Bullying From the Inside Out, How to do Your Part to Help by S.N.

I’ll never forget the first time someone told me my freckles were ugly. I’ll never forget what it was like to immediately run home and do my best to scrub them off my face. I’ll never forget the first time someone shoved me down to the floor and told me I was stupid. I’ll never forget how hard I cried. When the teachers asked me where the bruises and dirt on my face came from and how I could only tell them I was playing too hard on the playground. When Justin, the biggest kid in the third grade, yanked on my ponytails and shoved me into walls ad gave me bloody noses. Another one, William, always kicking me to the dirt. On a snowy winter day, I was pushed off the playset. Landing face first on the ground, I was left with a split open bottom lip that I could only say came from my own clumsiness. Macaroni art and finger paints were destroyed along with my character. I couldn’t bare to tell my mom and dad. How could I? If I told them the truth I’d only be a snitch. If I told them the truth I’d only look pathetic. Plus it was normal anyways? Right?

Kids are bullied everyday and no, it’s not normal. Things like these happen all the time to children and teens everywhere. According to stopbullying.gov, the definition of bullying is “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.” Just as kids like Justin and William attacked me while others stood and did nothing but laugh. Or just as kids gang up on other kids every day and no one intervenes. If you are a bystander it is your responsibility to get help.  should be  common sense to know that if someone is hurting someone else in any way, shape, or form, it’s wrong. have the power to stop it. Of course that doesn’t mean you have to get involved physically. Your voice is a powerful device and you should always let someone of authority know what’s happening.

Colby Morgan was a kid at my school in sixth grade who chose his victims at random. He decided who he wanted to pick on and when. There was always time in his schedule for me. The day my parents split will never be forgotten and Colby was there to remind me. To tell me that it was my fault and tease me about it for days and days. Standing up to the bully wasn’t much of an option. He’d hit and kick me, beat me to the ground until I could hardly stand. The school did nothing, insisting that I leave him alone and he will leave me alone. But there was your problem. Bully’s don’t leave kids alone, they choose the weak and crush them until they’re bored of it.

Had a girl in my grade not stood up to Colby and got others involved, I would have been beaten senseless everyday. Mikayla Lavery, a great friend of mine for a long time, and a group of her friends invited me to sit when I sat alone. Gave me a shield when I needed it and who knew simply having some friends who stood up for you and supported you was enough to keep jerks away.

By just offering to be someone’s friend you have the power to change a person’s entire life around. Thebullyproject.com states that one sof the best ways to help a victim is to be their friend. To let them know that they have someone and they are not alone. Standing by or with them is a huge advantage over the bully. Another thing the site recommends you can do is get not only yourself involved, but get others involved as well. One bully or even a few won’t stand a chance against a group of people who are willing to stay strong for each other.

Now here’s something strange; this you might not have thought of, but these attackers are people too. Anna Pierce and Hannah Nolan were two of the meanest girls in the sixth, seventh, eighth and even ninth grade. The power duo of the girl world. They told girls what to wear, how to look, and how to act and if you didn’t fit into their exact specifications, you were thrown to the ground. The blood running down my cheek from a powerful blow the the head by tennis racket was one thing I will remember about them, not to mention their verbal abuse to top it off.

I took it upon myself to contact both of these girls recently and as I confronted them about their actions, they both, to my surprise, apologized profusely. After some conversation, I learned a lot about why the were so cold. Little did I know that Anna’s dad was a raging alcoholic. He beat her and her twin brother almost everyday. As for Hannah, her parents always fought and eventually divorced after her brother became terminally ill. I learned he later died from Angiosarcoma of the heart. A rare form of soft tissue cancer, usually not diagnosed until it’s in advanced stages.

While keeping in mind it’s important to protect yourself and others, the most important thing ever is trying to understand what life is like from the perspective of the antagonist. Anna and Hannah behaved the way they did because they were angry and afraid. When things like that happen people get defensive, to the point where they can’t even control themselves anymore. They may not even realise they are hurting others. Blueknot.org mentions that agessive behavior is one of the common side effects, along with depression, low self-esteem, dissosciation, self-harming behaviors and much more, that occur when children face abuse. They don’t know how to cope.

I’m sure that Justin, William, Colby, Anna, Hannah, and all the other kids out there have their own struggles to face when they go home at the end of the day. While defending yourself and others, keep your attitude nice and positive. It still stands that no one should be bullying, it’s never okay. But you never know the reasons why. The best thing to do is to be a friend to everyone. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  -Plato

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Bullying in BVSD by T.C.

“In the fourth grade was when it really got out of control. A group of kids on the playground kept following me around, calling me a bunch of names and harassing me. The ones that I can still remember are names like an elephant, fatty, or the giant, names that really hurt my self esteem as a young kid. It got to the point where teachers or administration weren’t doing anything to help, so I had to take the matter into my own hands.” TC 12th Grade.

Bullying is a nation wide problem if not world wide. Many schools are choosing to take bullying into their own hands by creating safe zones at school or Safe2Tell program. Boulder Valley School District in Colorado has adopted a district wide policy for bullying called No Place For Hate. The program is suppose to decrease bullying by creating a safe environment for students and create a positive learning space for students. With more than 47,000 students from 50 schools in Colorado following the program, it seems like bullying should be gone from schools, but is that really the case?

“No, bullying is definitely not gone with the No Place for Hate program, but I do believe it is helping [people]. It isn’t followed by as many people as the program targets, that’s for sure.” AR 12th Grade.

No Place For Hate’s main focus is to confront the bias that we see in our workplaces, homes, schools, and communities including anti-Semitism, racism, and other forms of bigotry and discrimination. With many schools saying they follow No Place For Hate, who is enforcing the policy? As found on the Nevin Platt Middle School counseling website page, students are to sign a pledge committing themselves to follow the No Place For Hate program. Southern Hills Middle School however has a No Place For Hate Club, called the Cougar Care Club, but is the program followed as strictly as it is believed to be?

It seems the No Place For Hate program is not being enforced at Fairview as much as BVSD says it is. Recently, a student called another student very strong, vulgar words because of who they supported for the election, constantly yelling at him and even slapped him while he tried to ignore her.

“You just try to ignore them as much as possible, but everyone has a boundary to it [bullying] and it can be crossed at any moment.” TC 12th grade.

Many can laugh it off as it didn’t happen, but this is only one form of bigotry, a intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself, at Fairview. Many other types include calling students in College Prep classes retarded or stupid because they are not the stereotypical Fairview Student in multiple IB/AP classes. It very hard to believe that the policy is actually being followed like it is stated on several BVSD school websites with how bullying is handled right in front of the administrative offices or security office.

“No, I do not think that the administrative team at Fairview handles bullying like they should, but it isn’t always their fault. It’s definitely hard to tell whether two students are just messing around with each other as friends and they know it’s just fun and games, or if a student is being targeted and harassed.” MB 12th grade.

Lots of students choose to stay quiet about the bullying they witness because they don’t want to get involved. Even students that are being harassed try to stay quiet because they just don’t want to make the bullying worse, but as stated before, everyone has a boundary to bullying and what they can take mentally. Sometimes, bringing in an adult can help a lot with bullying.

“I’ve noticed that once parents are brought into the situation, the administration jumps in and takes care of the bullying immediately. The administration didn’t know about a situation where a student was being severely harassed and once their parents heard about it, they contacted administration and suspended the bully that day.” BK 12th Grade.

Bringing a parent or trusted adult into the situation can always help neutralize the situation, but even some parents question if No Place For Hate is followed closely.

“We as a family have never had a bunch of luck with the administration when our kids were bullied. We had no luck when our older son was bullied in elementary school, and our younger school got harassed in a classroom on Halloween when a kid called him a “raging homosexual” for his costume in front of the whole class. Why didn’t the teacher intervene?” Mother of two sons who have been bullied in the past at Fairview and other schools in BVSD.

Even students who have been bullied before believe that they have to try and stop it because they do not believe the administration will do anything to help. It’s very uncomfortable to hear that from students.

“When I was being bullied a lot in the fourth grade, I took matters into my own hands. I got tired of the name calling, so when the main kid that was making fun of me called me fat, I tackled him on the playground. I thought that would stop it, but I ended up being the one in trouble and labeled the bully by administration because I tackled him. I told my parents about it, and they helped me take care of it. We went to his house that night, and I confronted him in front of his parents about bullying me. I was never bullied by him ever again.” TC 12 Grade.