Millions of students around the world face harassment and don’t feel safe when they go to school. Bullying in school has been a problem for a long time and continues to exist in different forms. With various laws and policies being used against bullying, I believe its effective implementation will work in the long run.
The website stopbullying.gov defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance,” and “includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally and excluding someone from a group on purpose.” The website also presents the fact that about 21 percent of students aged 12-18 experienced bullying in the year 2014-2015 in America.
Bullying stems from various reasons like low self-esteem, loneliness, problems at home and jealousy. The adverse effects of bullying include decreased academic performance, depression and in some instances, it can escalate to school violence and suicide. The problem of bullying is a complicated issue, which exists in a loop. While it may seem that only the bullied children are facing problems, the bullies also face their own set of problems leading them to act in an aggressive manner. While combating bullying, the policies need to address the bullies as much as it addresses the bullied. Sometimes, we seem to forget that the bullies are children too, and the measures taken with this approach does not meet the desired result.
With a rapid increase in the use of social media, the problem of bullying has evolved into a different form. Cyberbullying has presented an opportunity for interpersonal torment. I believe educating children about the harms of cyberbullying as well as providing them with preventive measures can resolve this problem. In many schools, children are being taught to make the most of available technological tools. Most media applications allow users to block persons, secure their account with passwords and limit the number of viewers of their profile. Teaching young children with such measures can be helpful to help them.
Personally, I have no experience of being bullied. However, I have heard cases of bullying from different people. Back in my school in Nepal, we had formed a club that allowed students to report cases of bullying and harassment anonymously. While students talked among themselves reasoning why it exists and how it could be solved, they were also taught some self-defense tips. Students did a case study on bullying, and with the help of teachers, they organized programs to help them combat it. The end result showed decrease in tally for the harassment. From my personal experience, I have seen that organizing student-led programs can be very helpful to bring a solution to the problem. This is why I insist on the fact that with proper methods for particular environments, anti-bullying procedures are effective.
The first school for children is their home. So, giving proper education against bullying and monitoring activities by parents is a very good way to minimize the frequency of bullying. By doing so, they don’t just prevent their children from bullying, or being bullied, but they can act thoughtfully while witnessing bullying. On a national basis, writing federal law and addressing bullying would be a huge improvement. According to stopbullying.gov, the United States of America does not have any federal laws regarding bullying. However, different states have their own laws and policies. The state of Louisiana has anti-bullying laws and regulations, which also cover cyberbullying. Writing a federal law encompassing the findings of most recent studies to narrow down what actually works is a very good antidote against bullying.
Every student deserves to feel safe while in school, and this right must be secured. Minimizing the problem of bullying is not rocket science. It just needs a little more thoughtfulness. With policies on how students can report bullying, good communication on how they can do so, and adults providing them guidance, anti-bullying policies work, and can eradicate the feeling of insecurity in children.