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Prevention of Bullying in High School

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    Bullying is an ugly state no one wants to be in, but it has become the inescapable. Most of the time bullying happens in a group, where one group of adults intentionally act to instill fear in the victim or in the severe cases hurt them. Bullying is all about having the power, control, and being abusive to the victim who is weak and cannot defend himself. No one is safe from bullying and it can happen to everyone and now due to advancement of technology timing of bullying is not fixed as well. Bullying can lead to bodily injury, social issues, emotional problems, possibly suicide. These problems are the main reason why it is important to study bullying in human development, because bullying is the red-light for the future violent behavior and mental issues. Some of these mental health issues include depression, headaches, anxiety, behaviors issues, and even resulting to suicide.

    In the United States bullying is hot topic owing to the recent school shootings. And not just bullying, but cyberbullying, is becoming increasingly more to blame for the deaths of young children. It is an act that is repeated through the bully and victim, and can lead to suicide and sometime violence. Some recent school shooting in United States are the outcome of bullying, where perpetrator was being bullied at high school. The prominent reason for the school violence is that the ghost of bullying is spreading like a plague. It’s not that bullies didn’t exist some time ago, bullying has been present in schools, but the extent of bullying that has been increased over the last few years is certainly alarming. While most bullied students do not become violent, others do resort to violent acts as a direct effect of the bullying they have went through. There is only so much that tormented students can take before they resort to violence in return. There is a need to stop bullying and it is the responsibility of everyone to play their role either by intervening or reporting the incident to concerned authority. Several ways to prevent bullying and school violence would be to distinguish a bully and a victim, teaching students to forgive, and have in place bully interventions at home and school. Anything that can cause physical harm from one student to the next for any reasons is considered bullying. Even being harassed without any physical harm done to them or having nude photos sent out are a type of bullying. One example is a student calls another student a name due to the fact that are shorter than the rest of the class. Even though they may not mean any harm by it; this could make the student very uncomfortable and hurting their feelings.

    It is a terrifying thought, but it is something that needs addressing before it gets worse. Bullying is something that people have just shrugged off, but is now known to be more of an issue because of shootings that are happening in the schools today. What many have not realized is that bullying has become a silent epidemic; something that goes unspoken of by the victim for fear of retaliation from the victim or other peers. The root of bullying lies in the upbringing of the children and most of the time violent family environment play its role in creating violent children. The bully is the one who consciously act to hurt, annoy or discomfort to other who is either not like him or is weak to defend himself. It seems bullies act without any rational reasons but there are many reasons for their tormenting other.There are two obvious reasons why bullies do these, first one is that it gives power over them and they suffer from social and emotional problems. It has been found that the bullies don’t have a peaceful environment at their home and they are victim of constant abuse from their parents who occasionally fights with each other as well. Some children learn from their friends, too. They will do anything to be liked by the popular students in their grade and school, even though they will be disliked by all of the other students (McClowry et-al, 2017).

    Everyone has witnessed bullying at some point in their lifetime, by either encountering bullying first hand or by witnessing the cruel behavior done to someone else. Bullying is noted to be comprising of two key segments: continual hurtful acts and a one- sided use of force between the bully and victim. Bullying can include verbal, covert, physical, and cyber assaults or intimidation against a target. Bullying is seen across the board in schools and is maybe the most common but not reported security issue on American school grounds. The graph of bullying has rose exponentially over the past few years. Mainly, this increase can be explain by the increasing trend in social media. There are three components that explain the bullying behavior, which are cyber bulling, indirect bullying and direct bullying.

    The prominent stage in the development of one’s true identity and personality is adolescence. But, this is also the stage where hormones are kicking in and testosterone level is at highest. Most adults during this stage try to show dominance over others, where some resort to bullying to achieve it. The sexual preference and gender are associated with bullying as well and students having different gender or sexual orientation from the mainstream society usually suffer from bullying. The study of Olsen et-al (2014) is based upon the bullying of students who are sexual minority, the study highlighted key factors such as discrimination and negligence from the school authority. Because in most cases, students with sexual minority faced severe bullying where schools failed to implement bullying prevention programs. Bullying affects self-esteem and family cohesion. During adolescence, people go through a developmental process that is very fragile and easily manipulated. Bullying steals a person’s identity.

    Bullying may cause anxiety, depression, anger issues, and even something as serious as suicide. As a result of bullying a young student can become timid, withdrawn, and have low self-esteem. An example of direct bullying may be the bully calling names or possibly pushing the victim around to make them feel small and not in control of themselves. Relational bullying happens when someone controls, hurts or manipulates another person by using the specific relationship that they have with them. There are new forms of bullying nowadays thanks to technological advances. Relational bullying is meant to ruin someone’s reputation and make him or her look bad to others. More specifically, used to damage relationships the victim has with others, such as their best friend or someone they like more than a friend. Cyberbullying is executed by using an electronic device like a cell phone, laptop, or tablet to bully others. Someone may decide to cyberbully another person through email, social media, and instant messaging. The cyberbully might choose to carry out their bullying by spreading rumors online, call someone derogatory names on the internet, harass a person through the web, or even post inappropriate pictures of someone. Repeatedly teasing someone who clearly shows physical and emotional signs of distress is also recognized as bullying. Although the problem with bullying happens with boys, girls are more prone to utilize the more subtle indirect strategies, whereas boys are more likely to engage in direct bullying (Popp et-al, 2014).

    There are different types of bullying, which are; verbal bullying, physical bullying, and emotional bullying. Verbal bullying is to demean others by use of words. Physical bullying that is a more common form that everyone has heard of, example is hitting, kicking and punching other peers. Then there is emotional bullying that is to be teased to hurt another person’s self-esteem intentionally (Catalano et-al, 2014). Equally important, another form of bullying is called cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is a way for an individual to embarrass and intimidate through the internet or any electronic source. With the advent of social media, cyberbullying has increased a lot and the bullies don’t need physical confrontation to bully the victim. The scary part behind cyber bullying is that the victim do not know his bully which can increase fear. Because everyone can make fake accounts on social media with fake identity. Anybody can harass or stalk and they do not even have to leave their house. Cyber bullying is scary because any bully or predator can come into home to bully the victim while he is sitting with his parents and he became victim of bullying in the presence of his parents. The majority of people nowadays have a computer and are connected through some social media. Anybody can post a picture and edit it and put it on social media to torment someone else. Cyberbullying can lead a child to committing suicide because they feel there is no way out of the constant psychological torture (Kokkinos et-al, 2014).

    What is the aftermath of bullying on the victim? Bullying can cause depression, and it is crucial that one can notice the signs. Some of the signs of depression are no appetite, poor grades, sleeping habits, talking about death, and a visible sign is cutting or mutilating themselves. Self-esteem of a victim of bullying is low because of constant psychological pain that is being inflicted on them by someone else. They cannot understand why it is happening to them, and it brings down a student’s self-worth. Actions on stopping a bully can be as easy as saying ‘STOP.’ There are so many ways that a student could stop the bully. A student could tell an adult about what is happening, but kids are more afraid of being labeled as a snitch. Kids never think about tomorrow they dwell on what is going on at that moment.

    The effect of bullying is not just schoolyard shenanigans and it should not be ignored. As students are shaped by their childhoods, negative experiences can have a lasting impact; substantially changing the makeup of that person. When someone goes through traumatic bullying, whether it is physical or mental this can have permanent staying power. Occurrences such as bullying during adolescent years can very well carry over into adulthood. Depending on the manner in which the victim handles being bullied can directly affect how they deal with anger, revenge, transformative intentions and collective transformative actions. It is everyone job to utilize this information and do best to help not only the student that is being bullied but also the bully as well. There will be parents who will be in denial about their student being a bully because that student may not display that behavior at home. There will also be parents who will ignore the fact that their student id being bullied. For those who have authority in school, they should step up and develop programs that can stop the bullying. By understanding what bullying is, it will help to remove fear, improve self-esteem, improve grades, and in worse case scenarios, save lives of young adolescences (Wolke et-al, 2015).

    Something as small as teaching students to have a sense of humor or to ignore will help a student tremendously. Helping them to build their self-esteem is also a component that can help eliminate bullying. Teaching students to love themselves and embrace their flaws instead of being embarrassed of them because bullies target students with low self-esteem. Teaming up with the student’s teachers and family members to help with this process will be very helpful.

    Although bullying doesn’t lead to suicide, but sever and persistent bulling of victim can lead to first depression and then ultimately suicide. There are two main reasons for such outcome. First, bullying is a repeated act through the bully and victim. But most importantly, a person’s self-esteem after being bullied can lead to depression as well as suicide.

    The relationship between the bully and the victim is impaired upon the amount of bullying. Victims are often unhappy at school, and are more likely to develop a school phobia, with higher records of days absent. Like victims, bullies can also be unhappy and unpopular at school but they can rise to a position of social power in the school through attracting the support of other students, who basically fear them. The most common policy for dealing with such students in extreme circumstances is suspension and expulsion. If restorative justice is about restoring relationships through forgiveness and reconciliation, restorative justice should curb bullying.

    Frequently, it has been mentioned as an effective way of reducing many destructive behaviors including harmful psychological defenses. Reconciliation is understood as the extension of love, compassion, and care from the victim(s) to the bully to confirm and restore the relationship between them. It reflects an emotional reattachment based on a mutual understanding.

    Having preventative methods in place will also help with bullying and violence. If someone is being bullied at school, then faculty and students need to do what is necessary to put an end to it. Students need to know that it is okay to tell and let someone know that they are being bullied. “The disclosure of bullying to parents (and others) has been of growing interest within the bullying literature, with several studies indicating relatively low rates of disclosure of bullying. For example, a study of cyberbullying among high school students found that only a third of the 3468 bullied youth disclosed the cyber victimization to an adult” (Bradshaw 2014). Encouraging parents and students to talk openly about bullying at school will help cut down on the harassment. Prevention of school bullying should be a priority for schools. The most effective approaches to bully reduction would be to evaluate bad behavior, have better student supervision, create classroom rules against bullying, and require meetings with the bullies, victims, and their parents.

    The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program shows a great way to help with bully prevention. This program has developed four key principles of bully prevention, which involves generating a school and home environment characterized by: warmth, positive interest and involvement from adults; steady boundaries on bad behavior; reliable use of nonphysical punishment; and have adults who act as authorities and positive role models. Even though prevention programs have mixed results I think it’s a great start. There is still much to learn about how to design and implement effective intervention programs. Effective action against bullying is not going to be easy, but it is certainly a very valuable objective to pursue for the happiness of students and well-being of school communities (Evans et-al, 2014).

    Getting bullying problem under control will do more to guarantee student’s well-being than on campus police and metal detectors ever could. While brief interventions are not effective at reducing the problem of bullying, some methods have been evaluated and found effective in this area. There are several ways to help the bullying issues thus reducing school violence. But first there is a need to understand what makes a bully and see the signs of the victim. There is also need to teach students to forgive the ones that hurt them. And learn to walk away from a negative situation that could cause them harm. Parents and also school officials need to take more charge of bullying prevention. They can encourage victims to speak up about being bullied and have regular meetings and follow-ups with bully and victims, as well as parents.

    Work Cited

    1. Bradshaw, C. P. (2014). The role of families in preventing and buffering the effects of bullying. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(11), 991-993.
    2. Catalano, R., JUNGER-TAS, J. O. S. I. N. E., MORITA, Y., OLWEUS, D., SLEE, P., & Smith, P. K. (Eds.). (2014). The nature of school bullying: A cross-national perspective. Routledge.
    3. Evans, C. B., Fraser, M. W., & Cotter, K. L. (2014). The effectiveness of school-based bullying prevention programs: A systematic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 19(5), 532-544.
    4. Kokkinos, C. M., Antoniadou, N., & Markos, A. (2014). Cyber-bullying: An investigation of the psychological profile of university student participants. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 35(3), 204-214.
    5. McClowry, R. J., Miller, M. N., & Mills, G. D. (2017). What family physicians can do to combat bullying. Journal of family practice, 66(2), 82-90.
    6. Olsen, E. O. M., Kann, L., Vivolo-Kantor, A., Kinchen, S., & McManus, T. (2014). School violence and bullying among sexual minority high school students, 2009–2011. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55(3), 432-438.
    7. Popp, A. M., Peguero, A. A., Day, K. R., & Kahle, L. L. (2014). Gender, bullying victimization, and education. Violence and victims, 29(5), 843-856.
    8. Wolke, D., & Lereya, S. T. (2015). Long-term effects of bullying. Archives of disease in childhood, 100(9), 879-885.

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