Bullying: The Effect on Our Nation

July 3, 2011
By ninapaniena PLATINUM, Sammamish, Washington
ninapaniena PLATINUM, Sammamish, Washington
20 articles 7 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be a good surgeon you have to think like a surgeon, emotions are messy, tuck them neatly away and step into a clean sterile room, where the procedure is simple, cut suture, and close. But sometimes your faced with a cut that won't heal, a cut that rips the stitches right open

You are walking through Safeway and you see the regular newspaper display. Celebrities buying cat litter, best dresses of the Emmy Awards, but then there is a headline story; Teen Commits Suicide From Bullying. When I see those I can’t but try help to figure out what led them to end their life.
Bullying and harassment are serious issues. School bullying is a type of bullying that occurs in connection with education, either inside or outside of school. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or emotional and is usually repeated over a period of time. Many people are seriously hurt both physically and emotionally. In the movies, you will most likely see a person beating up someone for their lunch money but that is rarely the case in real life. Nowadays with many social networking sites, rumors and comments spread fast. Take “Facebook” for example. Facebook is a very busy place when it comes to bullying. There have been many stories about bullying arising from Facebook. Some of these cases go unheard of, but some lead to suicide. (Wikipedia)
Most people think that bullying is influenced by low-self esteem but that isn’t always true. The truth is bullies are usually people with normal or high levels of self-esteem. The real question is why do people bully? Some bullies feel like they need to be in control and some used to be bullied or watch other bullies are rewarded for these acts. Others encourage bullying because other teens and kids because they feel like if they don’t support a bully they too will be bullied. Another study shows that bullies are leaning towards the “because it’s cool” reason more than any other. There are two types of bullying situations when it comes to fitting in. They are the “I want to be cool” group and the “I think bullying is cool” group. The group that wants to be cool is forced to be someone they and may bully others because of it. They just want to fit in, but they feel left out. The group that “thinks” bullying is cool is definitely wrong. Bullying isn’t cool. It may seem like it makes one “superior” or that everyone listens to them but truth is they are just victims because they are afraid of the bully. (Serge Sognonvi) (Carmen Sognonvi)
When KidsHealth asked 1299 kids from age nine to thirteen about bullying they had a variety of answers. The first question they asked was, how often have you been bullied? 8% said everyday, 7% said every week but not everyday, 33% said once in a while but not every week, and 52% said never. When they asked if they bullied other kids, 58% said that they have never bullied, 22% said that they bullied once in a while, 5% said that they bullied others every week and 15% said that they bullied others everyday. When it comes to the solution, 25% said that they tell adults about the issue, 20% said they walked away and did nothing while 8% tried talking to the bully. After that they asked the kids what they did when they saw someone being bullied. 16% said they didn’t do anything and 20% said they join the bullying. On the other hand, the rest of the kids made good choices. 41% said they would say or do something to try to stop the bullying and 23% said they would tell someone who could help. (Hirsch)
Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, once said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. That quote can apply to bullying. Andrew Hu, a 7th grader at the Environmental School in Kirkland Washington says;

D'Arcy Lyness, a child psychologist, explains it this way: "Some kids learn to bully because they have been subjected to mean, unfair treatment themselves — by others or by their families. That's sad, but it's no excuse. Everyone can choose to act in new and better ways. It's never too late." Bullying mostly effects everyone. Gay, Lesbians, Transgender, Bisexuals, Unpopular girls. I know I have been bullied. It can effect your life pretty drastically. People have their own opinions on bullying, but bottom line is bullying shouldn’t be encouraged. (Hirsch)

A recent and harmful type of bullying is gay bullying. Gay bullying is bullying based harassment for being gay/lesbian/bisexual/ transgender (GLBT). Studies show that they hear anti-gay remarks about 26 times a day or once every 14 minutes. Another study found that 31% of gay youth had been threatened and/or injured at school in the last year. Gay and lesbian teens are at high risk because they are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual people. When it comes to education gay teens are proven to have a harder time in school. In the United States they are subjected to irregularly violent bullying that they’re unable to receive an enough education. Most of them are to embarrassed or ashamed to report the incident. They are also more likely to skip school because they are afraid of the comments they are receiving. One survey discovered that 22% of gay students skipped school because they felt out of place. It also revealed that 28% considered dropping out of school completely because they cannot focus on their studies. That is about 3 times the chance compared to heterosexual students. Most students don’t know what to do because four out of five the homosexual students cant find a supportive adult at the school. Sometimes a student might even get in trouble for reporting a bully. This is because they were just trying to stand up for themselves. Something that we have been taught to do. So why get penalized for a recognized action? (MHA)

14-year-old Ann Arbor, Michigan teen Graeme Taylor is one person who believes in who they are. Graeme told the Howell, Michigan school board that he attempted suicide at age 9 because he was bullied for being gay. He was in support of Howell High School teacher Jay McDowell, who had been suspended for two days. It was Spirit Day and McDowell was teaching his normal class. It got heated when he asked a student to remove her Confederate flag belt buckle and for ejecting two students from class after an exchange about gay rights. When he spoke for the School Board he said, “I myself am gay and I’m a young person and that can cause lots of trouble. And when you hear things like Dr.King’s speech that one day he wanted his grandchildren, his prosperity to not be judged on the color of their skin but the content of their character, I hope that one day we too can be judged on the content of our character and not who we love” This speech impressed me to great extent. Finally, someone standing up for their community. This may be one small step, but will encourage generations to come. (Goodwin)
Another form of bullying is bullying by cliques. Cliques are usually girl groups that are a restricted group of friends. Members of these groups establish that not just anyone can be part of their entourage. Cliques are tight groups that usually have a firm code and ways to act. Instead of being centered on shared values and beliefs, like a group of friends typically would, many cliques focus on keeping up with their status and popularity. Many cliques try to make it seem like they are the most important by excluding others, or including them and “fixing them”. You may ask why people are drawn to cliques. Many people think that being popular is the most important thing, and cliques provide them a place where they can get this social status. Other people want to be in cliques because they don't like to feel left out. Some people simply feel it's better to be on the inside than the outside. If you see a clique, take a second to analyze it. The leaders of the clique usually walk in the front, have the best seat of the class and just seem important. They firmly control clique memberships too. The rest are followers. They listen to the leader and make sure they follow the rules and stay with their clique no matter what. If you want to join a clique (which isn’t a great idea) there isn’t a guaranteed path to membership. The most likeable non-clique member will most likely be excluded because her personality or confidence may pose a threat to the leaders. She may not be a good "follower" particularly if she can be accepted on her own. (New)

The last type of popular bullying is cyber bullying. Bullying is not new but thanks to the Internet teens are now being bullied at home. Cyber bullying is any annoyance that occurs via the Internet, cell phones or any type of electronics. There are two general types of cyber bullying. When bullying happens over phones, Internet or any other type of technology it leaves the victims feeling helpless. There is the direct message and the pass along. The direct message is like sending an email or a MySpace message saying, “I hate you” or “You are a loser; no one likes you”. The pass along is saying, “I hate (someone’s name), she’s so annoying” to other people or sending an embarrassing picture or video of that person. Sometimes police are involved with these cases. That only happens when repeated or excessive harassment via email, forums or chat rooms involves harassment threats of violence. (Hardcastle)
15-year-old Holly Grogan is one who experienced this pain. When she left a small Catholic school, she thought she would get away from the torture and pain generating from a group of bullies, but she was wrong. According to 16-year-old Chloe (Holly’s best friend) they left “nasty messages” and “mean comments” on her Facebook and it really impacted her. Holly’s mother told reporters that she knew Holly was sad, but mistook the depression for deprivation of sleep. All of the messages and comments were eventually too much so she decided to end her life; On September 16,2009 Holly Grogan, and jumped off a 30ft bridge. That was her solution because she had no one to turn to. (Geraldine)
When viewing an issue like this, there are many players that contribute. From the bullies to the bullied, there are only negative outcomes from these actions. Bullying is something that should be taken seriously because it is ripping our youth apart. Children need someone to go to when they are being bullied and that is what our nation is lacking. If our nation is to be the “United” States of America we have to be able to trust the people in our country and feel safe. The future of our nation depends on the forthcoming generation, so we must be united.

The author's comments:
This was a mandatory piece that I had to do for our state on a constitutional issue.

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