There has been a tremendous amount of media coverage on bullying, but sadly this has not done much to stop the bullying. We all know that this is an enormous crisis and one that has far reaching and long-term impacts not just for the victim but the bully as well. It is happening every day in classrooms all across the country, through text messages, on social media sites and on playgrounds. This is not a crime that goes unnoticed by others, but it is a crime where the bystanders do nothing to stop the bullying.
In 85 percent of bullying cases, no intervention is taking place among teachers, school administrators or other kids who are witnesses to the crime. This is a devastating statistic as it truly highlights the severity of the problem and the lack of support to stop the bullying. The kids who are being bullied need help and support and they often feel so alone and isolated that they feel that their only option is suicide and we have seen a tremendous increase in teen suicide also referred to as bullycide.
It is time to take a stand and stand up to stop the bullying. It is not okay to be a witness and do nothing. As friends, teachers, parents, administrators or anyone who may be a witness, there is no other option than to intervene to stop the bullying.
It is clear that often the child victim of bullying desperately wants to keep it quiet and not let others know that it is happening. This occurs for several reasons. The child often feels that if they tell someone then there will be an increase in the bullying. These kids also do not want to tell their parents fearing repercussions from the other kids. Teachers and administrators often feel at a loss about what to do and how to handle the situation. More training for schools needs to occur to stop the bullying. Bullying frequently happens while not under the watchful eye of a teacher or administrator, making it more difficult to witness the behavior. A better presence in schools especially in hallways, playgrounds and the cafeteria by administrators and teachers may be one way to stop the bullying. As soon as as incident occurs, it can be dealt with.
We need to stop minimizing the bullying behavior by chalking it up to normal childhood behavior. It is not normal for a child to harass another either verbally or physically on a continuous basis. These bullies are often exhibiting a symptom of something larger. Their home life may be chaotic and disruptive, they may be witnesses to violent behavior at home and they may also be bullied by others. They are trying to exert whatever power they can to overcome their own situation. One of the best ways to stop the bullying is to intervene and not be a silent bystander. Intervention not only helps the victim but it also helps the child bully. Both are at risk and are suffering and both need help to deal with their unique situation to stop the bullying. It is not uncommon for a person to witness something awful and feel unable to act or believe that someone else will step in to stop the bullying. It is time to be the one to act, to step in, to prevent further damage to both individuals and to stop the bullying. It will never end if the attitude of ‘that’s not my child, so why should I step’ in continues. It is important to begin imagining that it is your child so that you can step in and not be a silent bystander.
Kids in school fear telling on another student as they then may become a victim of the bully. They remain quiet instead, but they too are left feeling alone and isolated feeling powerless to stop the bullying. Programs need to be put in place where kids can come and report and incident to a teacher or administrator without fear of repercussion. Implementing these things can begin to stop the bullying. Simple expulsion may also not be enough for the bully as they often wait for school to end to continue their torture. Text messages and social media sites have become known as cyber-bullying and it becomes a chronic issue for the victim. Not only are they faced with their bully or bullies at school, but there is little respite when they are off school grounds as it continues through cyber bullying.
Parents need to monitor what their children are doing online and if done correctly without too much intrusion, then we can all be one step closer to stop the bullying. If kids know that their parents, friends, teachers administrators are not going to be silent witnesses, but rather take a stand to end this crisis, we might begin to see a decrease in this behavior. The more bystanders remain silent, the more the cycle will continue. Make the commitment to end this terrible crisis and help both the victim and the bully. With grit and determination we can stop the bullying.