We’re all aware of the big impact bullying has in our communities. Unfortunately, bullying often comes to our attention too late. We learn about the bullying after a young girl has taken her own life. Pervasive bullying comes to light after a young boy brings a gun to school and takes many lives before taking his own. Why did it have to go this far? What could we have stopped this?
Bullying is an effort to exercise power over someone else. Bullying is repeated, targeted, and can cause irreversible emotional damage. It can occur at schools, at the bus stops, and anywhere else the bully feels like they have the upperhand. Bullying can happen to anyone. It does not discriminate based on race, gender, or age. Statistics of bullying show that nearly 1 in 3 students report being bullied during the school year.
On the other side, more than half of all bullying situations, about 57%, were stopped when a peer intervened on behalf of the victim. Standing up doesn’t mean getting physical with the bully. Sometimes all it can take is a friendship or someone stepping in and saying “Hey, that’s not cool. We don’t treat each other like that.” It’s important to call the bully out on what they’re doing, even if it’s not in a public setting, It is necessary to make this message clear: Bullying is not tolerated.
Speak out to a parent, teacher, or trusted adult when someone you know is experiencing one of these warning signs from StopBullying.gov:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
Many believe that just one person alone can’t make a difference, but you can. You can be the one that stops the cycle. You can be the one to stand up to a bully. You can be the one to save a life. So stand up and make a difference!