It’s almost as if she was a punching bag in the game of life. People threw their words at her, making her feel unimportant. This girl cannot get a break from the constant bullying that follows her, and yet so many words go unsaid.
At Central this is a normal occurrence. Students continue to suffer as a direct result of bullying on a daily basis and students do not always know where to go for help. According to bullyingstatistics.org, 70% of students in high school have witnessed bullying or been a part of it in their schools. Frequently, students do not notify adults about problems they have, allowing for it to continue. All she needs is for someone to stand up for her.
In a survey of Central students of all different backgrounds, people shared stories of times they had been mistreated in school. One said, “I get rude comments about my hair color and my size 24/7.” Another sharing, “When I was bullied I was called ‘Jelly Rolls’ and ugly.” Others shared about instances of racism and other verbal abuse, sometimes even leading to violence.The list of students who experience bullying is longer than it seems.
Central’s student handbook defines bullying as “intimidation and harassment that diminish a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate.” Ms. Katherine Flugge, Central’s social justice teacher, shared that she has seen a rise in anti-LGBT language in the school in the past year. Phrases like “gay” and “f****t” are used to put down others often.
Despite the large amount of controversy,there is no official accepted blanket definition of bullying in the United States and this is one of the many reasons it is hard to control. Even with the many cases that occur around the country, it is hard to decide what bullying is when it has not been nationally defined. This can cause controversy in instances that should be acted on and leaves a lot of victims without help.
Flugge shared the difficulties of the teacher “team” system at Central when the students are in classes together all day. Each team has an amount of students who are in similar classes for the whole school day. Teachers cannot track the bullying outside of their own classes, and some teachers cannot tell if it is recurring. It is now even harder for teachers to spot bullying in the school because so much of it now happens online, where adults cannot always see it happening. In an age centered around technology, new opportunities have risen for bullying. Students are able to remain anonymous online, which can cause so many more problems while trying to stop it.
The psychological effects of bullying can be major. Within the past year, there have been approximately 4,400 suicides from bullying. Bullies create an environment that leads others to believe that the abuse is okay; they encourage others to follow their lead. Bullying can become out of control when others begin to believe it is okay. This is why it is important to seek help as soon as possible.
At Central, there are many outlets for students who feel unsafe at school. There are always adults who are there to turn to when there are problems with bullies. Counselors and social workers are always there to talk and have many tools to act on bullying. Flugge encourages the student body to seek help from teachers. “I think it is important for teachers to foster good relationships with students, every student should have one teacher that they feel comfortable talking to,” she said. “Education is a powerful tool,” she shared. Flugge maintains a goal of teaching students about bullying, giving them better tools to stay out of it and even stand up for students struggling.
With the power of education and excellent resources, Central provides the opportunity to overcome bullying one student at a time.
If you see or experience bullying in any form, contact a counselor or the teacher you feel most comfortable talking with.