Bullying is a big problem with kids across America.
Bullying is addressed in almost every school, especially high schools, but many are now starting to forget bullying in our younger siblings lives. In fact, between 4th and 8th grade in particular, 90% of students are victims of bullying. On top of that, it’s estimated that 160,000 children miss school everyday due to the fear of attack and intimidation by other students, and 56% of students have personally felt some sort of bullying at school.
Giselle, a 3rd grader at a local elementary school, says, “I didn’t want to go to school for a while because this girl was telling people not to talk to me. I was always by myself because of her.” There are many types of bullying, like physical bullying (hitting, pushing, taking a child’s possessions). However, nowadays with kids, the bullying tends to be more of verbal bullying (making threats, name-calling) and/or psychological bullying (excluding other children, spreading rumors). Natalie, a 4th grader, says, “Boys were threatening to hurt me because they wanted to make me cry…”
Budget cuts have also been an adding factor to bullying. Due to budget cuts, elementary school counselors are one of the first things to get cut. Centennial counselor Katrina Johangiry says that “Elementary is main foundation where children learn to problem solve, but when you take away counselors and people they can talk to, it builds the challenge.”
As family members to younger students, it’s our responsibility to educate and help our young relatives understand the severity of bullying. There are a few telltale signs of someone who is being bullied. They might have recurrent complaints of physical symptoms such as stomach-aches or headaches with no apparent cause, or a sudden drop in grades or other learning problems. They could also be crying frequently and for no apparent reason, and suddenly change the way that they talk about themselves- calling themselves a loser, or someone else a jerk. It’s important to help them when these signs come up, and to encourage them to fight against it.
Lienely, a 3rd grader, says that he “saw a kid getting kicked by three other boys, and everyone in the class saw.” One of the reasons bullying keeps on happening is because no one is willing to speak up.
Destiny, another 3rd grader, says “I was always getting bullied by my partner [in class]. He called me fat and ugly, and I cried and begged my mom to let me stay home. I was scared to tell the teacher.” Bullying can often stop in less than 10 seconds, most of the time when peers intervene on behalf of the victim. Everyone has the power to stop bullying at its roots, by encouraging their siblings and younger family members to take a stand, and to be an example themselves and say no to bullying.