End bullying before they end their life 

End bullying before they end their life 

Grace Koetje

Bullying is described as excessive harassment that occurs repeatedly and includes a real or perceived power imbalance between the bully or bullies and the individual being bullied. The action of harassment happens more often than we think, one in every five students (20.2%) report being bullied each year. Bullying and cyberbullying have also been linked to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, family troubles, academic challenges, delinquency, school violence, and suicidal thoughts and attempts. Awareness of bullying needs to become more apparent because the act can poorly impact students’ academic performance, and the results of constant harassment can be fatal. 

So why do kids bully each other? School counselor at Edison Intermediate School (EIS), Mrs. Kerry Webster shared her thoughts, “I think there are lots of reasons why kids might bully others. Developmentally they don’t necessarily know how to interact with kids they have an issue with. They are unaware that their behavior is bullying behavior. They might just be kind of in a position where they feel more powerful than the other person.” 

Education is an important factor in kids’ everyday lives, and just a few hurtful words can be the downfall of a student’s academic success. An eighth grader at EIS explained how bullying affects a student’s studies, “I have been bullied before, and I failed every class for a month because of it. It was verbal bullying, body shaming. The bullying went on for two weeks. I ignored the person and didn’t give them a reaction, and then they stopped. After they stopped I started doing well in school again.”

Not only are students’ educations being affected by bullying, but the outcome can be lethal. A 9-year-old boy in Colorado committed suicide just days after beginning fourth grade. His mother claims that bullying was a factor in his death because he had just come out to her as gay. In addition, despite her successful battle with cancer, an 11-year-old girl’s recent suicide was directly linked to bullying by her peers. This list continues to grow throughout the years. Studies have proven that, “Students who experienced bullying or cyberbullying are nearly 2 times more likely to attempt suicide” (Hinduja & Patchin, 2018)

So how can the rates of bullying go down here at EIS? There are many solutions to bullying and seventh grade student Kiran Patel explained what he would do, “If I saw someone being bullied in school I would probably get a teacher first because I don’t want to get hurt. I also think it would be smarter because they have more training than us students do. If I was close enough to the office I would probably get the counselor. If it was verbal bullying I would try to stop it myself first without using physical contact, but if I couldn’t do anything myself I would get a teacher afterwards.” 

Edison has taken part in actions in the past to help the school with bullying prevention. Vice Principal Ms. Crystal Marsh explains what the school has done, “Prevention is key and so some of the things we have done in the past is when students come to EIS the sixth grade counselor does the Harassment Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) presentation. The biggest preventative part is taking the time to set a positive school culture.”

Forestallment is very important, but it can be difficult when the forms of harassment are continuously changing. Dr. Bolton has future plans for EIS, “The plans for our school are to continue to learn about where bullying behavior is happening and find ways to not only address it, but also teach kids so that it doesn’t happen anymore.” 

In conclusion, bullying needs to be more widely recognized because the consequences of constant bullying can be fatal, and it can have a negative effect on students’ academic success. Bullying has an effect on not only the victims’ lives, but also the loved ones of the victims, who must live with the fact that their friend, child, cousin, or other relative felt compelled to take their own life because someone else felt justified in being cruel. Bullying is completely avoidable, and enacting regulations to punish bullies will significantly reduce the number of people who bully others. This would not only save the lives of tens of thousands of bullied children, but it would also prevent future generations from being harassed. Moreover, getting help has never been more accessible for both bullies, and victims. Students may form and/or join “No Place For Hate” groups at school, as some have already done, to assist those who lack the confidence to speak up. People can assume that if abuse is tolerated, it will never go away and will become too normal. Bullying is not worth a person’s life.