From the physical to the cyber, bulling is a problem that is evident in almost every school nationwide – discussed so frequently, yet so wrongly handled.
From a young age, all of us remember being taught to use our words, not our fists, to seek help from an adult when threatened, or to befriend the bully. We are reminded of the severe punishment and disciplinary action that accompanies physical altercations in school. The bottom line is, direct confrontation is frowned upon.
But are the methods of combating bullying actually effective? According to bullyingstatistics.org, 14% of high school students have considered suicide, and 7% have attempted suicide. We hear of suicide cases that result from bullying almost every year. From perusing cases such as Phoebe King’s to Amanda Todd’s, it is apparent that something isn’t working.
71% of students report that bullying is an ongoing problem, and 1 out of 10 students will drop out of school or change schools due to ongoing bullying.
It is district policy here in PUSD, as well as in schools across the nation, that when a student is assaulted by another student, he has no right to strike back. This kind of policy almost seems to promote bullying. While I see the logic in how this is an attempt to protect the physical well being of the student, it does nothing to help the victim in a given situation.
More students die from suicide than from schoolyard confrontations. Give the victims a fighting chance, let them work things out themselves rather than having someone else step in. While vice principals can handle discipline, what do they know about the relationship between the specific bully and victim?
By letting students work things out themselves, they gain valuable “real world” experience. While in the real world you may not need to throw punches at someone, or at least I hope not, you will need to learn how to deal with people who pique you.
As the times change, and as the methods of bullying change, school administrators everywhere fail to keep peace. While getting slapped in the face does occur now and then, cyber bullying has really dominated the bullying arsenal for the past decade.
Cyber bullying presents something new that society has never seen before. The opportunity to degrade or defame someone while remaining anonymous appeals to many who want to avoid confrontation. Gossip bubbles on social media sites like Burn Book and Ask.fm, and as a result self confidence plummets.
Whether school administrators are able to adapt and find a way to deal with cyber bullies is something we’ll have to find out. If they can’t seem to get get physical bullying right, do they stand a chance against the cruel and harsh anonymity of the internet?