Bullying is defined by Merriam Webster’s online dictionary as: “the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, typically to force him or her to do what the aggressor wants. ” Clearly such behavior can be crippling to the self-efficacy of a victim. Bullying is an issue that affects many school-aged children across the US. Most students have been victims of bullying or at least know someone that has. It has been proven bullying often leads to other destructive behaviors such as eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, cutting, and in extreme cases, suicide.
Since children spend most of the day at school, schools hold responsibility on their student’s conduct. Should schools create and enforce guidelines to protect individuals from the evils of bullying and discrimination? Yes, school systems should develop guidelines that prevent continuous, malicious comments and behaviors that could eventually lead to depression. The creation of more rules would strengthen discipline and good behavior, which would provide a safer environment, allowing students to excel in their studies.
One way bullies affect their victims is by using using excessive, negative comments to degrade their victims, normally in an effort to increase their own self esteem. Bullies tend to arise when they feel neglected or uncared for. As degrading comments continue, most children begin to believe the bully’s comments rather than the actual truth. As kids are growing up they are in search for their identity, so when kids only hear the derogatory comments from bullies they do what they only know how to do by taking it to heart and believing it to be true.
These continual comments can be detrimental to the emotional, psychological, and physical health of a victim, often plunging them into depression. Victims who suffer from depression find relief or comfort in destructive behaviors, like drugs or alcohol. Others think that that they need to do more to be accepted and society; this leads kids to become bulimic or anorexic. If depression continues to grow worse or bullying does not cease, many victims feel that their only escape is to take their own life.
From personal experience, two of my classmates have committed suicide due to the harmful effects of bullying. In one of these cases, the bullying accompanied by family struggles was too much for them to handle. Her death not only affected the community, but students individually. The effects of a suicidal death can lead to even more damaging behaviors, especially for family members. Family members having to deal with such a horrific loss grieve in their own way. Sometimes the ways families grieve actually make it harder on themselves by shutting themselves out.
Depression is common after a loss of a family member. The family had to relearn their lifestyle by not factoring in the death of the family. In the meantime, schools need learn how to respond to these situations. Expectations of schools will be raised by the community, pressuring them to make a difference in the way they maintain peace among students. Rules and guidelines to monitor kids during the school day would make a huge difference in the improvement of society, especially within the school systems.
Additional rules and guidelines would provide educators and faculty more opportunity to teach better discipline and improved behavior. Normally, the responsibility of teaching kids discipline and appropriate behavior lies in the hands of their families. Unfortunately, in today’s society many children come from broken homes with no support system to teach them how to socially interact with others. This enables the school system a unique opportunity to intervene and prevent bullying from beginning. Schools could, and should be teaching kids to treat each individual equally.
There must also be a zero tolerance policy, meaning even if there is only a suspected case of bullying, it should be investigated and dealt with appropriately. Adding punishments for suspected accusers would also decrease the total number of offenses. School kids would not risk recess time, detentions, or Saturday schools just to make a degrading or malicious comment towards someone. Encouraging better discipline and discouraging poor decisions with punishment would result in overall better behavior. Combining better behavior and improved discipline has to potential to lead to a safer, more accepting work environment.
Eliminating bullies from learning environments will allow school children to focus on their school work, rather than worrying about the constant threat of conflict. Bullies take advantage of the times teachers have their back turned or are not in tune with the class room. Victims of in-class bullying rarely gather the courage to tell an adult about it; this makes it easy for bullies to victimize others without consequence. The absence of bullies allows students to concentrate on more important tasks. Increased focus can lead to accelerated learning and better academic performance on state standardized tests.
By protecting and investing in their students, school systems are essentially investing in their own school district, especially since most state funding is based off of performance on state tests. Discouraging and eliminating bullies from the school systems would benefit both the children and the school systems. Critics of this proposal would ask the questions: “How do teachers and faculty differentiate between bullying and playful playground talk? ” or “How do you enforce such strict guidelines? ” Both are reasonable questions.
Since teachers spend the most time with students, and are therefore able to relate with students, than they should be the primary resources for drafting the guidelines, rather than other faculty members or school board members. People who do not spend a lot of time with children should not develop the rules and guidelines designed to protect children. Current anti-bullying programs back that up by their continual failure to prevent bullying from schools. The people who do not spend an adequate amount of time with kids do not have an accurate idea of the interactions between children.
A committee or group made up of teachers only would allow them come up with the best set of guidelines possible for the situation. Whether those new rules and guidelines are enforced is another issue. School systems should enact a plan to monitor the everyday activities of the playgrounds, hallways, and lunch rooms. Using cameras or simply requiring staff to monitor children more closely, would discourage bullying. If kids are aware that they are being monitored, and that they will suffer consequences from it, then they are less likely to act upon their impulses to bully.
Enforcement of these guidelines would, indeed, be a taxing process, but the lives and comfort of children should not be jeopardized. School systems should take the necessary measures to protect their children from the harmful effects of bullying. Preventing a group of kids from damaging the lives of others is an important investment for the future of individuals and schools. Additionally, saving families from the tragedy and grief of suicide would make society a more peaceful, and more accepting place.
Teaching kids better discipline and good behavior is normally the responsibility of parents, but school systems also have a large opportunity to positively affect the behaviors of their children. Furthermore, school children are entitled to a safe and accepting atmosphere where they are given the opportunity to excel in their studies. It is the duty of schools to make work environments accommodating to each student’s needs in order for them to develop a safe, yet explorable atmosphere. In this atmosphere, students can grow as individuals intellectually, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
Given this opportunity, many kids will be proven success stories. When these kids begin to realize the potential they have, they can capitalize on it by challenging other peers to better themselves. Preventing bullies from a learning environment will make a tremendous difference on school grounds. The arguments critics provide are engulfed by the need for change in today’s school systems. Change and reform is needed, but when will it happen? Now is the time when a community as a whole must determine that bullying is a damaging source of fear and anxiety in their children, and the rest will follow.