The American Bully
By: Jharquise Simmons
Throughout our lives many of us have seen or experienced bullying in action.
Familyfirstaid.org reports that more than 5.7 million people are involved in bullying as the bully or the victim. We all have helped a bullying victim and seen the trials that they endure. But the question is when will it stop? The National Education Association found that approximately 160,000 students miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by their peers.
Bullying is an increasing burden in today’s society and is escalating rapidly. In some cases of bullying, things sometimes take a downward spiral. Collegiate Times declares that due to bullying, suicide rates are on the dramatic increase. For example, on Jan. 14, 2010, Phoebe Prince, a 15 year-old Irish immigrant, hung herself in Hadley, Mass. She was condemned by 9 of her classmates for dating older guys. On the day of her death, Prince was walking home from school when the “mean girls” started throwing things at her and verbally bullying her. After being ostracized, cyberbullied and verbally bullied, the teen committed suicide.
A similar case, On April 15, 2010, Kenneth Weishun informed his fellow classmates of his homosexuality. He was verbally bullied continuously. Drastic changes happened throughout the school to ensure his safety. The teen soon started receiving death threats on his phone. Teachers were forced to stand guard in the halls during, before and after school. The bullies created an “I hate Gays” page and added Weishun. The continuous harassment made Weishun make the ultimate decision to hang himself.
Every state in America except Kansas has passed anti-bullying laws. Many new laws have been placed to prevent bullying in our schools, such as the Jeffery Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act. This act protects Florida students by banning bullying throughout the state.
But what can we do to prevent bullying? Stopbullying.gov describes the noticeable signs of bullied kids, Some of those signs are students doing poorly in school, binge eating, becoming aggressive and unreasonable, and finding alternative routes to and from school.
Organizations such as Parents and Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere (STRYVE) strive to help students who are victims of bullying. Bullying isn’t only a problem in America. Countries all across the globe have come together to form the IBPA (International Bullying Prevention Association). The IBPA hold conferences all across the country to educate people on identifying the signs of bullying and solving the problem.