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Bullying

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BULLYING
A bully is a person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people, according to Merriam-Webster. The example of a bully has since evolved from the 1950’s Walt Disney version of the big, tall fat kid who goes around terrorizing the other ten year olds. The new aged bully no longer steals your lunch money, pushes you around and calls you names, now it’s far more psychological than it appears. But what are the affects that a bully has on the person that they harass and push around. The story we always hear is the bully will eventually get what’s coming to them and the defenseless kid rides happily off into the sunset. Is that true and is that what really happens? Reports have shown that 77% of students have reported being bullied in school and in fact an estimated 160,000 students miss school each day for the fear of being bullied.
When your child comes running home from school upset that one of the bullies at school has been picking on him, as a parent your first initial react could be that your child may just need to ignore him or your other reaction to the situation could be that you’d like to go up to the school and talk with the teacher or principal. The proper way psychologist say you should react to speaking with your child is to try to be empathetic and ask them, “What do you think might help?” This will help make your child feel that everything is fine and that the problem will be addressed and give them a feeling of reassurance. This is the proper way to handle a situation where someone is being bullied, but it’s not always the most likely situation to happen. The majority of kids who are being bullied do not tell anyone that someone is making fun of them or pushing them around. This is where it is important to pay close attention to the warning signs to help you as a friend, parent or bystander recognize the indications that a child is being bullied. The first warning sign is an increased sense of passivity or withdrawal so if your child becomes very submissive and not often defending themselves even against the lightest of jokes this could be something to watch. Not wanting to go to school is another sign that your child is being bullied. School isn’t exactly at the top of most children’s priority list but when they make a relentless effort to make up any excuse not to go to school that is something to give attention. Frequent crying and unexplained marks or bruises. Especially with little kids they are quick to tell stories of how they scratched their knee or got a cut from rolling around in the pile of wood chips, so if there are marks on their body that they do not care to tell you about then there is a good chance they are victims of bullying. Lastly, a drop in grades and change in a child’s speech are warning signs that they are being bullied. If they are being bullied their mind may not be focused on school or their schoolwork and more focused on the bully and the change in speech like saying things negatively about themselves or others. All these are signs for a parent or friend to pay attention to and the slightest helping hand to a victim of bullying can go much further than you think.
Since the Columbine High School Massacre in Columbine, Colorado schools have taken a no tolerance approach with bullying in schools. It has proven that it was the right approach for schools to take because between the school years of 2006 and 2007 an estimated 100,000 students kindergarten through the twelfth grade have admitted to bringing a gun to school. Dr. Mark Dombeck has studied the long term affects of bullying to the victims and says that the short term affects of being the victim of a bully are anger, depression, increased incidents of illnesses, anxious to avoid social situations for fear of bullies, drop in grades and an increase in likeliness to commit suicide or to have suicidal thoughts. Moreover, 20% of the people who attempted suicide testified that they were often victims of bullying growing up. In the long term, Dr. Dombeck has said that it’s proven that long term bullying leads to a reduction in occupational opportunities, lingering feels of anger and a desire for revenge, a constant struggle to trust people, fear of new social situations and new people, overly sensitive and often see themselves as easy to victimize, deep self esteem problems and an increase in the frequency in which they are bullied.
Columbine High School was shook forever by the massacre that took place on April 20th, 1999 when students Erik Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into their school and opened fire on their whole student body and school’s faculty. It was the largest school massacre in American history and rightfully so the most publicized school killing. After the dust had settled and both Erik Harris and Dylan Klebold were both dead, after committing suicide, people wanted answers and they wanted to know how something like this can happen. This opened the world’s eye, particularly America’s eyes to the real effects of bullying and to the magnitude that had been going on at CHS. During the trial many parents gave their testimonials of how bad the bullying was some parents spoke of the athletes and the “Trench Coat Mafia,” a group of students that prided themselves of how badly they made fun of students and harassed them. Parents of the deceased told of how the “Trench Coat Mafia” would go to the Southwest Plaza Mall, a mall located near the high school, would sit around and make fun of people’s religions, scream out racial slurs, and harass people. Their favorite targets were Erik Harris and Dylan Klebold who they would often see at the mall along with their other friends. Another parent of a student who survived the shootings told of how for the two years she had attended Columbine High it was ran worse than a zoo. She said how often people were made fun of and how everyone was a target if it wasn’t because of your hobbies it was your appearance and if it wasn’t due to your appearance it was your religion and if it wasn’t for that it was your race. Everyone was a victim at the school, while everyone knew it teachers and administration just sat back and let it all unfold. Even a special education teacher made it public that the athletes would routinely make fun of her special needs students and say some of the cruelest things to them that she had ever heard. It was all brought to the principal’s attention during staff meetings and every time she was ignored. It was apparent that the administration didn’t understand the implications of their actions or lack of action to diffuse the bullying situation. This is why there is such an emphasis on no tolerance for bullying, because this is just one of many examples of the affects of bullying on the victims. Since Klebold’s and Harris’ situations weren’t taken seriously innocent students had to pay the ultimate price for an over haughty administration who didn’t do their jobs to educate their students and maintain a safe environment for them.
In the Journal of Family Psychology (2003), a study was done to see how bullying is carried out inside of the home. Researchers found that, in an effort to find out more about behavioral problems, children who are bullied by their brothers or sisters or children whose brothers and sister spoke critically of them were more likely to be arrested or to abuse drugs and alcohol at a young age. Sibling bullying is probably the most overlooked type of bullying because it is often taken as friendly poking at one another. Sibling bullying is also more detrimental due to the fact that when a child leaves school the bully can no longer pick at or harass their victims, but with bullying that is done by an older brother or old sister there is no escape. The sibling can constantly make fun of the other sibling at school in front of their friends, at home in front of the family and whenever they are out in public with one another. The victim is really at an absolute disadvantage, if the victim tells the parent what’s happening then the bullying probably will get worse, if they don’t tell the bullying will carry on, and if they keep going back to the parent about the reoccurring bullying then it may come off as the victim is being whiney and making the situation more than it really is. This is why it is imperative that parents listen to the problem a child is having with a bully and try to take the right measures to handle the situation. Particularly with females, the long-term risks that come along with being bullied are an increase in psychiatric hospitalization and a need for psychiatric medicines and treatments. Some of the common short term risks of being bullied are being socially isolated and hindering their ability to maintain a relationship with other along with the ability to even make friends. A short term affect that can transform into a long term problem is when a person who is being victimized by a bully they tend to feel as if they must emulate the actions that others have done to them. Obviously it’s been well known for a while that those who are bullied often have very low self-esteem and do not think highly of themselves. Moreover in the book 101 Facts about Bullying, it speaks about bullying over an extended period of time heightens their likelihood to be involved in delinquent behavior such as: weapon possession, substance abuse, and self-abuse. In the book Bullying in Secondary Schools they spoke about the statistics of bullying and gave an in depth look at the gravity of the affects of bullying:
Long term- Bullying is linked to psychosomatic symptoms, depression, and psychiatric referral. Studies show that victims of bullying show a higher risk for suicide ideation (thinking about it, or doing it) (20) when research was carried out in a Australian high school over a twp year period they found that 31% of boys and 46% girls felt worse about themselves. 40% boys, 60% girls felt angry and miserable. 14% boys, 12% girls stayed away from school as a result of bullying, (21) found a relationship between being bullied and poor mental health. Adolescents who reported high levels of victimization in the first two years of high school also reported relatively low levels of personal well being three years later. This behavior can continue through adulthood. Bullying in adolescences stunts growth towards individuation and is like a disease that distorts the development of the self and the formation of healthy relationships. (21) Bullying is no longer seen as something everyone goes through time to time through his or her voyage towards adulthood. The victims of bullying have all shown us the significance of how bullying can affect a person in the short term and long term. Even though bullying gains most of its luster and interest throughout the school system it doesn’t limit itself to the confines of an educational building, bullying can take place at home, at work, church or at the grocery store. We do not know what predicaments a victim of bullying is going through outside the actual bully. It is imperative, as a bystander, that we take bullying seriously and address the problem accordingly. Between the grades of 4th grade and 6th grade students have reported 23% of them were bullied on a regular basis. Erik Harris and Dylan Klebold showed us the implications of how being a constant victim of bullying, for no other reason than the way you look or the way you dress or what you like to do in your spare time, can affect someone five years or ten years down the road.

Works Cited

101 Facts About Bullying. Lanham: Meline Kevorkian and Robin D'Antona, 2008. Print.

Bullying in Secondary Schools. Thousand Oaks: Keith Sullivan Mark Cleary Ginny
Sullivan, 2004. Print.
Working with Parents of Bullies and Victims. Thousand Oaks: Walter B. Roberts Jr.,
2008. Print.
Menesini, Ersilia. "Bullying and Victimization in Adolescence." Galileo. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, June 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 12010.

Outline

There are been increasing reports of bullying and the psychological effects its having on adolescents.

I. Signs of victims of bullying A. Immediate signs 1. Bruising 2. Avoiding school 3. Quiet and withdrawn

II. Psychological effects A. Long-term effect 1. Drug abuse 2. Violent 3. Afraid of social situations III. When nothing is done A. Emotional problems B. School shooting

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