It is time to put an end to bullying

The causes and effects of bullying are frequently shown in the media – on news reports, movies and television programs. Incidents of kids and teens suffering from bullying are nothing new, yet the issue stands at large, as bullying isn’t always prevented.

Tragedies are shown on news reports when bullying results in suicide. Unfortunately, bullying is often brushed off with the phrase, “it’s just kids being kids,” due to a lack of public awareness.

Recently, bullying has become a common occurrence, according to Stomp Out Bullying, a national anti-bullying organization for kids and teens. Statistics show that a child is bullied every seven minutes, and that 85 percent of the time there is no intervention.

Why is this so? Wouldn’t it make sense to help someone in need? If more people were aware of the issue, then more people could help those being bullied.

Michelle Danner, an acting coach at Edgemar and the director of next year’s movie “Hello Herman,” a film about a bullied student who embarks on a shooting rampage at his high school, says, “Everybody needs to step up, and take responsibility for either witnessing it, or not doing anything due to fear. The topic is being talked about in all kinds of different media. The bystanders are just as guilty as the bullies. It’s a responsibility that everybody has, to live in this world, and to help, and to reach out to other people.”

At some point in life, everyone goes through the phase of trying to establish an identity.

There are also the awkward stages of desperately trying to fit in while worrying about being different from others. In middle school, kids just want to be accepted and find themselves, but those are the years when bullying is at its worst. In fact, according to Stomp Out Bullying, 97 percent of middle school students are now bullied online, or cyber-bullied.

Young people often end up at the mercy of bullies. Think of the tragic case when Larry King, a junior high student who was not afraid to be different, was shot in the middle of class by classmate Brandon McInerney just days before Valentine’s Day.

Those who fear bullies remain silent, and dread the thought of having to go to school. Usually, the silence is due to a lack of trust in people, and an inability to feel able to talk about their problems.

It is not only up to students and parents to seek help against bullying, but it is also up to the community. CNN reports that, “more than 55 [percent] of bullying behaviors stop in less than 10 seconds when a peer steps in.” People are stronger in numbers, since one person alone cannot always initiate change.

However, if communities would come together and bring awareness to bullying, there might be less instances of suicide, and bullied students wouldn’t have to switch schools out of fear. It is everyone’s responsibility to educate the youth about the damaging effects of bullying, so that no more lives will be lost.