Have you ever been a victim of bullying or have been a bully yourself? If you have, you know what bullying feels like. Bullying is a behavior that encompasses teasing, harassment, threats, and physical aggression. It can come in many different forms and can occur in many places but one place it seems to always lurk is in schools while targeting minority students. Bullying is a problem that plagues schools yet it receives little attention from today’s society, except when it’s too late, as in the case of recent coverage of bullying-related suicides. Because of the differences among students of different backgrounds, beliefs, and interests, it can lead to harassment, teasing, and violence. Some people may think bullying is a part of growing up and kids eventually grow out of it; therefore it is nothing to worry about.
“We’ve got to dispel this myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage,” said President Barack Obama in his Oct. 22 anti-bullying message on CNN News. “That it’s some inevitable part of growing up. It’s not.”
This kind of behavior hurts and can have a long term affect on children. According to the National Institute of Health, recent surveys show that 77 percent of students are bullied mentally, verbally, or physically.
Bullying is a crime in our communities. But in order to stop and prevent bullying, students need to take action.
“Last year, I was an exchange student and I would hear some mean comments made about me because I was different,” said Muhammad Alshathri, a senior at Marysville Getchell’s Bio-med academy. “I would try to ignore them because I knew that they were wrong anyways.”
“I think that minorities are an easier target for bullying because they are different than others,” said student Alwyn Galang, a junior also from the Bio-med academy.
As a minority, I feel that when I hear negative comments about myself or others, I need to take a stand and let them know that what they said was not right. Because I am taking action, I am preventing the comments from happening again. Because students are judging others based on ethnicity, there can be separation and exclusion.
“As a freshman at Marysville Pilchuck High School, because the school is so large and diverse, I saw a lot of racial separation among the students and tensions would sometimes get high,” student Bryce Rochon said.
If students take small steps, it can make a big difference throughout their schools and make it a safer environment.
School advisors can also prevent bullying within a school. Some administrators may see bullying but some do not think much of it and ignore it. But in order to stop and prevent it, everyone — not just students — need to take action. Marysville Getchell High School’s Bio-med Academy’s principal, Judith Murdock, explained that when she sees or hears bullying, she stops it right away. “First, I start with a warning,” she said. “I tell them what it is that they are doing, which is bullying,” she stated. “I then give them automatic suspension if the behavior continues; there is zero tolerance for bullying. We want to teach them and show them that what they are doing is wrong.”