During EIP, my American Government instructor, Professor Balleck asked us to write a research paper based on if we were policy makers, which policies would we try to find solutions. I chose the issue of bullying in American schools and both personally and politically, I want my readers to understand my passion for this subject matter. So, enjoy readers!
No Bullies Allowed
It is your child’s first day of school and they are utterly excited for the next few years of their educational careers.
However once you arrive to your child’s school and they step into the car, you notice that they are very quiet and almost withdrawn from the conversation about their first day of school. After the next few days of school, you begin noticing small bruises on your child’s face and sometimes their clothing being wet from receiving a “swirly” in the school restrooms. This is the first indication to you that your child is being bullied in school. But what should you do about it?
According to a periodical by Anthony A. Volk, Joseph A. Camilleri, Andrew V. Dane and Zopito A. Marini for Aggressive Behavior, “Bullying is a specific form of aggression that is characterized by an imbalance of power whereby a more powerful individual repeatedly and intentionally causes harm to a weaker individual” (Volk et al. 222).
Now, there is a new form of bullying called cyber bullying, which is similar to bullying in school however it done through personal computers such as cell phones as well as electronic messaging such as e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging and webpages. However the difference between school bullying and cyber bullying according to Shari Schneider, Lydia O’Donnell, Ann Stueve and Robert W.S. Coulter from the American Journal of Public Health, cyber bullying lets electronic communication keep the bully anonymous as well as the ability to post messages to a wider audience than a small group of people (Schneider et al. 171).
Although bullying can occur both inside and outside of the school, it is an issue in our culture that cannot be ignored. If I were a politician, I would make an aggressive effort to not only help these children in need, including the bullies and all their families, but to make the country aware of what our generation is experiencing in the educational system.
The first measure that I would make towards correcting bullying in schools would to have a nation-wide educational campaign, in which I would travel to city to city to inform parents and students about the real effects that bullying has on children. However as both a former high school student and now a college student, I remember when there would be a big assembly about an issue such as drug abuse, and it would be conducted by adults.
With my campaign, I would ask college students who have experienced bullying or lost a loved one or close acquaintance from suicide because of bullying to talk to high school, middle school as well as college students about the issue. Students receive enough education from adults for the entirety of their education; however it would be more beneficial to hear from someone who may be walking in their shoes.
Another initiative that I would include in my campaign is to create a program where students have the ability to help others, if they are the victim of bullying or the actual bully. It would be called the L.O.V. E. program, in which the acronym stands for Leadership, Opportunity, Values and Equality. I believe that in order to demonstrate leadership, you must be able to find an opportunity to do it and if you demand equality, then you must practice it yourself.
This specific program would be for middle school students and high school students, however high school and college students have the opportunity to become a mentor to a peer. I believe that as a student, it is not only your duty to receive a proper education, but to apply that education to something that holds importance. Within the program, both high school and college students will have the opportunity to have internships at other organizations that deal with counseling for students, scholarships for college or continuing their college education as well as the chance to make a difference in someone’s life. That’s probably the most important perk of the job.
Along with the L.O.V.E program, I would also work with the Department of Education and Department of Justice to establish a new regulation which would be called the “No Bullies Allowed” rule, which would require teachers and school counselors to report sights of bullying as well as signs of becoming a bully to the school boards as well as to the local authorities so that students may be placed in the L.O.V. E program in order to be away from the pressures of their peers to harass, hurt or persecuted another student. This would be a way for a student who may be the bully to avoid being suspended or expelled from school and to reconsider their choices in how they treat their peers.
However with bullying, Volk, Camilleri, Dane and Marini reported that the key issue with bullying is that it is an issue which is“…by design, difficult to detect, particularly by adults. This makes its detection and punishment problematic…” (Volk et al. 233). This is part of the reason why I want students to be involved in the efforts, mainly because as students, they are aware of what happens on campus in terms of who is being bullied or receives the most persecution from a particular classmate.
In terms of bullying towards the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities in most institutions, I would ask the national government to consider holding a National Day of Silence as a representation of how cyber bullying and bullying in school affect not just heterosexual students, but the nonheterosexual community and to represent the millions of voices that are never heard when it comes to this type of issue. It would be a chance for the nation to reflect on how our generation has been affected by bullying as well as paying respect to those who found suicide or another means of physical harm to escape the embarrassment and hurt of being bullied or criticized for who they are as a person.
It would not only open the nation’s eyes to the problem, but it would also open parents’ eyes about how important it is to be aware of your child’s health and well-being and to find solutions to help them build that self-esteem back up.
You are probably wondering why I hold such a strong interest in trying to correct the problem of bullying. My interest is so strong because I was a victim of bullying since the age of four. I was taunted by my peers because of my appearance and I experienced a time in which I would starve myself in order to change it as well as my self-esteem slowly diminishing.
I remember those silent car rides home with my mother, in which I never told her that about students calling me fat or ugly. I remember sitting in my room in the fourth grade crying because someone pushed me in the back and called me a “pig”.
It was difficult, however as I reflect on it, I have built a strong sense of myself as well as my worth in this world. I feel that anyone can find their self-worth once they consider what makes them special and not on their peers’ negativity. Because of my personal experience with both being bullied and witnessing bullying, as a politician, I would take an active role in trying to prevent it. If I was able to overcome bullying, then I want to help someone else overcome it too.
As a nation, we talk about the freedom of speech, however if we want to hear the voices the children who are being bullied, the problems that the children who are bullying others are experiencing and what we can do about the situation, then we must close our mouths, open our minds and just listen.
Works Cited for this essay:
Schneider, Shari,Kessel, O’Donnell, Lydia, Stueve, Ann, Coulter, Robert W.S.
“Cyberbullying, School Bullying, and Psychological Distress:A Regional Census of High School Students.” American Journal of Public Health 102.1 (2012): 171-177.Web. 14 Jul 2012.
Volk, Anthony A., Camilleri, Joseph A., Dane, Andrew V., Marini, Zopito A. “Is Adolescent Bullying an Evolutionary Adaptation?”. Aggressive Behavior 38.3 (2012): 222-238. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 21 Jul 2012.