School and parents need to take initiative against bullying
By Natasha Reeves
Lingering on the minds of concerned parents, and receiving much attention from the press, bullying is a topic demanding a lot of attention. There is an alarming increase in teenage suicide rates due to bullying; according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are 4,400 young people who commit suicide per year. Bullying is a problem that needs to be solved and there is the issue as to the appropriate way to stop it. The upbringing of a child is influenced by their parents, the community, the schools, the law and even the culture. Those who are most responsible for the upbringing of a child are the parents and the schools.
On Oct. 25, three fifteen-year-olds were arrested for bullying in San Luis, Arizona. These three teenagers taunted and assaulted a boy on the bus to and from school. One of the arrested teenagers videotaped portions of the incident. Bullying should not be taken lightly because it can result in the death of a young person. Yet, fifteen-year-olds should not get arrested for bullying. The law should be the last resort when it comes to dealing with minors. The school needs to step in before the law does. The school needs to enforce intolerance for bullying. In the case of the three fifteen-year-olds who were arrested, the bullied minor was getting harassed to and from school on the bus through the school year. The minor reported the bullying to his mother. His mother then contacted the police. Two alternatives to this situation could be the mother contacting the school or the bus driver intervening. While the media is filled with anti-bullying campaigns the schools themselves should educate the damages of bullying. More importantly than schools stepping in, are parents teaching their children both compassion and confidence at the youngest age possible.
Organizations such as stopbullying.gov and media influences such as Cartoon Network’s “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” campaign are positive influences bullying needs to be stopped at its source, which is the home. There have been studies done by the CDC, which show at least 80 percent of children who have this bullying behavior are caused by a bad home environment. A bad home environment can consist of a lack of stability, parents who have little involvement in the child’s life or there are cases of parents who are aggressive and can act like bullies to their own children, either verbally or physically. If parents can’t prevent bullying from occurring then the second authority needs to step in, this is the school.
The law should not be considered a first or even second resort. Those arrested for bullying will face further intimidation by fellow inmates which can just reassure their already aggressive behavior. It can be easy to forget that bullying does not come with just one victim, everyone involved is being damaged, both the harasser and harassed. There is the theory that putting bullies on trial will show others that there are serious consequences to such behavior. The problem with that idea is that putting an already troubled teenager in jail will have a lesser probability of fixing the issue when they are in an even more stressful and pressured setting.
A person should never live with bullying, any child or teenager should tell a teacher or parent if they are ever getting tormented at school. Even in the work place one should report about any sort of harassment. A child or teenager who is a bully also needs to have their problems addressed. Bullying is an obstacle that can be overcome by both parties involved if only the right people took the initiative to do something about it.
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