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Anti Bullying : Prevent Stop Bullying in Schools Now! What are States Doing About It?
Bullying has been around as far back as I can remember. When I was a young girl, I had bullies. A boy who would closed fist punch me in the chest or kick me off my bike, a group of 4 girls who just picked me out of all the freshmen class to be their target. I remember feeling hurt, scared and defenseless. The teachers passed off the boys behavior as 'him liking me'. And for the girls? I was never given a reason and they were never punished. I eventually dropped out of school in the 9th grade.
Nearly one in five students in an average classroom is experiencing bullying in some way. If you are not the one bullying or be bullied, than you are a bystander, which can be just as powerful if as being the prey of bullying.
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is abuse. It is hurtful to another person. It can happen in many forms, such as:
- Punching, shoving, hitting, kicking and slapping.
- Starting and spreading rumors, telling lies and untruths that compromise the reputation of another.
- Isolating and neglecting another.
- Teasing and making fun of another person
- Getting others to gang up on another person
Not only does bullying happen face to face, but it happens through social sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Harassment can occur through websites, texting and emails.
April Himes was a lovely girl, bright and smart. However, she was the victim of daily attacks from bullies. She missed over 50 days of school without the blink of an eye from school officials. I say she was, because this sweet girl, of 13 years of age, committed suicide by hanging herself on Valentines Day.
Ben Vodden - 11 years old. Tortured daily on the school bus. His parents advised him to sit near the bus driver to be protected from the attacks. However, the driver joined in with the abusers, calling him names. Little Ben was found dead after hanging himself.
Maria Herrera, 12 years old. Everyday was a battle to hold her head high as her peers tormented her. "They used to beat her up, they used to harass her, curse at her, call her 'train tracks' because she had braces, they used to cut her hair," mother Mercedes Herrera said. "I went to the school, they didn't do nothing about it." Maria herself asked her school for help at least 20 times, but no help or documentation of her claims were ever made.
Her mother found Maria hanging by a belt in a closet of their home.
DESIRE' NICOLE DREYER, 16 years old. Gorgeous girl, a cheerleader and had a smile to brighten up any room. Popular amongst most, one group of girls decided she was not to be. Apparently jealous of her popularity and upbringing, these girls followed her, harassed her and ultimately caused her to feel lost, scared and alone. On January 18, 2006 she took her own life.
After Desire's passing the school refused to allow her schoolmates to attend the funeral, refused to let them wear dogtags made in her honor and refused to 'remember' her that day. It seems apparant that they thought if they ignored it, it never happened. They could not be more wrong.
I could continue to name children who have ended their lives due to bullying, it appears to be a never-ending list of names. That breaks my heart. It also makes me wonder, what are we, as a society, as school officials, as parents doing to protect our children?
While doing some research I found out just what our country (USA) is doing about bullying in our schools.
- Several state laws encourage schools to implement a bullying prevention program.
- Several states encourage or require employee training on bullying and bullying prevention
- At least six states require or encourage individuals to report school bullying incidents to authorities
Do you see the problem?
The States and Laws encourage actions to prevent or stop bullying. Not require, encourage. Am I missing something here? Are the statistics of bullying related suicides, dropouts and depression not enough? What is it going to take to convince those of 'power' to protect our kids?
Has it come to the point that we cannot trust our school teachers, counselors and principles to protect our babies when they are left in their care? Do we need to enroll our kids in Online High Schools or homeschool them ourselves?
Sadly, I'm beginning to think so.
What You Can Do
If you are being bullied or your child, there are things you can do. Try these steps:
- Know the school policies regarding Bullying and harassment. The school is supposed to provide a safe and secure learning atmosphere.
- Talk to teachers, counselors and administration. If a complaint is made, make sure to follow-up with them to see what actions have been taken.
- If you or your child is assaulted or physically hurt, call the Police! A crime has been committed and they are there to help and protect you.
- If all else fails, call an attorney that specializes in harassment. Your personal rights are being violated- Protect Yourself!
If your a bully- STOP!
If your being bullied- TALK!
- Tell your parents, school counselor or teacher, police, church officials, anyone who will listen and help. If the first does nothing, talk to the next, continue until someone makes it stop!
If your a bystander- STOP!
- By standing by and watching you are indirectly encouraging the bully. Bullies LOVE attention, so shake your head and walk away, or better yet, try to help the victim.
"If everyone believed they had a voice,
imagine how loud that noise would be!"
Listen To Your Kids
If you are a parent, I urge you to teach your children from an early age to respect others. Teach them that being different is okay. Teach them that it is NOT okay to make fun of or hurt another. Encourage your children to talk to you by offering a safe environment to do so. Kids learn by example, so if you criticize others and make fun, stop!
Think of what your children learn from your actions.
Observe your child's actions. If you see a drop in grades, isolation, hopelessness, mood swings, loss of appetite or increased, and/or loss of sleep- These are signs of depression and you need to contact a therapist or call your Doctor for an appointment right away.
Don't put it off hoping it'll change and by all means do not ignore the signs...their lives depend on it.