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Is Bullying A Problem At Our School?

Fiona Verrinder

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Bullying. Whether you’ve experienced it firsthand (or were even the one dishing it out) or not, you can’t deny that it’s become a widespread phenomena – but is it a problem at our school? Is our school better at dealing with bullying than others? How has bullying affected our students? Is bullying as big a problem as media makes it out to be? These are the questions I will be working to answer today.

First things first, I wanted to start with the students’ intakes on bullying – as students, I figured that they would be the most likely to see bullying or even experience it themselves. One of the students I interviewed was Katie Kuntz.

Q: Do you know anybody who has been affected by bullying?

A: “Of course! I don’t really think that anybody hasn’t been bullied, seeing how widespread it is; especially with kids. Kids don’t really know what’s right or wrong. They sometimes make rude jokes that they don’t know are rude, and without correction can carry that into adulthood.”

Q: Have you seen bullying occur?

A: “I know it’s happened, and I know I’ve seen it, but I don’t remember the exact details.”

Q: Do you think bullying is a problem in our school?

A: “Not really, to be honest. I think this school has a safe-feeling environment and students feel like they can speak to adults.”

Q: Have you ever seen bullying happen at this school?

A: “No, not at this school.”

Q: Do you think this school is better at handling bullying than other schools?

A: “Yeah, I think so! They’re definitely better at dealing with it and helping the victims feel safe.”

Q: Have you ever felt pressured to bully?

A:“No.”

Q: What do you do when you see bullying happen?

A:“I usually tell the person doing it to cut it out, and whenever I see somebody putting himself down I tell him that he’s, like, fabulous.”

Q: How do you think bullies should be punished?

A:“Well, don’t kill them! But seriously, I think that it’s not acceptable to bully, and I think that bullies should get at least two to three hours of detention or something.”

Q: Do you think teachers should interfere with bullying?

A:“Teachers should definitely stop bullying if they see it, because sometimes kids don’t have the confidence to stop bullying, and if a teacher doesn’t have the confidence to stop bullying it’s sad and I have no respect for them.”

Q: In your opinion, what’s the worst kind of bullying?

A:“It depends on the person. Different people take different things differently – for example, if a person was dealing with abuse or had dealt with physical abuse in the past and has PTSD (Posttraumatic stress disorder) over an incident, physical bullying would affect them more. On the other hand, if a person had really low self-esteem, insults and verbal bullying would affect them more. Either way, I think bullying is just all-around bad.”

I asked several people why they think people bully, and got some different opinions. Claire Eberhart, said, “To make themselves feel better.” Another seventh grader said, “Because they’re upset about something.” Katelynn Kuntz said, “I think that usually, it’s misunderstandings or people just can’t agree. For example, someone could make an offensive joke and not realize it’s offensive, and the other person could not express their discomfort but be rude back, and so on. Overall, I think it’s personal problems.”

I got some different opinions as well on whether parents should help their children with bullying problems or not. While Kuntz said, “…they should do something to build up the child’s confidence and keep them in a safe environment – but the child needs to tell the parent first.” Eberhart said, “I think they should stay out of it and let their kids take care of it because it’s a life skill you have to learn.” Who do you side with?

Anyway, a constant throughout all of these interviews was that none of them had experienced bullying in this school. They thought it had a safe environment, and felt like they could trust the adults in charge. This is definitely a good sign, seeing as in some schools, people do not feel safe. This is definitely a good sign, as it shows that our school has been specifically targeting bullying and eradicating it – and I wanted to find out how that happens.

Naturally, I went to Mr.King, the eighth-grade counselor.

Q: Do you get bullying reports often?

A: “It depends on what you mean by ‘often’. We don’t want any bullying here, so any report of bullying is more than we want.”

Q: What do you do if you see bullying happen?

A: “Well, if I saw bullying happen, I would step in and stop it right then and there! There are several things you gotta do when you see someone getting bullied; first, you gotta take care of the victim and make sure they’re alright and helped. As a counselor, I would try to help the bullies understand they need to stop – I wouldn’t deal with any of the discipline. That lies with the principal and such.”

Q: Do you think we’ll ever be able to completely stop bullying?

A: “Well… it’s a goal to work towards. It’s complicated, though, because people have different opinions on what bullying is. Some people think they see bullying going on when it’s really just friendly teasing. However, if there’s any bullying at all, there’s a problem – if 99% of the school says that bullying isn’t a problem, we’ll still try to help the one kid who’s having problems.”

Q: How do you think we can stop bullying?

A: “I would continue to talk about showing kindness and being respectful to others as well as modeling that behavior ourselves.”

Q: Why do people bully?

A: “I think that’s a complicated question. There’s not a single answer, but I think peer pressure is a big part of it. Some victims bully so they’re not the only victim out there.”

Though some had conflicting opinions, everyone seemed to agree that bullying will never be able to stop completely. As Kuntz said, “Probably not [we can’t stop bullying] without creating a dystopia. That’s mostly how those things work out; when people try to control other people. People always are gonna retaliate when they can’t do what they want – so we probably couldn’t stop bullying worldwide. I think people should take their own personal problems with bullying into their and the people around them’s hands, and work from there.”

Just because we are lucky enough to not have that much bullying in our school does not mean that bullying has officially stopped. Though the amount of reported bullying in public schools has significantly decreased in the past few decades, we didn’t get where we are now without work – and we need to continue to work in order to keep us there. If you see or hear about bullying in your school, please do not hesitate to tell an adult and get both the victim and bully alike the help they need. To close this off, please remember – no matter how much you think you know someone, you will never know their whole story. Please think before you speak.

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Is Bullying A Problem At Our School?