Changing the Bullying Environment

I remember the names they called me and the disrespectful things they said to me. I remember the things they threw at me, and I remember dreading what else they could throw at me. I remember how much I would cry when I got home, and how red my eyes would get from all of the cryings. Being bullied in school, I believe is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a person. It especially was the case for me. I guess you could say, I wasn't a beauty queen in school, but I was a nerd so of course, that made me a prime target for bullies. I can recall some days of not even wanting to go to school because I was afraid of what they would do to me. For me, it was many name-callings, a push and a shove here, paper balls are thrown at me. But flash forward more than 10 years, and students now are experiencing bullying on another level with social media and the internet. More and more you see headlines of bullying that's gotten out of hand and led to a child committing suicide, or hurting others. Teachers, administrators, and other adults within the legal and educational systems have developed a passive way of dealing with Bullying that has proven to not work but fail the students being bullied, and the ones doing the bullying. Because of my experience in school, I started an organization once I got older to be apart of the solution for bullying. What I've realized from research and hearing other stories from people who have been bullied is that we can be the solution. Sure the adults are supposed to take action and do something, but where the adults falter, students can step up. Not just the students being bullied, but the students that watch, the students that are apart of this environment of bullying. Students have more power than they think when it comes to changing the school environment So that behavior like bullying can't continue. If one student, or two, or the whole class stood up to another student trying to bully a student, no bully would even think about bullying anyone again. A lot of students usually don't realize the pact of bullying until it's too late. But the adults surrounding this behavior can contribute but helping students to acknowledge how they can make a difference. Whether it's activities that teach them how to stand up individually, or as a whole, or school-wide programs that encourage students to make better decisions and help others. Bullying doesn't just affect the bullied, but it can affect the entire school. School rules and legislation isn't yet strong enough to punish bullies. But what we can do is create healthier environments for students to learn and grow, as well as develop an intolerance for behaviors that comprise that environment. Punishment for bullies will never be what we want it to be or feel like a bully deserves. What can work is empowering students to take the lead on improving their schools and the lives of their peers.

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