Bullies Need a Harsher Punishment

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Tenesha Bolden
March 15, 2012
English 4A

Bullies Need a Harsher Punishment
Bullying is on the rise in the U.S.; therefore, more researchers are attentive to the effects of bullying. There are extreme cases wherein victims have resorted to drastic measures. Bullying is a widespread plight, which is having both emotional and tragic effects; therefore, bullies should be harshly prosecuted and imprisoned. In arguing that bullies need a harsher punishment, this research paper will closely examine the types of bullying and statistics, detail two teen suicide cases, and provide the state law. According to Dan Olweus, research professor of psychology from Norway and creator of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, defines bullying as “A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself" (“What is Bullying”). Olweus additionally contends that there are three essential components: aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions, a pattern of behavior repeated over time, and an imbalance of power or strength. Types of Bullying. Bullying is not merely name calling or shoving a kid into a locker; there are several types. Physical bullying involves the use of physical force or intimidation tactics e.g. hitting, kicking or pushing another person, or even threatening to do it. Verbal bullying entails name-calling, teasing, insulting, and gossiping. Emotional bullying, which is “the most harmful form of bullying”, occurs when there is harm to someone's self-esteem or feeling of safety (Shindler, “Types of Bullying”). The latest form of bullying is cyber bullying or internet bullying. It includes creating websites filled with false information, blogging, instant messaging, e-mailing, and text messaging.

Statistics. On a daily basis bullying has become a frightening nightmare for far too many of today’s youth. According to bullyingstatistics.org, an informational website with information on preventing bullying, harassment, violence, online bullying, and school bullying, “Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC); bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University” (2009). In addition, a survey of middle and high school students in America concluded that 66% of victims of bullying believe school professionals respond poorly to the bullying problems that they observed (Sampson, “Bullying Schools”). Perhaps the number of bullying incidents would be less if parents and school officials were aware of the warning signs. The following are common symptoms that a child is being bullied: not wanting to go to school, anxiety, sadness, lack of self-esteem, sudden drop in school performance, trouble sleeping or eating, sudden aggressive behavior or displays of temper, conflict with siblings or playmates, repeated loss or damage of to personal belongings, and unexplained injuries (Lee, “Warning Signs”). In the subsequent teen cases, warning signs were ignored.

Teen Suicide Cases
Phoebe Prince was not just an immigrant girl; she was a beautiful 15-year-old girl who moved to South Hadley, M.A. from a small village in western Ireland. Like many teenage girls driven by a technological social life, Phoebe created a profile on a popular networking site. Unbeknownst to her, trying to fit in would ultimately rear its ugly head. As a freshman, she dated Sean Mulveyhill, but after their breakup, he and four other persons began to harass Phoebe Khadaroo, “Phoebe Prince). They constantly teased her at school and sent her nasty text messages (Donaldson James, “Immigrant Teen”). On January 4th Phoebe’s body was found; she had hung herself. A little over a year after Phoebe’s death,...
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