Taking A Stand

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” It seems that these days, the opposite is true. Although many people think that bullying is beating people up, usually the worst kind of bullies attack with their words. Bullies that cause physical damage are much more likely to be noticed and caught, whereas verbal bullies can lurk in the halls, using their words to hurt someone to the core, and remain completely undetected by onlookers. I believe that verbal bullies destroy their victims from the inside out, tearing to shreds the self-esteem of innocent kids.

Starting at any age, a child can consciously choose to make fun of another child for a reason that, at the time, seems relevant. The first time this happens, the kid will probably feel guilty about hurting the other person, but if the habit continues, the child finds a way to use words to dig deep and make the victim feel as low as possible without feeling any regret themselves. In my middle school years, I became very aware of how bullies work. Although I personally was not the victim, I watched each and every day as people said “Oscar did it. We saw him,” and “Oscar is so weird. Why is he even here?” I have to admit that I wasn’t always just the onlooker. I sometimes got pulled into the teasing because I was tired of being called a tattle tale or a snitch. I tried as much as possible to stop the teasing before it got out of hand, but it just started up again as soon as I left.

It was hard for me to yell at the bullies when they started teasing Oscar, because they
happened to be my friends. Every time I told them to stop bugging Oscar, they would ignore me like I had been excommunicated. One day at lunch, they were extremely harsh to poor Oscar and I couldn’t take it anymore. I yelled at them with the nicest words I could to show how angry I was. I said, “Seriously guys just knock it off. I’m sick of you guys always picking on Oscar. He never does anything to you but you still insist on torturing him. I’m not about to sit here and let you make his life miserable because you think it’s fun.” They looked at me like I had three heads. Unfortunately, my message only bothered them for a little while and they started making fun of him again about ten minutes later. When they started back up, I just stayed quiet. I waited until after lunch and I found my teacher and told him. He promised he would take care of it and I felt much better.

A few days went by and there was a slight improvement. Shortly after this brief period of peace, the teasing came back with overwhelming intensity. When I spoke up the next time, one of my friends that was involved stopped me short. He said, “Hey, you don’t happen to know who told on us for making fun of Oscar do you?” I was frozen with fear because I didn’t want to lose my friends. They somehow had found out that I had told a teacher. I refused to admit it so I told him that I didn’t know who did it and left. I could feel the group’s glares of intense anger as though it was a fire burning a hole in the back of my head. For the rest of the day I waited for the teasing to start, however, for some reason the rude comments never came. My friends must have realized that it was a bad idea to shun me because they thought that my mom, who is a teacher at the school, would find out and suspend them or give them detention. I was, however, accused of it several other times and each time I denied it.

Oscar was picked on because he looked different from everyone else and had an odd voice. Other people are bullied because of jealousy or how they treat others. I believe that there is no situation where it is okay to tease someone unless it’s a not- laughing- at- you- but- laughing- with- you moment. I have been hurt by words before because I would study a lot in school and
get good grades. I don’t know if I was made fun of because people were jealous, or because they thought I was a goody-two-shoes, but I did not enjoy the snide remarks they made.

In the modern world, bullying is a major issue that is dealt with as though it is not important. Although other people knew that my friends were picking on Oscar, I was the only one that was brave enough to speak up. Countless cases of suicide have arose because of the relentless bullying that can occur all day due to Facebook and the Internet. Bullying is easily avoidable if adults don’t let their kids pick on others from the beginning. The worst bullies are usually kids that end up having problems in their lives. I believe that everyone has value and that no one should put others down. In its early stages, bullying may seem like a harmless annoyance, but it can get progressively worse if it is allowed to continue.

Staying away from becoming a bully is really quite simple. If kids act in a way that is positive, others will act positively to them. All kids need to do is treat others how they want to be treated. Many bullies, such as my friends, don’t understand how their victims feel when they are being mistreated. On several occasions, my friends told me that they were just having fun with Oscar, but whenever I asked him if he was okay, he would say he was, but his eyes had that why- won’t- they- just- leave- me- alone look.

I have realized just how bad bullying can be. I learned that bullies will never stop unless they have no choice. Even though they wouldn’t stop when I told them to, my friends did listen to the teacher who caught them being bullies. If people do not start to treat bullying as a major issue, there will be more suicides and depressed kids. I strongly believe that bullying does some serious damage to the victim. Bullies thrive on the power they think they have over the victim. I wish I had stepped in sooner to help Oscar. I know that Oscar really appreciated my help. I made it a point to be nicer to him after I realized how bad my friends made him feel. His last year in middle school was better because I had the guts to stand up for him. If kids and adults begin to step in when someone is being picked on, I believe that bullying will become extinct.





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perrig said...
Jun. 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm
Why u do that. U put the same poem twice in a row pls don't
 
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