Are New Anti-Bullying Laws Really Working?
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself” (Field). These words, quoted from British anti-bullying activist Tim Field, provide great advice for children who may be victims or potential targets for bullies. The State Government is trying to answer the plea for justice and prevention of the rising epidemic of schoolyard bullies; actions which have been linked to cases of school shootings and suicides. The impact of this behavior is detrimental psychologically to both the victims and the bullies. Almost every state in the country has implemented new laws that require all school districts to enforce an anti-bullying program and to prosecute all students who violate the standards quantified in their legislation. The problem that arises with this new regulation is that the definitions used for bullying aren’t concise or in depth enough to help each individual case because of varying factors including, but not limited to, specific behavioral issues, types of bullying, and causes for the bully’s demeanor. These laws also don’t work because of the controversy that they are in direct violation of assorted student’s rights. There are astounding national statistics related to this school crisis on our children. In 2012, according to Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, almost one third of every student is bullied in one fashion or another, totaling close to 13 million children every year (“Bullying Statistics”). With these numbers comes a surprising realization, 64% of those victims never report what happens to them leaving a small 36% of children that actually testify to this behavior (“Bullying Statistics”). Another study conducted by the Josephson Institute’s Center for Youth Ethics in 2010 attested that 47% of high school students who participated in the survey had been bullied to some degree but this information demonstrated that 50% of those victims had also been guilty of being a bully (Cloud). There are people who believe that the concept of bullying has not become a more prevalent problem over the years. Everyone typically can remember at least one case of bullying during our own school years. Though it may be hard to gauge how many students are actually victims of this behavior because of the unreliability of children reporting these actions. Regardless of how many more or less people are involved in these actions now, the problem still exists. It is important to try to prevent our children from going through it themselves. Teaching kids respect, morality, and to stand up for themselves will help them to succeed not only in school but later in life. Pediatricians have changed their policies to include addressing bullying as a major focus for preventing violent behavior in today’s youth (Holt 53). There are those who do believe that the behavioral characteristics of bullying are necessary for the growth of children. Survival and competition have been traits of human nature since the beginning of time. Even the term “bully”, used to describe acts of aggression towards others, has been used as early as the 1530’s (Donegal 33-34). The idea that survival and competition has always been a part of human nature feeds the perception that “bullying” has always been a part of strengthening children and can be used as a learning tool (Kalahar). The older public’s beliefs that “we survived bullying and turned out ok”, hinting that this form of teaching or learning doesn’t leave any lasting impressions on a child’s psychological state. This is untrue. Many researchers in the field of psychology have conducted countless experiments to determine that being a victim to a bully, or even being a bully, can seriously impact a person’s mind and behavior (Holt 57). Bullying has been illustrated by some researchers as “repeated acts of aggression, intimidation, or coercion” towards someone who is...
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