There is a problem running rapidly through America’s schools today. Bullying is seen throughout many of hallways and playgrounds at schools. By saying this, imagine your child coming home from school with twelve bruises on his or her stomach. His or her face is as white as a sheet. He or she is grabbing one’s stomach as they run to bathroom trying not to throw up everywhere. Unfortunately, the bully is just giving a slap on the wrist. Would you become just another bystander or would step in a say enough is enough? According to Levinson and Levinson, “One out of every four children will be bullied by a peer in school this month”. By stating this, our schools need to come up with better solutions. For instance, a major solution to bullying would be to provide a harsher punishment for bullies.
First, bullying can demonstrate mental and emotional effects. For example, some of the mental and emotional effects of bullying are depressive disorders and low self-esteem. The issues that a depressive disorder can cause a child are social isolation, being sensitive to rejection, and feelings of sadness and emptiness. In addition, having a depressive disorder can lead a child to despicable crimes, such as mass murders in schools. According to Ellis Ross, “Being bullied and being rejected lead to feelings of isolation and powerlessness. In turn, victims often feel an intense desire and need to regain power by turning to violence, such as mass shootings”. For example, a familiar car pulls into a parking spot a local high school. A recent graduate steps onto long grey pathway leading to the entrance of the school. He or she then heads toward the doors of the school where he or she was a victim of bullying. The once bullied student grasps tightly in his or her hand a loaded assault rifle. The only thing going through his or her mind is ‘I will regain my power that was taken from me’. He or she swings open the door violently and walks into each room, shooting violently. Innocent victims become part of a bloody grave, and the gruesome screams echo through the halls. The shooter, who was once a victim, now becomes the bully.
Another mental and social repercussion of bullying is low self-esteem. For instance, many children who are bullied about their weight can fall to the victims of bulimia or anorexia. According to Chelsea Kronengold, “As many as 65% of people with eating disorders say bullying contributed to their condition”. Also, cyberbullying can play a factor in bulimia or anorexia. For example, a child comes home from school. The child then goes to his or her computer and sees an email from one of his or her classmates from school. He or she opens the email and sees a link that displays the words ‘click me’. The child then clicks on the link and then a picture of the child eating hamburgers and the words displayed ‘pig’ flashing above the picture. The child then stands in front of the mirror and starts judging his or her body by saying to themselves: “You’re so fat and disgusting”. The child then begins to stop eating just to hopefully get relief of the bullying.
Also, suicide is running rampant through the victims of bullying. For example, it has become obvious how much bullying and suicide tie in with each other. While some people may find bullying not a big issue, studies show it is the leading cause of suicide. According to National Bullying Prevention Center, “A meta-analysis found that students facing peer victimization are 2.2 times more likely to have suicide ideation and 2.6 times more likely to attempt suicide than students not facing victimization”. In addition, children often go without reporting bullying because they are afraid it will make the bullying worse. As a result, the victims tend to keep it a secret and feel the need to deal with this issue on their own. The bullying then gets worse as time goes on, and the child sees the only way out of the pain is to ends one’s life. Picture this. A fifteen-year-old girl receives a friend request from very attractive boy on Myspace. The girl starts interacting with the boy by messaging back and forth. Overtime the girl begins to fall in love with this boy. Suddenly, she receives a message stating that they were a relative to the boy. The message states that the boy had taken a cocktail of pills and committed suicide. Moments later she receives another message stating that this was all a scam and that she was part of a joke. The next day, she walks the halls and the ‘mean girls’ continue to tease her, calling her a fool and that she should do the same thing and take a cocktail of pills like her ‘imaginary’ boyfriend. The girl later returns home after school and replays the same message over and over in her head ‘Maybe you should take a cocktail of pills’. The girl can’t take it anymore and feels like the whole world is laughing at her. She walks up to her parent’s medicine cabinet and throws back a variety of pills. By saying this, the foolishness of bullying needs to be put to a halt once and for all.
Furthermore, a child’s education is often affected by bullying. For instance, children feel the only way to avoid being a victim of bullying is to drop out. According to bullyingstatistic.org website, “A reported 15 percent of all students who don’t show up for school report it to being out of fear of being bullied while at school”. Although that is a smart way to avoid a bully, it wouldn’t be very smart on the education level or life level. As a result, children who drop out of school because of bullying retain a risk of not being hired on a job due to not having a high school diploma. Also, bullying can cause a child to skip school. According to Levinson, “160,000 miss school for the fear of being bullied every day”. As a result, a victim of bullying will result in poor academics in school because the lack of participation. For example, if a child doesn’t retain academic skills like reading, he or she won’t be able to read emails, street signs, or simple instructions on cooking.
One solution that schools should require harsher punishment for school students. To enforce this method, schools should require logical consequences. For instance, by providing loss of privileges. For example, if a child is caught harassing another child on the playground, the child should lose the privilege of recess. Another way a child should be punished for bullying is in school suspension. This will be effective because the staff can keep an eye on the bully, and besides, the bully will not get behind on homework. Also, in worse cases criminal charges should be brought against the bully. For example, if a child causes physical harm to another child he or she should be fined, and if it continues after the fine, then the child should be placed in juvenile detention. In addition, the school staff needs to be more observant of children behaviors on school grounds and property. For example, the NSW Department of Education argues that “having clear expectations for student behavior and planning for areas around the school to be well supervised can also minimize the likelihood of bullying behavior”. Also, school staff should provide mandatory counseling with a bully. For example, by providing counseling to the bully, one can begin to help the bully with the underlying issue of why he or she possesses this kind of behavior.
Another solution is that schools need to strictly stand by the zero-tolerance policy. For example, school’s staff needs to make sure this policy applies to all students. For instance, a child should not be giving lesser punishment just because he or she plays sports, or he or she has a teacher that is a parent at the school. Also, it can help a victim who has been preyed upon by a bully. Consider this. A child becomes a victim of bullying for quite some time. Over time the bullying becomes worse, but instead of the bully being verbal, he or she becomes physical. The teacher then takes all the students to the principal’s office. While there, the principal uses the zero-tolerance policy which will the bring the bully to the right punishment for his or her actions. Having a zero-tolerance policy will help keep the violence down in school and help teach a child life lessons.
Lastly, many school’s staff will argue that they simply do not have enough staff to keep an eye on every child. Although this is true, the kids should be able to attend a school knowing they are safe to walk the halls. Schools can hire subs to fill in for teachers who are unavailable to take on playground duty or ride on the back of the bus to keep an eye out for bullying behaviors. According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, “Students reported that the most harmful things teachers can do are: tell the student to solve the problem themselves, tell the student that the bullying wouldn’t happen if they acted differently, ignored what was going on, or tell the student to stop tattling”. In addition, if staff members do not want to make sure the students are kept under control, they need to resign from their positions. By saying this, it should be a requirement for all staff members, upon being hired, to have a mandatory to learn about how to teach students become more confident and conflict, resolution skills needed for preventing bullying. School staff can also make it mandatory for students to take a bullying class each year to teach about how bullying will not be tolerated under no circumstance.
In conclusion, monsters in the closet, preparing for a test or being tardy for class are just some of the fears that many kids face every day. Imagine if your child visited a place that was supposed to be for learning, but instead became his or her prison. He or she walks down the halls constantly looking over one’s shoulder, or steps onto a bus, knowing that his or her bully is just waiting to use his or her body as a punching bag. His or her heart is screaming for help as the bully mutes the scream with another scar. By saying this, this horrifying epidemic needs to come to an end before another child ends up being placed in a casket as his or her final resting place.