Reduce Bullying Through Positive Support and Respect


Illustration by Lauren Williams

Twenty-eight percent of U.S. students grades 6-12 are bullied each year, and as many as 160,000 may stay home from school on any given day because they are afraid of being bullied, according to The Atlantic.

At school, a student is bullied every 7 minutes, lowering their self worth by the second. Bullying should not be the greatest contribution to the number one cause of death in teenagers, which is suicide, and second, depression.

Last year, a freshman girl in the Issaquah School District who was a friend of mine got bullied every day; that school turned into an unsafe environment for her. The school put little to no effort to stop the negative behaviors, and instead, she had to do online schooling for the rest of her high school career.

The two bullies told her to “kill herself” everyday, and threatened her to the point where she did not want to go to school because she was terrified. Instead of zero-tolerance policies protecting the victim they negatively affected her, when they should of improved the behaviors of the bullies. If schools integrated better bullying prevention programs, this nationwide epidemic could be significantly reduced.

Bullies are mainly created because of personal problems and insecurities that they need to put on somebody else. For example, if a bully is dealing with poor body image, they may bully someone else about their looks. Bullies thrive on attention, and their hurtful actions give them a source of power that they are missing from their personal lives. They use bullying tactics to impress other students and thrive on attention to make them feel powerful and popular.

Using expulsion or suspension to solve the problem will not only push the problem away and make matters worse, but the bully would not learn how to turn their negative behaviors into positive behaviors by problem solving and having a productive and positive mindset. At Gibson Ek, creating a safe and respectful environment, and helping students 1:1 with their individual behavioral problems will be more effective than anti-bullying policies.

Reducing bullying is a community effort, and an effort everyone can contribute to. Schools should introduce policies that focus on education, positive discipline, and creating a culture of respect and understanding through character education and social skills training.

Such policies as these underlie the causes of the bullying and finding outcomes that focus on both the bully and the victim. Models like these focus on solving the problem, mending the harm the bullying has caused, and can reduce bullying by an increasingly large amount.

Reducing the risk of bullying goes hand in hand with an increase of responsibility for the future. This includes putting others before yourself and making a positive impact in the community you are a part of. If, as a community, people try to create a more respectful and safe environment, this nationwide epidemic may eventually come to an end.