By Ted, Peer Counselor
For many, January is the month when students start their second semester back at school. They get back in the routine of getting up far earlier than they would like to admit, going to classes (sometimes not by their own choice), completing their homework (again not necessarily by their own choice), and seeing their school friends again. For many, going back to school is a good experience, but for others, school is something to be avoided.
Evidence shows that bullying is on the rise. The United States Department of Health and Human Services shows that today between 1 in 3 and 1 in 4 students report being the victim of bullying.
- More than 70% of students have witnessed bullying.
- 30% percent of students admit to bullying others.
- 70% of teachers and school officials have witnessed bullying with 62% reporting bullying two or more times in the last month, and 40% witnessing it at least once a week.
And of course, with the rise of the internet and social media, cyberbullying is becoming more common. No longer is bullying contained to schools. According to a study released by the Cyberbullying Research Center, victimization rates have been on the rise since 2007, with more students reporting online bullying. It is the now relentless exposure for students to constant bullying that makes the behavior even more destructive.
So where do we go from here?
Studies have shown that bystander intervention is effective more than 50% of the time in stopping bullying. There are practical steps that students, parents, teachers, and community leaders can take:
- Students have a great deal of peer pressure power. Students should model the behavior that they want other students to see; they can become leaders in their own school communities and stand up for inclusive behaviors. Teens can safely intervene if they witness bullying by reporting the behavior to trusted adults.
- Parents should also model positive behaviors, by engaging their children and proactively involving themselves with school officials. As a teenager myself, I find it so important for parents to open themselves up and be a listening ear. Parents can be a support system: both for victims of bullying and bullies themselves.
- Teachers and school officials should create, maintain, and advocate for all of their students a safe place for learning; free from harassment and judgment.
- Community members, people like YOU, can demand and advocate for schools to be a safe place as well. Open up a dialogue with school officials to ensure that schools develop policies to promote inclusive behaviors that reduce bullying.
The ultimate key in all of this is prevention. I believe that all students should have the basic right to feel safe and urge everyone to take the steps outlined above to reduce bullying.
And as always, if you are affected by bullying in any way, or you are concerned about a
teen, student, or friend, call
Teen Lifeline and talk to a Peer Counselor like myself at
602.248.TEEN (8336) or 800.248.TEEN (8336).
We’re here to listen and help!