Bullying Still Prevalent, but Students Can Take Steps Toward Prevention

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Fat. Ugly. Stupid. Lame. Useless. Ignorant. Weird. Mean. Self absorbed. Weak. These are just a few of the insults that victims of bullying face daily. Students all over are bullied, and it’s a growing problem.

“By definition bullying is something that’s happened time and time again and not just some instance of ‘someone called me a name’,” Southern Lehigh high school psychologist Mr. Cotie Strong said.

According to dosomething.org, over 3.2 million students are bullied each year. It occurs almost every day-in the classroom, among groups of peers, and on the internet.

“It’s a problem everywhere because you’re always gonna make fun of other people it’s just something [you have to deal with],” freshman Allyson Yanega said. “I mean it’s bad but people do it to make themselves feel better, to look cooler in front of their friends, so I think there’s definitely more than we think.”

After asking high school students if they believe that bullying is a problem at Southern Lehigh about half say yes and half say no.

“I think it can be a problem, I don’t think it’s maybe voiced as a problem but that’s just because maybe it’s covered up more than it should be,” senior Andrew Sheats said.

Boys are typically more prone to throwing punches and aggressive insults. However, girls bully in a much quieter way, purposely excluding others from groups and spreading rumors about each other.

“Females bully in a different way, it’s often times much more covert, kind of under the surface. We’re much better at portraying ourselves as nice and kind and pleasant, but when no one’s looking that’s when the hidden aggression comes in,” social worker Mrs. Heather Evans said. “Guys might be much more physical and verbal.”

People bully for a number of reasons, but one of the major reasons is because of insecurity. Many people are struggling with self-doubt, self-hatred, or even troubles at home take their pent-up emotions out on others.

“Sometimes [people bully] maybe out of their own insecurities. They may pick on someone to feel better about themselves. They may have been bullied in the past and want to feel better about their status socially,” Mr. Strong said.

Even though it isn’t their fault, victims of bullying don’t leave unscathed. Many victims develop depression and anxiety. Some students are afraid to go to a certain class or even to school because of bullying.

“Any change in mood or behavior [might allude to bullying]. Often times one might become withdrawn or isolated,” Mrs. Evans said. “Other times they may become more worried or anxious.”

Even though it may seem unstoppable, there are steps that everyone can take to try to resolve bullying. Stand up, speak out, and tell an adult if you or a friend is being bullied. Don’t just sit by and watch.

“Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. Don’t try to keep in all of your emotions,” freshman Kyle Schaedler said.

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