WHY BULLY?

Posted on May 16, 2012

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                                                                                                                       Kyle Fitzpatrick

In the Lifetime original movie Not Like Everyone Else, the story of Brandi Blackbear is an atypical true story of how contorted bullying can get. An unfortunate but compelling tale of how a bullied teen takes back her life. Brandi Blackbear was always different; she never cared about fitting in or being like everyone else. She wore black clothes, had dark black hair, and wrote/read stories in which everyone else shied away from. Because no one or only a couple of her friends understood Brandi, everyone including her best friend turned on her calling her names such as witch and making vast claims that she cast a spell on her teacher by making him really sick.  Some went as far as to scratch 666 into her desk and calling her a spawn of the devil. Because of these bully tactics Brandi was forced by the administration-who suspended her from school based on the words from these individuals who were bullying her-to miss two semesters worth of school. A bully is a particular individual or group of individuals who feel the need to exert their power and force over an individual based on circumstances such as race or simply because they feel entitled and think that everything is theirs. Sometimes people are bullied because they look like they won’t stand up for themselves. Due to the treatment of these individuals most end up losing their sense of security, retaliating, and seeking a way, any way to escape.

There are numerous ways in which one person or a group of people can and do bully another individual. In fact just last year, I saw a group of five people bullying this one girl, she was really backed into a corner these five girls were calling her names, pushing her, and the amount of fear, confusion, and hurt that could be seen on her face stood to show that she had no idea what they were talking about or why this was happening. So, I went down to my schools discipline office and told the security guards, who went to rectify the situation, that there was a group of girls bullying a girl on the fourth floor. Some of the ways that other people are bullied are by writing hateful or inappropriate things about the individual on a social networking site or threatening them. Through bullying many individuals, families, and even communities lose their sense of security as the world they saw as safe was filling with people who wanted to hurt their children. In fact there was a story on TV in Chadbourn, N.C.— where ColumbusCountyauthorities were investigating the death of a 10-year-old girl (Jasmine McClain) who hung herself Monday night (November 16, 2011) after repeatedly being bullied at school. [1]Chadbourn Police Chief Steven Shaw said her death was obviously suicide, and that he was about to close the case when he started checking posts on Facebook and other social media about Jasmine and her death. “Children started coming forward and making accusations that she was bullied – and bullied bad – in school,” Chadbourn Police Chief Shaw said. “It’s a shame that kids are that cruel. It really is,” Samantha West (Jasmine’s mom).  It makes me wonder of the type of home life that these 10-year old bullies must have had to feel that it is alright to bully a fellow 10-year old to a point where they had to decide that it was time for them to take the situation into their own hands. To feel that there is no way out and that the possibility of it getting better is not quite apparent stands to show the mindset that these young individuals must place themselves. To show the severity of the situation and to emphasize the point that bullying regardless of the medium is not alright two state laws were passed in North Carolina. State lawmakers passed two anti-bullying laws two years ago. One made online bullying of children a misdemeanor, while the other required school districts to adopt policies to prohibit bullying without specifying the punishment for violators. The effects of bullying are clearly seen when an individual, a child, a classmate, a friend, a sibling has to go so far as to emphasize the severity of their pain and torment by inflicting deadly harm upon themselves. There was also another unfortunate suicide which hit closer to home occurring in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. “[2]Ashlynn Conner, a 10-year-old girl from Champaign-Urbana, Illinois who took her own life after intense bullying at school. After enduring years of teasing and being called a slut, fat, and ugly, among other insults, Conner asked her mother to be home-schooled. Her mother denied her request and the very next day Conner’s sister found her hanging in her closet by a scarf. I don’t know what it’s going to take to stop it, but no child should ever feel like they have to kill themselves to stop that kind of pain,” said Conner’s mother who is devastated by the loss”. It’s difficult sometimes to fathom why children, teens, adults decide to take their own lives because of bullying or harassment, but you as the reader will never truly know the entire story. Just looking at someone, sometimes it’s not easy to see that they are being bullied and tormented. But what needs to be realized is that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, no other person can say that I’ve been there , I’ve experienced that because no one person has been in the shoes of another person. No one else has felt the pain and torment in which the individual has to experience because no two people lead the exact same lives.

A defense mechanism is a way to cope with the pain, torment, and torture. Payback, be the bigger person, show them that all they’re ever going to be is mean. In the song Mean, Taylor Swift sings of how kids bully and torment other students but at the end of the song her over arching message is that, yes, you may bully me now but years from now I’ll be a fashion icon, a college graduate, while all you’re ever going to be is mean. But not many people, in fact at 10 years old, the last thing you are thinking about is a better tomorrow regardless of how many people tell you it will get better. There are many documented cases of massacres which occurred because people decided to be bullies. Many people fight back in different ways which enables them to feel better about their position.  Did you know that bullying has been linked to 75% of school shooting incidents! Some like the ColumbineHigh Schoolmassacre end with more people dying than necessary. [3] “Columbine”, “this one word sparks the horrific images that took place on April 20, 1999. It is considered the worst school shooting inU.S. history. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered their high school on the morning of April 20 with high-powered weapons and homemade bombs. The boys entered the school cafeteria and library with intent to kill (Stone 1). The boys were considered outcasts and were picked on in school. Many people have come to believe that the motive behind this murderous spree was they were tired of constant ridicule and teasing from classmates. The actions of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are only one instance when bullying was taken too far. In all fifteen were dead, including the attackers, and twenty-three wounded on this tragic day inLittleton,Colorado (Stone 3). According to the National Threat Assessment Center run by the Secret Service, in two thirds of the thirty-seven recent school shootings the attackers felt persecuted, bullied or threatened (Labi 1). Bullying is a constant problem in schools all over the world; when taken too far this is one example of a horrific outcome.  Another fictionalized example of such a horrific outcome is the movie The Final. In The Final a group of 5 students decide to “throw a party” where they invite the individuals who ever bullied them and gain retribution by giving their tormentors a dose of their own medicine, some were mutilated, burned, or even paralyzed. Though the movie The Final is a fictionalized extreme as to how far people, teens will go to gain retribution for their pain and torment, reading about the Columbine shooting stands to show that these fictionalized instances can and do in fact occur. “The victims are examples of those who were terrorized by bullies for one reason or another. The victims are lost, along, often suicidal, because of the torment that is faced daily by bullies. The victims want to turn the table around; the victims want to give their tormentors a dose of the same medicine. Not so much to kill, but to make it abundantly clear what torment has done to the souls of the victims and what torment has shown to the souls of the bullies. But in the movie one guy was saved because he was nice one day to the mastermind. In the end this movie stands to show the fact that when you are nice to someone or even respectful of their abilities it may pay off or possibly save their life. Revenge, payback, and retribution these terms speak specifically to the ideology that when these kids bully each other- that kids will be kids- but when will these kids ever grow up. When they are themselves being tormented in the way they hurt other individuals or when will they realize that what they have been doing for their entire lives was wrong.

Bullying

Like a Lion hunting its prey

Like a Hyena laughing its deeds away

Like a bone crushed underneath the rubble

Like a leaf just starting to crumbling

Like the heart lost in eternal bliss

Bullying seals the soul from believing.

Stepping In Can Help!

Many children, teens, people search for a way to escape their trapped, caged lives. Like a mouse being backed into a corner of a room by a giant cat. Is there a way to escape? Is there a way out?  Unlike adults, children are more susceptible to the hurt and torment inflicted upon them by their peers.  In fact 160,000 children miss school everyday due to their fear of being tormented. [4] As WSMV reported, parents and grandparents found 14-year-old Philip Parker’s body last Friday, along with a handwritten note in his trash can reading, “Please help me mom”. “Because he was gay, he got mistreated physically and mentally by several people out there at the school, and I am very resentful as a result of it”.  To consider the fact that the American Justice Department bullying suicide statistics show that one out of every 4 kids will be bullied sometime throughout their adolescence. This tragedy stands to show that someone can never truly understand what an individual is going through. So, it’s our job as friends, family, and parents to listen and pay attention to the signs. The very first and honestly most important step is looking through all the disguises to see that behind these lies a child, a teen, a person who is or has already given up. Realizing something is wrong and talking privately with the teen is crucial for that teen who thinks about, plans about, has already decided or tried to commit suicide or homicide. Being a trusty and dependable friend makes that teen feel secure, loved, and cared about. Once you have really talked to the teen, found out what is going on, validated their feelings, and paraphrased all that has been said, you should advise the teen to start seeking help whenever they are ready. You and the teen should seek other sources of aid starting with the school officials and working your way up to say the mayor. Keep bringing up the idea for your teen to seek help until they feel comfortable enough for the two of you to go out and find it together. Your physical presence is what may be the deciding factor.  Understanding that there is more to a story than what your child is telling you is the first step to help fight this bullying pandemic.

In the end Brandi Blackbear with the support of her friends, family, and lawyers she was able to clear her name and bring forth an issue which was surrounding many schools in her area. “We should care about bullying because it is a growing issue that has proven to have serious negative effects on a person ranging from depression to suicide” (Esparza). “Because bullying has some serious consequences that affect not just the person being bullied but the people that surrounds that person. Bullying doesn’t help the person gain anything that will be beneficial for the person’s current circumstances or future” (Tran and Abocado).  Bullying does affect everyone and just because someone is different it doesn’t give anyone the right to hurt, emasculate, or make another person feel inferior.

Warning Signs[5]

If you’re concerned that your child is a victim of teasing or bullying, look for these signs of stress:

  • Increased passivity or withdrawal
  • Frequent crying
  • Increased passivity or withdrawal
  • Frequent crying
  • Recurrent complaints of physical symptoms such as stomach-aches or headaches with no apparent cause
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Sudden drop in grades or other learning problems
  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Significant changes in social life — suddenly no one is calling or extending invitations
  • Sudden change in the way your child talks — calling herself a loser, or a former friend a jerk

Further Information

Who and what can help? 1

Parents

  • Be open to the possibility that your child might be being bullied. Some parents may not think of bullying as a possible reason for their child’s distress.
  • Listen One of the most important things you can do is to listen to your child if they say they are being bullied. It can be very difficult for them to talk to anyone about it.
  • Take your child seriously Many children suffer in silence for a long time before they tell anyone. They may be ashamed, embarrassed, and may believe that they deserve it. Many children are frightened of telling because they fear the bullies will find out and hurt them even more. It can take great courage to tell an adult.
  • Do not blame the child Being bullied is not their fault (although they may think it is).
  • Reassure them that they were right to tell you.
  • Do not promise to keep the bullying a secret Something must be done about it. Reassure your child that you, and the teachers, will make sure that things do not get worse because they have told you. Tell the school so they can stop it. Teachers don’t always know that a child is being bullied. Find out if there is an anti-bullying program in the school.
  • Talk with your child and work out ways of solving the problem Include your child in decisions about how to tackle the problem. For example, work out some practical ways for them to stop the bullying. You might discuss what they should say back if they are called names, or where it’s safe to go at playtime.

School

Bullying can happen in any school, so it is important that each school has an effective anti-bullying program. They should make it clear that they won’t allow bullying or aggressive behavior. Schools that have these policies, and who take every incident of bullying seriously, tend to have less bullying.

Every school can obtain an anti-bullying pack from the Department for Education. There are a number of agencies that can offer advice and help in how to set up effective program (see below for sources of further information).

Other professionals who can help

Children whose health has been affected may benefit from some specialist help from their general practitioner, school nurse, a social worker or an educational psychologist who will be able to offer help and advice. Children with emotional problems quite often need these to be treated directly, even if the school has managed to stop the bullying. Your general practitioner can refer your child to a child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS).

Anti-Bullying Associations[6]

Beat bullying

A bullying prevention charity with an emphasis on working directly with children and young people.

Department for Education

Produces information on bullying.

(2011) Preventing and Tackling Bullying: advice for school leaders, staff & governing bodies. Crown Copyright 2011.

Kidscape

Provides advice, run training courses and produce helpful booklets and information about bullying.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA)

Brings together over 100 organizations into one network to develop and share good practice across the whole range of bullying issues.


[1] “Bullied 10-year-old girl commits suicide :: WRAL.com.” WRAL.com – Raleigh News, Weather, Triangle Traffic and NC Lottery. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 May 2012. <http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/10390079/&gt;.

[2] Ramirez, Ximena. “10-Year-Old Girl Commits Suicide After Intense Bullying | Care2 Causes.” Care2 – largest online community for healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare.. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 May 2012. <http://www.care2.com/causes/10-year-old-girl-commits-suicide-after-intense-bullying.html#ixzz1uEAozhmt&gt;.

[3] “School Shootings: Who’s Really at Fault? Essay | School Shootings: Who’s Really at Fault? | BookRags.com.” BookRags.com | Study Guides, Lesson Plans, Book Summaries and more. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2012. <http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2005/2/14/202528/039&gt;.

[4] “Phillip Parker, Gay Tennessee Teen, Commits Suicide After Enduring Bullying (VIDEO).” Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/phillip-parker-gay-tennessee-teen-suicide_n_1223688.html&gt;.

[5] Bullying and Teasing: No Laughing Matter | Scholastic.com.” Scholastic | Children’s Books and Book Club | Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. http://www.scholastic.com/resources/article/bullying

[6] The emotional cost of bullying.”Royal College of Psychiatrists. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2012.

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfo/mentalhealthandgrowingup/bullyingandemotion.aspx2

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