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What is bullying?
Bullying needs to be stopped. Victims tend to be disabled which can include autism and cerebral palsy, gay, transgender, bisexual, amongst other differences. These people need more protection from bullying so it does not cause low self-esteem, depression, or even lead to suicide. The anti-bullying law enacted in 2011 is slowly resolving the issues of bullying with the requirement of having an anti-bullying specialist in schools. Anti-bullying programs need to be increased in order to overcome bullying, with more identification, the rate of bullying should be decreased.
Verbal bullying is the most common form found in schools and is simply, name calling. (Bullying) Every day you hear it if you are going down the hallway in school or even in politics. Everyone experiences being called something cruel. Verbally bullying is that nasty name being called at you constantly. For instance, Phoebe Prince, a 15 year old girl that lived in Massachusetts, committed suicide after being called an “Irish s**t” on multiple occasions. (Eckholm) Besides verbal bullying, there is also social bullying, which also occurs pretty frequently. Social bullying includes spreading rumors, leaving someone out of a group, or breaking a friendship purposely to hurt them. Physical bullying is the most common among boys, which is punching, kicking and hitting. Cyber bullying, which is very common in today’s society, is any form of bullying over the internet or cellular device. (Bullying) A junior in high school, Michelle Duval was verbally bullied until a fire drill where some of the bullies ‘jumped’ her becoming a physical bullying. (Belkin)
Victims of bullying can be both easy and hard to identify. Victims are usually small, therefore weaker and smaller than the bully. Yet, in some cases the victim is bigger than the bully. The victim would just disapprove of using violence. The victim could be called out, because they are somehow different than their peers mentally or physically. If a student starts going through puberty before their peers, then they can become a victim of bullying. (At School) This is showing that if a person is different than their peers, it puts them at risk. (Bullying) Those who are lacking confidence could become victims as well. One of the largest rates of identification of a victim is their sexual orientation for example; if the person is gay, lesbian, bisexual etc. most likely there has to be some bullying involved. (At School)
Autism and Cerebral Palsy are some types of disabilities that are bullied. Autistic children have several symptoms that can make them vulnerable to becoming a victim. As an autistic child grows up, they may have a hard time making friends or may not have any friends. They are withdrawn, which is one of the stereotypical symptoms of a victim. It is hard for them to start and even maintain a conversation with people. In some cases, speaking is hard for them and they tend to use nonverbal communications or gestures to get what they want or need. (Autism) All of these relate to victims of bullying. In a recent study conducted by United States researchers, it was found that a child with autism are three times more likely to be bullied than their siblings. The study found that 63% of the growing children with autism have been bullied at least once in their life. One thousand two hundred parents completed a survey that the researchers gave out. The survey suggested that from ages six to fifteen or grades fifth to eighth is where the worst bullying occurs. The survey provided this statistic, 73% of the children with autism has been picked on or teased, 51% left out of groups, 47% were called bad names and 30% were physically bullied. (Autistic) Cerebral Palsy is another disability, which is mostly physical but can be also mental retardation, that is bullied. Most of the affected have an abnormal walk, if they can walk. In some very critical and rare cases, some are paralyzed, therefore they have to be in a wheel chair. Since they might be in a wheel chair or have an abnormal walk, they are different from the majority of people making them easy targets. People with cerebral palsy might have a slower growing rate compared to a person without the disability. They also might have learning disabilities, hearing, and speech problems. (Cerebral) An eleven year old girl, who has cerebral palsy, was going to school on a bus. The kids on the bus would spit in her face, hit her, and some of the kids would even throw open condoms at her. The girl appeared different than the students on the bus, therefore she was bullied. (Belkin)
Bullies can be identified easily. They usually are strong, loud, and provocative. Some bullies are not commonly quiet, but there are some who are. Most bullies want power over others, are stuck up, and lack empathy for others. The bully and the victim share one characteristic, they both are insecure. Some bullies have a personality disorder, in which they do not understand how people feel and by bullying, it makes them feel better about themselves. (Bullying)
When there is bullying, there are issues which have an effect on both the victim and the bully. Bullies and victims alike may not perform well in school due to psychological effects. The victims who have a few friends may stop talking to them, thus becoming anti-social. Most of the victims have a low self-esteem, but bullying may bring it down more causing a worse self-esteem. This also might cause anxiety, which is just one mental illness that bullying can cause. Bullying might cause depression or schizophrenia. (At School) Bullying is hard to deal with and it puts the victim in fear of every one, not just the bully. Although there is help for everyone, some students unfortunately feel that there is not and take their lives. (Bullying) Committing suicide is the worst effect out of all for everyone, not only the victim and bully.
According to kidshealth.org “one of every four elementary school bullies will have a criminal record before they are 30 years old”. (Bullying) Bullies have the tendency to smoke, drink, and use/drink illegal drugs. (Bullying) Since the bully does not do well in school, they might drop out, resulting possibly in low paying jobs. They tend to break laws or commit crimes, shoplifting being one of them. As they mature, they might become adult bullies meaning that the person would bully and abuse their family. (At School)
Suicide is the worst effect of bullying, but unfortunately very common. Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers committed suicide after being bullied by his roommate, Dharun Ravi, in 2010. It all started when Clementi asked if he could have the room for a night, and Ravi said yes. Ravi not trusting Clementi, set up a webcam to make sure nothing of his was stolen. Once activated and in Molly Wei’s room, they had a rude awakening. Instead, they found Clementi having a romantic meeting with another guy. They decided to watch as it went on, Ravi and Wei though it was cool and sent the link to their friends to watch. Ravi did not just watch Clementi and his date, but also posted it to Twitter. The first night that Clementi asked for the room this was posted on Twitter, “roommate asked for the room until midnight. I went into Molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay!” When Clementi asked for the room again Ravi posted, “I dare you to chat me between the hours of 9:30 and midnight. Yes, it’s happening again.” Then later posted, “don’t you dare chat me.” Clementi had checked Ravi’s Twitter a total of 38 times within the two days before jumping off the George Washington Bridge. A few minutes before jumping Clementi posted, “jumping off the GW Bridge. sorry” on Facebook. (Tyler) Ravi and Wei were arrested. They were invading privacy of man. Ravi had a set bail at $25,000 and released while Wei was set free with out bail. (Recovered) Ravi has been found guilty and is now facing time in jail. He knew that his actions would intimidate Clementi, but he just continued to watch. The jurors believe that Ravi is anti- gay therefore he was trying to embarrass Clementi and did better than a good job of it. Ravi also risked being deported back to India where he was born. (Tyler)
Phoebe Prince, a fifteen year old girl from South Hadley High School in Western Massachusetts committed suicide. Prince a recent Irish immigrant would be constantly called an “Irish s**t”, by mouth, over the internet, and even on her cell phone. The students who bullied her would also spread rumors and knock her books out of her hands during passing time. Ashlee Dunn, a sixteen year old girl, from the South Hadley High School said that she heard things in the hallways of the school about Prince, but did not know if they were true or not, the two did not know each other personally. The investigation determined tha two boys raped her when she was underage. The boys were charged with statutory rape charges and the six teens were charged with violation of civil rights and harassment. The students violated Prince’s civil rights, because they were making fun of her nationality. (Eckholm) Asher Brown a thirteen year old boy shot himself a few days after telling people he was gay. His family believed that it was the school’s fault that Brown committed suicide. The school did nothing when complaints were filed. Secretary of the education Arne Duncan states that “unnecessary tragedies are brought on by trauma of being bullied.” If the child is GLTB (gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual) it is a nine to ten chance of being bullied. Another thirteen year old boy, Seth Walsh, who was gay, committed suicide around the same time Asher did. Jamie Elanine Phillips, a friend of Seth said that “people would say; you should kill yourself, you should go away,” and even “ you’re gay, who cares about you.” Glenna Testone, the executive director of LGBT community center, says that 50 young people a day are being bullied. (McKinley)
On January 6 of 2011, New Jersey enacted the reviewed bill against bullying. The bill was originally enacted in 2002 then revised in 2007 to add cyber bullying. Only 45 states in the United States have bullying laws, New Jersey and New York included. New York and New Jersey were amongst the first to revise the bullying law in 2011. (Perez) In the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act” 2008 editing, schools are required to post their anti-bullying strategies on their website and distribute it to the people of the school district, parents and students included. The study done by United States researchers states that by a 2009 study, “32% of students aged 12 through 18 were bullied in the previous school year,” and “25% of the responding public schools indicated that bullying was a daily or weekly problem.” The recent 2011 editing has required all teachers to attend a training session on bullying before they start to teach. Elected board members have one year from election date to attend the training program. If they do not attend these programs, they must step down from office. This will help school officials become aware of bullying and help them identify it, in order to stop it. Between September first and June thirtieth, there are two terms that the principal of the school must report all bullying incidents and investigations, at least once in each term. The principal also must include what program or educational program is used in the school and what program was used with the student who bullied another. Once every term, the information will be reported to the Department of Education, after it has gone through the board of education. The bill requires each school district to have a statement against bullying and a statement about what bullying is. This information is on most of schools websites and around the school. Most schools have a statement ruling out bullying and a definition of what bullying is. After the bill was enacted, schools are required to have an anti- bullying specialist. The principal of the school would pick one person that is already employed by school that would be qualified for this role. The job of anti-bullying specialist would be the head of the safety of the children to ensure the students are safe. If a bullying incident were to happen, this person would be the leader of the investigation. The anti-bullying specialist would help strengthen the current standards in the school and would talk to the other specialists in the district and board of education, on how to respond to the bullying. (S) After the death of Prince, Massachusetts decided to revise their anti-bullying law. The law now requires teachers and the administration to report any bullying immediately to begin the investigation to stop bullying. It also requires the teachers to understand and know the effects of bullying and what can be done to stop it. People say that this law is going to change the school’s culture and hopefully get rid of bullying. (Eckholm).
There are ways to stop bullying. Some schools have started prevention programs. In South Hadley High School, in Western Massachusetts, where Prince attended, the school created an anti-bullying force. The force would help with the dangers of bullying and slowly get them removed. Bill Evans an administrator of the group, says that “ that’s the clear message we’re trying to send- if you see anything at all, online, though friends, you have to tell us.” He is saying that if you see something, do something, do not just be a bystander. (Eckhom) The school that Seth Walsh went to is now having quarterly assemblies to identify and stop bullying. The superintendent, Richard L. Swanson and his staff are also participating in the assemblies. (McKinley) Victims can even help themselves if they can. They can try to talk to an adult who can talk with them and even send the victim to a mental health facility, if they need it. In these places, doctors and other professionals may be able to restore self-esteem, confidence, and possibly relieve the person of any depression. Bystanders should help as well in these situations. They should go to an adult and tell them what they saw or they can intervene and help the victim. When in the halls of a school, the victim should try to always have people or friends surrounding them, so they are not obvious to the bully. People who see the bullying, who is an adult should try to get the victim to mental help. (Bullying) In August of 2010, a bullying prevention program was made. This was made by Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, in Washington. President Obama was impressed and increased the funding for anti-bullying programs. (At School) President Obama and his administration created the federal program called “Stop Bullying Now!” Stop Bullying Now sends out messages on Facebook, twitter, and YouTube to get people to pledge against bullying. (Antibullying)
President Obama has raised funds to help anti-bullying programs succeed to help America end bullying. Bullying has led to multiple deaths in society causing the bill to be revised and strengthened. Autistic, cerebral palsy, and GLTB patients are prone to bullying due to their looks, actions, and difference of opinions. These people are affected in a way that could never be fixed if we do not help them. Anti-bullying programs need to be more frequent and attention grabbing.
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McKinley, Jesse. "Suicides Put Light on Pressures of Gay Teenagers." New York Times 3 Oct. 2010. New York Times. Web. 10 Apr. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/04/us/04suicide.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Suicides%20put%20light%20on%20pressure%20of%20gay%20teenagers&st=cse>.
Peres- Pena, Richard. “Christie Signs Tougher Law On Bullying in School.” New York Times. 6 January. 2011. The New York Times. Web. 10. March. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/nyregion/07/bully.html?scp=1&sq=Christie%20signs%20tougher%20law%20on%20bullying%20in%20school&st=cse>
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