Have you ever been bullied?
I have. I grew up in Nebraska, a predominately white – caucasian state. I am an East Indian adoptee to two amazing, white parents. I also have one younger brother and four younger sisters – three of whom are Korean adoptees. The elementary, middle and high schools I attended (as well as my younger siblings), were all private, Lutheran Christian schools. Regardless of whether the school was religious or not, I was bullied. I was called names, looked at strangely, even physically intimidated (though never hit). Though my friends stuck up for me, and accepted me for who I was, the bullying still hurt. I kept quiet about it and just tried to shrug it off, and move on with whatever I was doing. My sisters were also bullied a little, called names and such. My parents taught my siblings and myself to look for bullying, and to speak out against it.
Thankfully, many of the kids who were the bullies, ended up leaving the schools I attended, and the rest of my classmates got along with me fine.
So, how do we tackle this issue?
There seems to be no easy to tackle the issue of bullying. Physical bullying is a problem, but cyber bullying is increasingly becoming a problem as well. Cyber bullying is using technology such as the Internet to harass or threaten someone. Some states such as Wisconsin, are criminalizing bullying online. According to the new law passed in Wisconsin, if someone is found guilty of cyber bullying, that person can be fined up to $500, and spend a maximum of 30 days in jail. While this sounds like an effective way of dealing with one type of bullying, will it really do much as a deterrent?
Bullies are often, though not always, children of broken homes. Their parents may be divorced, abusive, alcoholic or chronic drug users, or have some other issue. These children, living in such homes, don’t understand what is happening at home, or why their parents do such things. If their parents are abusive, they will learn to accept it as “normal” (which it isn’t). In turn, they’ll also learn that the only way to deal with their own problems, is to intimidate and physically or verbally abuse someone else. The victims are subjected to physical and psychological harm. If it’s bad enough, some children have committed suicide (like in the cases of Felicia Garcia, Amanda Todd, and even a 10-year-old girl).
It’s a major tragedy whenever someone takes their own life due to bullying.
Many anti-bullying movements and programs have started in the past decade. Parents, teachers and school administrators are beginning to take steps to prevent bullying by creating awareness. Everyone needs to speak out whenever they see bullying happen, and we should think of ways to correct bullying behavior without the use of threats (monetary fines or jail time).
Here‘s a great website for more information about bullying, what it is and how to help prevent it.