February 26, 2008
By Lauren Newmyer, Katy, TX

Recent statistics from endthehate.com report 77% of students are bullied mentally, verbally, & physically. One out of four kids is bullied by another youth. Each day 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied. 100,000 students carry a gun to school. 282,000 students are physically attacked in school each month. 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school. Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention - 4%. Peer intervention - 11%. No intervention - 85%. These are all things I probably would have laughed at a year ago.

Through out my life I have lived in approximately twenty nine different houses. I have gone to every type of school: public, private, religious. I had been going to a small private school for several consecutive years where there were a grand total of 143 students in all six grades when I was ripped out and shoved into a school that had about fifteen times that amount. It was a change that not even I was sure I could adjust to.

At my school everyone knew each other. You could not walk down the hall without being stopped by someone. This only made it easier to talk bad about people. You could easily walk into a room and sit down with a group of people and start talking about someone. Instantly they would know who they were and exactly what you were talking about. They would usually join in and add in things about that person that were unknown beforehand.

Gossiping was all done behind backs and never up front. Never did anyone resort to actual fistfights in the hall, but there was more than enough gossip and backstabbing to make up for that. It was possible to bring down a well kept reputation in mere minutes.

Speakers would come and tell us the dangers rumors and gossip can cause people. Random people would tell me stories about how their life fell apart after hearing only a few insults from a classmate. These assemblies were always met with hushed laughter behind hands and no one took anything the speaker said serious. It did not matter how deep the lecture would be or how hard the speaker tried to relate to use they could never reach anyone. We heard lectures from parents whose children were pushed to cutting and drugs, because of bullying. A teenager from another school told us a story of being shoved down some stairs. None of these stories registered in my brain. It seemed unreal.

The only affect of bullying I ever saw at any of my schools was one day in eighth grade. I had gone into the bathroom to use my phone and I saw a girl crying over at the sinks. I asked her what was wrong, not because I cared, but because I wanted to hear the drama. She told me it was only her mascara. I knew it wasn’t I had heard the rumors just that morning about her.

On the first day of school walking into that new building for the first time I had no idea what I would be exposed to. I expected an environment similar to the one I was used to. I was smacked with a rude awakening the very first second when I saw actual security guards walking down the halls as if it was some sort of prison and they were making their rounds. It made me angry how they acted like we were children that needed some sort of babysitting.

I soon realized that bullying was real and so were the effects. It is not some myth parents whisper to their children so that they will play nice with the other kids. Bullying does actually happen.

Bullying comes in many forms. I’ve seen it all. The three main types are: physically, mentally, and sexually. Finding an example for each is not hard.
I was shocked when I saw my first fight. It was between two boys in the hallway. A larger boy had cornered another much smaller boy in the hall, because he had accidently knocked his backpack off his shoulder. The larger boy demanded an answer to his actions as the smaller boy stood there scared not saying a word. I heard a loud slam as a backpack fell and I turned to see the two boys on the ground beating each other and looking like they would never stop. Nobody moved to stop them. Instead people crowded around and cheered them on. It was physical bullying.
Biology class always bored me. At times I found myself either falling asleep or hiding my phone underneath my desk to text with. I was sitting there one day quietly finishing a quiz when I heard a few girls talking. They were laughing loudly about some girl. They happily ridiculed every inch of her personality and appearance. It was something I had done many times with friends and did not shock me for a second. The one thing that did surprise me was the target of the conversation who was sitting only a few desks away and obviously in hearing distance just sat there quietly. She did not even look up from her paper as they went on to bash every detail of her. I could not comprehend how someone could just sit there and not respond. The worst part was the teacher who sat quietly on her computer not saying a thing. She must have heard it to, the whole class did. It was mental bullying.
One girl with a group of three boys is what I saw as I turned down the hall one day. They were talking softly as I walked past, but they were still audible. The groups of boys were blatantly taunting the girl about stories her ex boyfriend had told them about her. They were begging her to make the stories true. She stood their quietly looking down at her scuffed up shoes. It was sexual abuse.

Spotting the targets was not hard to find. The kids that were bullied the most kept their head down in class as if they were scared of looking up. If you tried to talk to them they kept their guard up as if they were waiting to be turned into the joke. They never looked comfortable.
I know girls that will wear their gym clothes to school, because they fear the locker room. They fear being scrutinized and picked apart by their fellow classmates. There whole day they spend being anxious and scared of only one class that lasts about forty minutes.

Seeing someone bullied was a regular occurrence. It was no longer just in the videos at the assemblies. It would happen every day in front of my face. The worst part was when someone I knew would become the target of bullying. I never was sure if I should stand up for them or ignore them. I would always hesitate not sure what I would do. I did not want myself to turn into the target instead. This was something I never believed I would be challenged with.

I came to believe the security guards were right we were in a prison and we did need babysitting. Endthehate.com reports that 14% of all children that are bullied will experience long lasting mental effects. I think that is a lie. I believe anyone that has been bullied will have long term effects. They will never forget the people that made their life turn into h***. They will probably remember the faces and names till the day they leave this world forever.

Bullying is a problem that still continues. Do not be naïve and say it does not even if you might not see it or personally experience it. Do not be stupid and say mean comments don’t matter to a person.

The root of bullying I believe is that people do not realize the effects their actions have on people. After having this experience of being up close and seeing the real and actual reactions of those being harassed every day I realize that this is one of America’s youth’s greatest problems. Even though it was not I who was dealing out the hurtful rumors and comments this time, I saw the effects. Every time I saw a girl crying or looking hurt over a comment that was made I felt it was I who caused it even though I did not even know her name. It was the simple fact that I knew I had caused that to similar girls in years past.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Oct. 22 2010 at 2:37 pm
I really enjoyed this post. I am a high school teacher and am going to print this out and share it with my classes. It goes right along with the bullying stuff we have been talking about this week. Thank you!

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