Bullying has been noted as a never-ending problem in schools throughout the United States, as well as in other countries. Bullying is a form of discrimination mostly conducted on the basis of race, looks, height or a students’ family background. It is carried out by use of physical means or words to either scare a person or make them feel less of a human being. It has been the cause of a number of serious cases where students are seriously beaten up frequently, others go without lunch on several occasion, and the worst-case scenario, where some students resort to committing suicide as a final option due to experiencing too much bullying. Bullying has been a major reason that contributes to students’ absence from school, deterioration of academic performance, social isolation and other psychological problems on the part of those students who are bullied.
Recent survey has revealed that approximately 15 % of students in elementary schools report cases of bullying every week with each of them being bullied at least once or twice a week. The same survey revealed that almost six out of every ten students confessed to having bullied someone else.
Signs of bullying
There are a number of ways that can show whether a student is being bullied in school. These are the signs that parents and teachers should be very keen on, so that they can know about bullying cases in time, to prevent such cases from getting to a level where they can be serious. Student’s who are bullied often show a decreased level of self- esteem, lack of confidence and some even suffer depression. Physical signs might be frequent bruises or scars, loss of appetite and sleeplessness. Students’ performance in schoolwork also deteriorates and they tend to always give excuses as to why they do not want to go to school. One may also appear to isolate themselves from their friends, age mates and even family members. Finally, in worst case scenarios, one may even try to or make threats about wanting to commit suicide. When such signs are noted in a student, extreme caution should be taken in handling the situation, as some students who are bullied, do not always like being made to feel like they are weak hence they might act defensive when asked to tell the truth about what is happening to them.
As a parent or teacher, talking to a student about school and observing their reaction to certain questions about bullying should be the first step in trying to understand them. When a student acts agitated or tries to appear as if they are not interested in having the conversation, one should let the student know that you care and are there to help in any way possible. Listening to them and allowing them to trust you with all the information, is critical in analyzing the situation in order to come up with a proper solution to the problem at hand.
Ways of preventing bullying
Schools all over America are introducing new programs and initiatives aimed at creating understanding concerning the bully issue. Guiding programs, which are against bullying that could cause a bully to either be suspended or thrown out of school for good, or even lead to one being put behind bars, have also been put in place in a number of states. The Department of Education has also been involved in a number of programs with some elementary schools, whereby foundations are started with the aim of preventing cases of bullying from occurring.
Measures aimed at working out conflicts between students, should also be put in place. Anger management and counseling programs should also be made available in schools to help those students who have issues at home that lead them to bullying others. Activities that promote good relations amongst students should also be encouraged. Finally, students should be constantly reminded of the consequences they might face if they involve themselves in bullying actions, so as to deter them from getting into such trouble.
Summary of interview
The interview I carried out revealed that bullying is not as common as it was three years ago in Normandale Elementary. The cases reported currently have fairly reduced from twenty to three cases on a weekly basis. This has been due to some of the measures the school has put in place to fight bullying. The school has put in place anti- bullying rules that if broken could land a student in serious trouble with the school administration and counseling programs that aim at reaching students who have issues at home. This is because the common reasons cited for bully behavior were family related issues. I also found out that there has never been any serious case of bullying in the history of the school. Being a small town school, everyone knows each other and this has enabled most of the students to co- exist peacefully both outside and inside the school.
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