By Sydney Goldenstein
How many times do we have to read or hear about a child contemplating suicide because of the torment of bullying? How many families live daily with a child who is considering suicide because of being bullied? Where is our outrage?
The relationship between bullying and suicide is complex.
The ugly truth is this topic makes people uncomfortable. That is why it needs to be talked about a lot more. Students deserve to be protected from bullying.
According to stopbullying.gov, 20 percent of students in the United States in grades 9-12 experience bullying. 30 percent of young people admit to have bullied others in surveys. A little over 70 percent of school staff have witnessed bullying and 71 percent of students say they have seen bullying take place in their schools. 57 percent of the time when bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds. These are only a few statistics about bullying in a high school environment.
The most common types of bullying include verbal, social, physical, and cyber; though it can be broken down into many different forms.
In movies, the stereotypical bully shoves the nerd into a locker or steals people’s lunch money. In reality, that isn’t really the typical bully. In fact, it isn’t very common to see physical bullying anymore. More often we see verbal, social and cyber bullying taking place.
I see most bullying take place over the Internet. The most popular place I’ve noticed recently is Yik Yak, an app originally made for college students that allows people to anonymously create and view posts within a five mile radius. Of course, being anonymous, it is the “perfect place” to make a rude comment about another person. Nobody knows who wrote it, right?
I’m sick and tired of seeing bullying and people putting others down just to give themselves a better self-esteem or to look “cool”. I’m tired of reading articles about kids committing suicide because they were tormented so badly that they felt the need to inflict harm or death upon themselves.
High school can either be the best or worst years of a person’s life. How do you get a kick out of making someone feel horrible and have a bad day? We need to be picking each other up, not kicking one another down. The change starts with you.
If you are a victim or know somebody who is bullied or suicidal, please talk to somebody who can help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255
SHS counselor Traci Reeves: ReevesT@re1valleyschools.org