources moving forward. In some cases, programs have actually backfired and made bullying worse. This may be a reason why some educators are hesitant on bringing in new resources to combat the issue. Learning from these failures can provide a positive outlook to move forward though. If they aren’t trying anything, there’s no doubt the issue will continue to grow. Programs, such as the Friendly Schools Program and Positive Behavior for Learning, have helped combine encouraging methods, communication among peers, and construct collaboration with parents and adults (Healy, par.18). Social, visual, and hands-on learning are some of the different types of ways people take in knowledge. They are educated in many different ways, which is comparable to the contrasting ways that people should be cared for. There is not always one specific way to teach someone a lesson or provide therapy. Even with medicine, each individual reacts differently. That being said, it may take a few attempts to find a program that adheres to each specific school. With bullying being such a huge issue, there are obviously several different programs and resources for combatting this problem. Schools need to be aware of this and put effort into what programs work for their children. Healy mentions that elementary aged children had a more successful reaction to the programs, but high school aged children often had the opposite reaction to these programs (Healy, par.11). With this knowledge, programs should be researching the reason for this and implementing new ways to fight the tormenting acts. Without working towards a fix, there will be no fix at all. And that is not an acceptable outcome to this problem.
Finally, resources being implemented at schools can help improve life for the bully. More often than not, these resources help the victim look forward to a positive future without torment from individuals. But when looking at the issue as a whole, the bully needs to be helped as well. The anger that comes from the aggressor can sometimes be stemmed from abuse, being bullied themselves, or deep-rooted issues. Addressing these issues early on can help the child lead a more positive lifestyle that their peers would benefit from as well. The risk of mental health issues, such as antisocial personality disorder, is elevated for boys who bully others. If the aggression is not dealt with at an early age, or dealt with at all, it’s likely this behavior will continue throughout the child’s life. Whether their actions stem from abuse at home or underlying issues, this can carry on into adulthood and possibly cause abuse on the future children of the bully. “Boys who are both bullies and victims seem especially in need of help, Dr. Sourander noted” (‘Both Bullies and Victims May Have Greater Risk of Mental Disorders’). Helping youth that are struggling can prevent these actions from being passed on through generations. The results of bullying affect far more than just the victim. These actions can take a toll on parents, teachers, siblings, and so many others. Reaching out to perpetrators and finding the cause of their issues should be the first step. Using the resources to put a plan in place and really help the child is the ultimate goal when trying to stop bullying all together.
In conclusion, today’s youth will eventually be the working class of the future and providing resources for them means a more successful group of individuals in the long run. With mental health being such a large issue these days, it’s important that help is provided for those in need while they are still developing. Schools being equipped with the proper resources to combat bullying will only prove to be successful moving forward. With the right tools in place, any issue can be fixed. These innocent children deserve to have a safe school to walk into each day, and the adults should be held responsible for making that possible. Looking at the effects of bullying, improving adulthood for bullies and victims, and helping children focus on academic success are just a few of the reasons that bullying needs to be ended. There are few things harder than reading about the suicide of a bullied child, but doing nothing about the endless torment will only make this a repetitive news story. It needs to be stopped now, which is why schools should be responsible for implementing programs to end bullying.
- ‘Both Bullies and Victims May Have Greater Risk of Mental Disorders’. Globe & Mail, 7 August 2007, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A167291330/OVIC?u=offcamp&sid=OVIC&xid=0be8763a Accessed 17 November 2019.
- Castillo, Michelle. ‘The Effects of Bullying Last into Adulthood’. Greenhaven Press, 2015, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/EJ3010956207/OVIC?u=offcamp&sid=OVIC&xid=9d8f6978 Accessed 08 November 2019.
- ‘Hamilton School Board to Review Anti-bullying Practices After Teen Fatally Stabbed’. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 11 October 2019, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A602385144/OVIC?u=offcamp&sid=OVIC&xid=7f7c7fd7 Accessed 11 November 2019.
- Hardy, Dan. ‘Anti-Bullying Program Works, Schools Say’. Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 November 2010, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A242040773/OVIC?u=offcamp&sid=OVIC&xid=d835bb3e Accessed 10 November 2019.
- Healy, Karyn. ‘Not Every School’s Anti-Bullying Program Works—Some May Actually Make Bullying Worse’. Gale Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, 2019, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/AHDRXZ839298204/OVIC?u=offcamp&sid=OVIC&xid=de08fefd Accessed 13 November 2019.
- Ladika, Susan. ‘Bullying and Cyberbullying’. CQ Researcher, 02 February 2018, http://library.cqpress.com.ezproxy.centralia.edu/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2018020200&type=hitlist&num=1 Accessed 27 October 2019.
- Mantel, Barbara. ‘Teen Suicide’. CQ Researcher, 12 September 2014, http://library.cqpress.com.ezproxy.centralia.edu/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2014091200&type=hitlist&num=1 Accessed 01 November 2019.
- Smith-Heavenrich, Sue. ‘Bullying Among Youths Is a Serious Problem’. America’s Youth, 01 January 2003 https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/EJ3010300218/OVIC?u=offcamp&sid=OVIC&xid=33658829 Accessed 18 November 2019.
- Snell, Jennie L., and Miriam Hirschstein. ‘Bullying and Victimization’. Encyclopedia of School Psychology, 2005 https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3453000040/GVRL?u=offcamp&sid=GVRL&xid=dc1c622b Accessed 10 November 2019.