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October was bullying prevention awareness month. Everyone from kids to adults took a stand for change.
On Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, parents of teens at York High School, in Maine, organized a peaceful protest claiming the administrative staff had not done enough to stop the bullying of a gay student. Students stood alongside their parents on the side of the road holding up signs, which read, “You are Beautiful” and “Be Kind,” for all to see. This peaceful protest caught the attention of the school’s principal, Karl Francis, who announced that the local authorities were looking into the incident in question. This led to at least one juvenile being charged with assault. However, the student responsible for the bullying has not been arrested.
It is never acceptable to sovle conflict with violence
According to an email from Francis, York High School has a high priority for all students feeling safe. There is a fine line a school administrator must walk when discussing the details of a specific situation, so as not to violate the students’ or families’ right to privacy.
October is national anti-bullying month, but in the age of the internet and text messages, parents must work to combat this issue all year round. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are only three of the platforms where kids experience cyberbullying.
With more than 40 percent of kids being persecuted, statistics show that only one in six young adults tell someone when they are being tormented. This was not the case for one boy from Lee Elementary School in Denton, Texas. The school did not recognize the alleged incident as bullying and proceeded to punish the boy for fighting with the other boys. His mother was outraged that her son was being blamed for fighting when he was only defending himself. This young man spoke up about what was happening to him, and not only was nothing done. but he was tormented even more.
The school counseled the boys and sent letters home, but the aggressive acts persisted. This brave boy was injured before any serious consequences were given to the boys who were tormenting him. This boys mother had to involve the police who videoed the boys’ versions of the events.
Bullying By Definition
The interpretation of bullying is generally when force or pressure is used to intimidate others. This explanation may be helpful to properly determine and initiate prevention within a school system or community. The actual definition is any unwanted, hostile behavior among children with a recognized power difference, which is/has been repeated over a particular period of time. This often results in the child being picked on and ending with physical or emotional injuries.
There are usually several factors that can turn someone into an overbearing, quarrelsome person that will habitually terrorize someone smaller and weaker. They may not even notice that they are intimidating someone to the point of causing emotional damage.
In general, most people feel that the one doing the intimidation lacks self-esteem. However, UCLA recently completed a study proving the exact opposite. As a matter of fact, bullies are very popular students and choose the unpopular ones as their victims. Neither roles are a permanent personality trait, which means bullies can learn to stop being so aggressive and the mark can learn how to stop being a victim. The reasons a person becomes aggressive vary;
- Feeling helpless in their own lives
- They were once a victim themselves
- The have no empathy or understanding for how others feel
- They have a need to be the center of attention
- The have no control of their emotions
- Their aggressive behavior gets rewarded
Sometimes victims feel the need to reclaim a position of authority for themselves by bullying someone who is smaller and less dominant. Hense, “Bullying begets bullying.” When this type of behavior goes unnoticed or is swept under the rug, it opens the door for the next generation of what Matthew Michalek, who was victimized many times calls, “jerks,” to be created.
Bullying has been a problem for many years and even though it will continue to be a problem for some time this dilemma cannot be ignored. The best way to lessen the impact from these ruffians is to learn exactly how to handle the situation. The more people who deal with the problem the less of an effect it will have on everyone, specifically the victims who receive the most tormenting.
A good way to prevent children from turning into overbearing, brutal tormenters is for parents to teach their kids good morals. Reading with children is one good way to help establish healthy morals, by selecting books that clearly explain what is appropriate and what is unacceptable. It is important to discuss the contents of the book, so children can ask questions and better understand the story.
A study was conducted by the Centre for Child Health Behavior and Development in Seattle, Washington, between two groups of children. Group A watched videos portraying integrity and virtue. They exhibited much less aggressive behavior and showed more respect for others. Group B was shown videos of cartoons with considerable violence and destructive behavior. The study also showed that group B did not get along as well with others as Group A, who was shown more socially acceptable videos with an emphasis on manors and politeness.
Parents who spend time with their children not only establish a good moral high ground but also positive character. Even if a child is rebelling they are looking for someone to be close too, and if they do not find it from mom and dad they will eventually turn to their peers. They could end up with friends that do not have healthy morals.
Parents and caregivers can prevent bullying early in childhood development. A healthy relationship between a parent and child from the beginning is a key to a moral high ground. Parents should work with school staff and administrators to combat this aggressive trend that has gotten out of control.
By Katherine Miller
Edited by Jeanette Smith
NoBullying.com: The World’s Authority on Bullying
NoBullying.com: Causes of Bullying
NoBullying.com: Types of Bullying
York Dispatch: OPED: Tips for preventing cyberbullying
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