Not only was bullying existent in the halls of North Shore High School in the movie Mean Girls, it is also happening right here at Woodmore High School.
In a poll given to grades seven through 12, it was revealed that the strongest form of bullying is no longer name calling in the hallways. This day and age, kids are using texting and other forms of media to bully fellow students. Out of 336 Woodmore students surveyed, 177 said they have used texting to bully another person. That’s over 50 percent of the people surveyed.
Among the underclassmen, bullying through social networking sites also is an issue, especially for girls.
The poll was given to every grade during school in the students’ English classes. Of the polls given to each English class, 336 were counted. Polls that were incomplete and not taken seriously were disregarded and not included in the survey.
The bullying problem varies from grade to grade. With most upperclassmen, physical bullying was not an issue. With the underclassmen and middle school students, it was found that many students admitted to being a victim to physical bullying. Among the upperclassmen, verbal bullying was more of a problem than physical bullying.
On the survey, students had the opportunity to choose where they felt bullying happens the most. The underclassmen and middle school students mostly said that the school bus and hallway were where they felt bullied. The upperclassmen reported that most bullying happened in the classroom and in the locker room.
There have been many professional research studies that help support the idea that bullying in schools is a problem. In a study done by UCLA, it was found that more than one in five kids are repeatedly either bullies, victims or both, and bullies are often popular and viewed as the “coolest” by their classmates. Targeted victims are usually kids who appear lonely and depressed or display social anxiety.
A survey by i-Safe Inc., an independent e-safety firm, also found 58 percent of children reported that someone had said something mean or hurtful to them online, and one in four have had it happen more than once.
One thing that can be learned from the poll is that parents should pay attention to what their child is doing online and texting on their cell phone. If parents were more involved in what their child is doing, it may help lower bullying in schools.
Several Woodmore students responded in the school newspaper, Window to Woodmore, on whether there are bullying issues at their school, and most noted they witnessed bullying outside of social media.
“Bullying at Woodmore is not an issue during the school day, but when it comes to sports, I see verbal bullying in the locker room,” said senior Travis Moenter.
Junior Jacob Klavinger said, “I don’t think there is any physical bullying at our school, but kids need to learn that everyone is different and they need to accept that.”
Sophomore Hunter Gregory said, “I think verbal bullying is the main problem as far as bullying goes at Woodmore.”
Freshman Joe Flores said, “I see kids pushing and shoving in the hallways between classes. Kids also threaten each other.”
Teacher Kristina Curtice said, “I don’t really see bullying at school, but if and when I do it is verbal.”
Why bullies bully?
Researchers have been trying to get to the main reasoning of why people bully. Many believe that bullies have “low self-esteem” about themselves which triggers them to bully. Actually, research has shown that the majority of bullies have a high self-esteem and find others’ pain enjoyable. However, there is still more to the reasoning behind bullying.
Many bullies have been hurt in some form or way. Some bullies have experienced abuse, parental neglect, parental divorce, a death, cancer, trust broken from a friend, even a bad break-up can trigger uncontrollable emotions.
Research has shown that hurt people have the emotional maturity of the age they received their (un-dealt with) pain. If someone was hurt at the age of 12 then there is a great chance that in later years they could still have the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old.
This also is a main reason why people tend to overreact when something is said about him or her. Hurt people often erupt with inappropriate emotions because of particular words, actions, or circumstances that trigger past wounds. Most don’t even realize that this is happening.
Everyone has been emotionally or physically hurt in some way.
If people don’t deal with past pain there’s a strong chance they can take their emotions out on others.
The media tells bullies not to judge others, but the same goes for the victims as well. Victims should not be so quick to judge the bullies, because they have wounds that are still yet to be healed.
For others, some could just be from the simple lack of good parenting. Some parents give their child too much freedom and allow them to do what they feel is best. However, even teenagers need boundaries. When teens are faced with these boundaries or rules they tend to become annoyed and some even rebel. This can also trigger bullying. They want to prove to others that they have control. In doing so, they tease, hurt and can sometimes torment others. No one has control over anything, but as humans long for some form of human power.
How can bullying be stopped? Is there a way to completely end bullying? Being human, no. There will always be people that hunger for power, feel as if they are better and people who have been hurt. Can bullying be reduced? Yes. It won’t be easy to do this. Some people will have to seek counseling in order to deal with past pains. Others will have to for once swallow their pride and realize that other people feelings and lives are at stake and not just theirs.
It’s a challenge, but if everyone comes together, bullying can be reduced.
For more information on bullying, visit www.stopbullying.gov.
(Reprinted from the April edition of Woodmore To Window, a Woodmore student publication, with permission.)