Op-Ed: The Dangers of Bullying in Schools

There are multiple different types of bullying: physical, verbal, social and cyberbullying. Bullying can occur to anyone regardless of race, sexuality, physical appearance, gender, age, religion and disability, though sometimes these are why people are targeted.  

Bullying is common in schools. Schools are supposed to be a positive environment for children. Bullying is often seen just as “kids being kids” but that is not the case. There tends to be a strong link between bullying and suicide. Suicide is currently the third leading cause of death in young people and some studies have found that half of the suicides among middle and high school students are related to bullying. 

Throughout middle school and still, to this day, I have always wondered why bullying even exists. What makes a person feel the need to disrespect another person? Why is it still going on after so many years? Why does it continue to get worse? 

We do not always realize when bullying is happening, such as insults being thrown at one another. Little things can hurt even the strongest individual. Personally, I have experienced bullying way more than I should have. Despite there being a bullying prevention policy requirement in every school, this has not helped much. Unfortunately, it has become a norm for high school students to experience bullying in this generation. Bullying has even caused pain among former bullying victims in their later adulthood.

More than many who have gone through bullying have lost their self-confidence, causing mental health issues. Bullying raises chances of self-harm, academic grades decreasing, stopping talking to friends and family, anxiety, and depression, all possibly leading to suicidal thoughts or to even actually doing it. 

It has been shown that students who experience bullying end up bullying others due to the stress from it. Many who bully others just have anger and sadness built up inside that they feel the need to take out on others who they think are weaker than them. I myself have bullied people due to being bullied, which I am still to this day not proud of and regret it. Don’t be the person who ruins a person's entire mood to make yourself feel better. At the end of the day, it’s not making any difference for anyone including you. The effects of bullying can linger on for years, making it only worse for a person's health. 

A close friend of mine from middle school, who asks to remain anonymous, mentioned how some students have ruined her mental health with things they said, and gladly, she was able to overcome that. “People are talking and always will talk, doesn’t matter how perfect you think you are to others,” she emphasized. 

Several times I experienced bullying in elementary and middle school. Supposed “friends” talked about my body size behind my back and some even said it to my face. I never told anyone other than my close friends. I tried ignoring it but it affected me more and more as I tried to do so. I kept quiet. As I matured, part of me learned to stick up for myself in these situations but as someone who has experienced it and hates talking to others about their feelings, I understand how hard it is to feel comfortable enough to speak up. 

The truth of the matter is that this is a serious problem in the world, so what can we as a community do to stop these rates from increasing every year? We need to get students the support they need. They need to feel safe in their learning environment. We aren’t all able to stop bullying but we can prevent it from happening so often. 

If you are going through something right now, you should talk to a loved one that you trust and figure out a solution together to stop it whichever way makes you feel happy. Don’t let your thoughts bury you down until you break. 

Remember, there is always someone there to help, you are important and loved. 

You matter.

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