Bullying: the legal crime
On September 18, 2011 a 14-year-old Jamey Redeemer took his life after years of bullying. The news spread in a blink of an eye. The whole country mourned. Jamey cried for help for months. He regularly posted online about being bullied at school and how people would launch insults at him. Soon, students started to bully Jamey online. They posted horrible things like “I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!” Jamey left several messages on his blog letting everyone know that he was in trouble and needed help. But still no one listened. On Saturday night he posted a lyric from Lady Gaga’s song on his Facebook page which said: “Don't forget me when I come crying to heaven's door.” In a few hours he wrote that he was looking forward to seeing his great grandmother, who recently died. It was Jamey’s final message. (“Suicide: Police Consider Criminal Bullying Charges”)
As identified by the the United States Department of Justice, bullying has two key components: repeated harmful acts and an imbalance of power. “It involves repeated physical, verbal or psychological attacks or intimidation directed against a victim who cannot properly defend him- or herself because of size or strength, or because the victim is outnumbered or less psychologically resilient.”("Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series") In other words, children are verbally and physically assaulted by their peers every day. At school, bullies rip their victim's self-esteem to shreds while theirs gets high. It has become a huge problem in the U.S. Nearly 160 000 students stay home and miss school everyday due to the fear of being bullied. 20% of all children say they have been bullied and 20% of high school students say they have seriously considered suicide with the last 12 months. By age 24, 60% of bullies have a criminal record. (“National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a Part of the U.S. Department of Education”)
As a matter of fact, bullying can occur almost anywhere. At home. At work. At school or even on the street. It becomes a very widespread, invisible threat. Statistics go that that one out of 4 boys or girls will be bullied sometime throughout their childhood. (“The United States Department of Justice”) The media started to pay more attention to the problem of bullying recently. While it is seemingly impossible to defeat, it can be overturned. This is possible if parents get involved, students are taught how to identify and stop bullying, and if individuals stand up for and support the victims and bullies. These solutions overtime will definitely bring bullying to its demise.
One of the widespread questions is who truly a bully is, why does he or she behave in such a way or another. For the most part, bullies are the kids who feel insecure about their beliefs and appearance or who are the victims of bullying. In that case, bullying becomes a mental defense for the victims. “A number of researchers believe that bullying occurs due to a combination of social interactions with parents, peers and teachers. The history of the parent-child relationship may contribute to cultivating a bully, and low levels of peer and teacher intervention combine to create opportunities for chronic bullies to thrive (as will be discussed later).” ("Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series") A child that comes from a poor, abusive and usually one-parent family will probably end up a bully. Being picked on at school or simply rejected by the peers, kids tease smaller ones just to feel better about themselves and release negative energy.
Tracy Vaillancourt, Canada Research Chair in children’s mental health and violence prevention at the University of Ottawa claims that there are two types of bullies. The first type is the habitual bullies. “They tend to be really impulsive and have poor emotional regulation. And that represents about...
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