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Bullying

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For two years, Johnny, a quiet 13 year old boy from Norway, was a target of bullies. The teenagers bothered Johnny for money, forced him to swallow weeds and drink milk with detergent, beat him up in the bathroom, and tied a string around his neck, leading him around school as a “pet”. When Johnny’s bullies were interrogated, they said they pursued their victim because it was fun (Dan Olweus). One out of four kids is bullied each month (American Justice Department). Bullying is a big problem that can make people feel hurt, scared, sick, lonely, embarrassed and sad. Bullying can make a school a place of fear and can lead to violence and stress for everyone. To begin, bullying is when a person is repeatedly exposed to negative actions on the part of one or more other people. It can take the form of physical contact, verbal abuse, or making faces or rude gestures. Harassment, teasing, ridicule, and emotional or physical violence can lead to low self-esteem and depression, then number one cause of suicide. Three quarters of all kids say they have been bullied or teased (Kids Health-Dealing with Bullies). It may seem that bullying is not a main concern, but there are indications that the level of bullying has increased over the last 10-15 years. The most frequent and sever forms of bullying have risen the most (?). 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month (BullyHelp). Thirty-nine percent of middle schoolers and thirty-six percent of high schoolers say they don’t feel safe at school (Josephson Institute of Ethics). A school's failure to deal with bullying endangers the safety of all its students by allowing a hostile environment to interfere with learning. People need to start recognizing that bullying has become a big problem, and put a stop to it before it gets worse. To continue, bullying is viewed as an important contributor to youth violence, including homicide and suicide. Case studies of the shooting at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 have suggested that bullying was a factor of the incident. Victims can become depressed, their grades could drop, and they may begin to not want to go to school anymore. Victims can also lose their appetites, or have problems making friends. Bullying affects bullies too. Bullies are apt to not be able to maintain close friendships and generally don’t do well in school. Bullying during their youth can lead to acts of delinquency and criminal activity. Former school bullies are four times more likely than other pupils to engage in relatively serious crime (Research Centre for Health Promotion). Bullies tend to come from families that show little affection, and may show high rates of conflict, aggression, and immature play. Bullying can have a serious effect on both the bullies and the victims. In addition, there are many ways to stop bullying. Sometimes the best way to stop bullying is to get everyone in the school on board. Everyone must recognize that bullying is a big problem that is happening all around us, the entire school can help make your school a bully-free zone. Most bullying happens where there are either none or few supervisors around. Only 25% of students report that teachers intervene in bullying situations (Harvard School of Public Health). If teachers and staff reinforce the rules on bullying, and if schools maintain a higher visibility of the school playgrounds, or main places of bullying, then it may decrease the amount of bullying incidents. Many schools should try and start a Bully Prevention Program. It could establish teacher discussion groups at each school that could receive training on ways to stop bullying. A school’s duty is to protect students from bullying and ensure it is dealt with if it occurs. Bullying takes a toll on people’s lives whether they are the bullies, the victims, or even bystanders. It can cause severe damages to a person’s life, and is a big factor in depression, which is the main cause of suicide. When bullying is ignored or downplayed, students suffer ongoing torment and harassment. Bullying can be found in every school in the country, which is the reason that schools must recognize its extent and impact and take steps to prevent it from happening. School action can dramatically reduce the number of bully incidents. Stopping bullying is everyone’s responsibility, and kids should speak out against bullying when they see it happening. Most kids are afraid to speak up to a bully for fear of retaliation. Bullying can make people feel sick or scared, and can make kids not want to go to school. Fifteen percent of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school (North Dakota State University Research). Bullying can take the form of physical contact, verbal abuse, or making faces and rude gestures and can lead children and teenagers to feel tense and afraid. Bullying affects many people and for some, the effects of bullying last a lifetime.

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