Bullying: Are Schools Doing Enough?

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That wasn’t very nice of me was it? Well, that’s what a lot of kids in school today are hearing. That plus a lot worse. Not only are bullies verbally abusive, they have now turned to physical abusing their prey. Bullying in schools has almost become a disease, and numerous children, as young as 7 years-old, have ended their own lives with suicide because of them. Are the schools, the ones we trust our kids with 8 or 9 hours a day, really taking the stand to protect them from Bullies?

Could you imagine being a 13-year-old girl, being spit on, and then having someone tell you, “”You’re a piece of shit, and no one likes you. That’s why your real dad left.”” Then you go to your teacher and principle seeking help, and they act like you are lying, seeking attention, or making a big deal out of nothing. Yeah, that’s what one mother, “”Who is also the G.E.D teacher in our town,”” told me her daughter has went through. (Anonymous)

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What if you were a 12-year-old boy, hanging out with your friends, acting goofy and being a little loud, but otherwise, not causing any problems, but your, 22-year-old, just out of College, teacher yells at you because you hear her tell you to stop talking. When you go to apologize, she kicks you so hard in the sheen, that the impression of her shoe is left on your leg.

You cry in front of your friends, who laugh, and the principle doesn’t do anything except for calling your mom into the school, and tell her that you have 1 week of detention for the incident. Your mom asks everyone in your class to tell her exactly what happened, and they tell you the same thing you did. They refuse to turn this teacher in, because they are afraid, she will be mean to them next. Scary as it may be; Bullying is not just Kid to Kid in schools, It’s also Teacher/Authoritative Figures to Kid.

Every school in our country says that they have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy against bullying, but do they really? Are they really doing everything they can to save our children? Are they hiring the right people to care for our children?

As a mother of a 2-year-old, I dread the day I have to send him off to this big ole’ world alone. Leaving him at school alone to endure whatever is to come. If I teach him to stand his ground and not back down to someone bullying him, He will get the bad name, the troublemaker. But, if I tell him to just suck it up, “”That sticks and stones break the bones, but words can never hurt you,”” I lie. Words cut the deepest and live a scar only you can see. The Bullies won’t stop, and who knows what could happen.

When I spoke with several of our local teachers this week, I got the same, rehearsed and animated answers. “”If we see bullying happen, or are told, we let the other teachers know. We then separate those kids from each other in every class.”” Or “”Oh, we don’t have any problems in our school with bullies, the kids would let us know.”” On the contrary, 57% of students being bullied don’t tell anyone. (Cidade, and Lessne) The number is so high, because kids fear retaliation, simple as that.

“”Well, we can’t do anything if id we don’t get told, we’re not mind readers.”” WELL….. That statement can be challenged.

Schools all over the county have implemented a new policy that all teachers and staff must take a, “”Bullying prevention training”” class. The state of Illinois has gone a step further, and are now holding weekly social-emotional curriculum, which teaches respect and kindness. (Wells)

Also, if schools would start encouraging a feeling of network in their classroom they can bring down bullying occurrences and encourage mending for victims. Research demonstrates that when victims feel associated with friends, they’re more adapt to dealing with harassment. Teachers likewise say, that training students to speak up when they witness harassing conduct, and to stand firm against it, can decrease future bullying circumstances by in excess of 50 percent. (Lesley)

Another option for in the classroom, is by making a protected place for students to convey what their needs are and just to feel heard. Outside of the classroom, Teachers should encourage students by helping them get associated with after school programs that line up with their pastimes and interests. To stop bullying completely requires consistent upkeep in schools. But, those strategies for taking care of bullying are obsolete and don’t keep exploited people from cyber bullying. As suspension or different disciplines may briefly quit bullying in schools, it does nothing in halting the badgering on the web. The availability to the internet makes it a simple method to discharge hostility to another victim. So, having something to do after school other than be on the internet all evening would help a lot.

When I spoke with Jimmy and Amanda Carter about their daughter Reagan, it was hard not to cry. Reagan was just your normal everyday 12-year-old girl, growing up in today’s society. Gone were the days of cartoons and Barbies, they had been replaced with Social media, YouTube followers, and makeup. Gossiping and Boys are all the rage now. But Reagan wasn’t ready to grow up that fast. She still wanted to crawl on the couch with mom and dad and watch Disney movies and eat popcorn. (J. Carter)

The last few weeks of Reagan’s life had been hell for her. Girls who she once considered friends started to turn on her and start problems. All because a boy like Reagan more than them. These girls made fun of Reagan in front of anyone and didn’t care. They knew their school wouldn’t do anything to them. They called her names like, THOT, titless, ugly, narc (Jimmy is a Cop), whore, skank, any name you could think of to run her in the ground. They tormented her all day, and night. Sending her nasty text messages, and creating fake profiles of her on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter. They would photoshop images of Reagen in racy situations and post them all over the internet.

Then they started making up lies on Reagan. We were getting phones calls saying Reagan was pregnant, that she had been sleeping with a high school boy, and one time was told it was a teacher. We knew these were lie’s, just kids being mean. So, we contacted the School principle and they told us they’d look into it. (A. Carter)

The night that Reagan ended her life, Jimmy and Reagan’s biological mother Melina, had decided that after Christmas break, she would be moving in permanently with Jimmy and Amanda and would be changing schools. But they never got the chance to tell her. Reagan went to a basketball game with a friend and her dad, this would be the final push that Reagan needed to just give up and end it. Girls started throwing food at her, spitting on her, even pushing her down the bleachers. The friend’s dad tried to intervene, but one of the girls who were involved in the harassment told him that, “Her dad was his boss and she would have him fired.”

WHAT 12-YEAR-OLD DOES THAT???

Reagan got home, kissed her baby sister, and went to the bathroom. She found a bottle of cold medicine pills and took every one of them. She stayed in there for about 30 minutes, then yelled for her mom Melina.

“Mom I’ve taken a bunch of medicine, and I think I’m going to be sick. I’m tired of everyone hating me, I’m tired of not having any friends, I hate my life, I’m done.” Those were the last words Reagan ever spoke. (J. Cater) She slipped into coma on 12-15-2015 and passed away 3 years ago today, 12-23-15.

Schools in this part of the country just aren’t taking Bullying seriously. We live in such small towns that since everyone knows everyone, the school districts think that things will just work itself out. Teachers are not much older than the students themselves, and if they were the bullies in their class, then will they actually take bullying seriously. Will they stand up for the child who is being picked on?

Our local school district has their own Anti-Bullying policy posted online and states the following:

Harassment and bullying may include, but are not limited to, the following behaviors and circumstances:

  1. Verbal, nonverbal, physical or written abuse, hazing, or other victimization that has the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim, or exclusion from a group.
  2. Repeated remarks of a demeaning nature that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim, or exclusion from a group.
  3. Implied or explicit threats concerning one’s grades, achievements, property, that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim, or exclusion from a group.
  4. Demeaning jokes, stories, or activities directed at the student, employee or volunteer that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim; and/or exclusion from a group.
  5. Unreasonable interference with a student’s performance or creation of an intimidating, offensive, or hostile learning environment that has the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim; and/or exclusion from a group. (Monroe County)

While doing research this seems to be the norm with policies, and it doesn’t seem to be doing any good. Bullies will put such fear into their victims that they will not come forward. They will keep everything to themselves and handle it alone. Even with the chance of their bullies getting into serious trouble with the law, kids don’t want to be considered narcs, or tattletales.

In the case with Reagan, all of this came too late. Only now is the school taking the case serious, calling in detectives to look into what was actually going on. The bullies have still been unidentified, but hopefully somewhere in their souls they have remorse, and feel bad for what they have done. None of this would have happened had Jimmy not pulled every string he had. Even turning in his badge, and becoming and state park ranger, to have a little extra pull.

It’s a sad day when schools won’t help just because they fear the repercussions that may fall on them. These are our children, the future of our country. Do we want them to grow up being mean and rude to everyone. How will they be when they are adults? When they are bosses, government officials, teachers, and even parents themselves?

Schools really need to start showing kids the ugly side of bullying. How it effects the victim mentally and physically. That’s one thing they could do to stop this from occurring. Show videos of how these kids were before the bullys started in on them and then show the after effects be that, pictures of wounds from cutting, hospital room pictures were a child has attempted suicide, to a picture of a casket with a mother draped over it screaming.

Teaching kindness and empathy at a young age and continuing it thought out the years in schools would help also. “Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and teachers need to embed this skill into their curriculum,” (Lesley University) Having feelings and knowing that others have them too is key. Teaching kids that having their feelings hurt is not fun and showing them when you treat others bad it hurts them just the same. Schools need to also start taking part responsibility to foster these habits. If a parent reports incidents multiple times and the school does nothing, when the child becomes physically hurt by their own hand, or someone else, then the school will be prosecuted.

Bullying is a significant issue that is affecting a lot of kids in the school and has been continuing to grow worse for quite a while now. There is the need to develop a strategy that will help eradicate it completely. Particularly the new type of bullying that has come about from cyber harassment. Anti-Bullying laws can help stop this sort of bullying as well as many other types of harassment. Cyberbullying is difficult to become aware of, yet its outcomes can be exceptionally harming, as seen by the Phoebe Prince case. The presence of such laws like the one in Massachusetts can help hinder bullies from being a menace because of the unforgiving punishments that are taken against them once they are prosecuted.

In conclusion: If you’re lucky enough to not have the leading role of a bully’s entertainment, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to stop one. In the event that you see somebody being harassed, speak out against the bully. This will enable the victim to feel safe. Bullying is awful for everybody, regardless of whether it occurs at school or on the web. Sometimes standing up for another person is less demanding than standing up for yourself. It takes a will to face to your bully. However, you may be surprised that others have your back if you decide to take the chance and stand up for yourself and #STOMPOUTBULLYING.

Works Cited

“6 Ways Educators Can Prevent Bullying in Schools.” Lesley University, lesley.edu/article/6-ways-educators-can-prevent-bullying-in-schools.

Anonymous Teacher we will call her, Beth. “My Daughter Was Bullied and I’m a Teacher: What Is Really Being Done.” My Daughter Was Bullied and I’m a Teacher: What Is Really Being Done., 29 Oct. 2018.

Carter, Amanda and Jimmy. “How Bullying Effected Reagan.” 24 Oct. 2018.

“Monroe County Anti-Bullying Policy.” Kids Club • Page – Monroe Public Schools, www.monroe.k12.mi.us/District/Department/16-District/1210-Untitled.html.

United States, Congress, Synergy Enterprises, Inc, Melissa Cidade, and Deborah Lessne Synergy Enterprises, Inc. “Trends in Bullying at School Among Students Ages 12 to 18.” Trends in Bullying at School Among Students Ages 12 to 18. National Center for Education Statistics, permanent.access.gpo.gov/gpo84875/2016004.pdf.

Wells, Valerie. “School Districts Take New Approach to Bullies.” Herald-Review.com, Herald and Review, 28 May 2017, herald-review.com/news/local/education/school-districts-take-new-approach-to-bullies/article_195ed77a-d4e9-5ecf-810e-4337009d7a02.html.

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