The Golden Rule : Anti- Bullying Essay
The Golden Rule Bullying has been in the news more lately than in the past, because of the tragedies that follow the torture and harassment of the young children in our country. Children have always been picked on in school but the extent that it has gone to in more recent years has become cause for very serious concern and extreme measures. The response to the increasing teen suicides and murders of bullied victims has been to implement the “No Tolerance Laws,” to launch the new “It Gets Better Campaign,” and the appearance of many new proposed laws that are currently being considered and unfortunately have not yet taken effect.
Many of today’s bully victims include homosexual youth, minority youth in those states that still are intolerant of difference, and anyone that seems weaker than the bully and in turn appears to be an easy target. The bullying epidemic has become very controversial due to the fact that bulling continues to exist throughout adulthood and early occurrences do not always subside in childhood or adolescence.
This creates the separation between non-bully adults, supportive or not of this initiative, previously bullied adults supportive or not of this initiative, and adult-bullies that see no wrong in the behaviors, and therefore see no need for any change or action. This bullying problem is normally ignored until the worst case scenario forces those around the incident to open their eyes and realize the possibilities for horror and tragedy.
For example, Cyber bullying has received more public recognition in the recent years, but only after a very tragic incident caused attention to be brought to the fact that the terror of bullying is in fact not exaggerated but underrated if anything at all. “Cyber bullying has received enormous attention since the 2006 suicide of Megan Meier, an eighth grader [whose name became a household name] who was bullied on Myspace.
The suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi – who jumped off the George Washington Bridge near Manhattan in September after his roommate streamed video of a sexual encounter between Clementi and another male student online – also grabbed headlines” (Swearer). Although bullying has always been an issue in schools, and tragedies such as columbine have brought attention to the need for change, there hasn’t ever been so much of a push as there is today to get in there and work with the problem rather than try to clean up the mess after the fact, once it is too late.
Anti-Bulling laws need to be put into place in all school districts across the nation, to protect our youth and future generations starting at the root of the problem and working on an eventual solution. What is a bully? A child that wants their schoolmates lunch money? A business person that will stop at nothing to succeed at their endeavors? Is it a troubled soul expressing their anguish and frustration with the world, taking it out on the poor soul that happens to be weak enough to take it quietly? Or is it simply someone with a heart of pure evil, who is out to get anyone who crosses their path?
The answer is simple, it’s all or any of the above. In todays society, with all the new social media sites and communication opportunities, the types of bullies have expanded from schoolyard punks to a range of possibilities. No longer do we live in the simple days where our primary source of communication is in person. nThere are now dozens of places where a bully can function and harass others. There are several social networks, Facebook and myspace (such as the example given in the Megan Meier case, discussed in the preceding paragraph).
Besides the bullies that function via social network sites and technology, are those you come across at work as demeaning and overbearing bosses, coworkers, controlling or insulting spouses. This even goes beyond that to involve over controlling authority figures such as parents, teachers, siblings, or those in governmental positions. Our understanding of a bully is elementary, and simple. www. dictionary. com’s definition of a bully is this: “a blustering quarrelsome overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. ”
Although what most of us know about bullying is all negative, there are those who feel it is not as bad as we believe. Many states have already implemented a no tolerance law for bullying in schools, there are those that haven’t and could greatly benefit if they did. Those against the idea of putting this no tolerance law into place support their position with the idea that intervening between bullies and the bullied would create a generation of children who always expect to be saved. Among our opponents are those who somehow believe that the torture that accompanies victims of ulling could actually build a stronger character. Along with that, there are those who pessimistically anticipate a bully to be an unfixable and incurable problem in society. There are some who believe that if we intervene to protect our children every time they are picked on, or bullied, they will learn not to feel a need to protect themselves, and “A child who learns how to handle a bully is armed for life, but when an authority figure steps in, the kid learns only that he will always be saved. ” (Onstad), however, research shows that this does not always work and poses a potential threat for further harm and damage.
Many children do not posses the strength to fight back or defend themselves. It is the child with a passive personality that is most likely to be picked on in the first place. Bullies are known for picking on the weak, and singling out other children that they feel they can and will get away with harassing. In certain circumstances the victim finds the strength to fight back, and stand up for themselves. But what is there to say about society, as a whole, if we allow those who are unable to stand up for themselves suffer? As Nancy Mulin-Rinder of Wellesley College says, “Adults need to role models.
As one girl told me, ‘If I knew what to do or how to work it out, why would I tell a grown-up? ’ “ (qtd. in Boodman). By bystanding are we contributing to the preying on the weak? Another example of this is a story of a young woman who was tortured and traumatized by children throughout her entire childhood. “I was beat up the very first day of school. My glasses were replaced 10 times between the 7th and 9th grades, when my mom finally gave in and permitted me to have the wire-rims I so desperately wanted” (Johnson). Her parents refused to step in and wanted her to defend herself.
However this young lady would have been better served by a law that brought knowledge to her parents, teachers and even to her bullies to educate them on the lasting effects being bullied has on a child. If Lori’s peers understood the severity of their actions, and had something to fear if their bulling behaviors were discovered, they would be more hesitant to harass her. In a recent speech addressing this issue, President Obama expressed concerns for our youth when he said, “We’ve got to make sure our young people know that if they’re in trouble, there are caring adults who can help….
And this is a responsibility we all share – a responsibility we have to teach all children the Golden Rule: We should treat others the way we want to be treated” (Obama) In addition to the people that believe that children should be left to fend for themselves, are those that think bullying possesses good qualities and builds good character. Actress Reese Witherspoon was quoted saying, “I want my kids teased and bullied! ” Witherspoon believes, “It kind of makes you who you are… ” (qtd. in Onstad. Although bullying does in fact challenge children’s strengths, and in ideal cases, teaches new coping mechanisms, studies show that it, more often then not, has an extremely negative and traumatic affect on children. Bullying does not provide healthy personality development for the vast majority of its victims, but quite the contrary. These negative and traumatic experiences leave lasting imprints, which follow those affected throughout their adult years. In addition, bullies are more likely to have been bullied themselves at some point, and more than likely without intervention.
Therefore, allowing children to deal with this treatment alone is creating the risk that those victims may become future bullies themselves. “For me it was a defense mechanism. I thought if I pretended to be strong, and if I picked on everyone else that was weaker than me, no one would see the chubby girl that was tortured just years earlier. ” (Simmons 40) This clear example shows that the lack of informative and educational programs at schools to control this bullying behavior does more damage than we realize, and proceeds to increase in the extent of damage inflicted, emotionally, psychologically and at times physically.
It is a continuous struggle for those affected, and can end up turning into many awful outcomes. Bullying does not have good outcomes directly linked to the torture or meanness of its nature. It is actually closely related to negative personality traits and creating a torturous cycle and increasing bully population. It should be noted that resilience comes from within, not from horrible experiences that children can and need to be shielded from. “People think it’s something one ‘gets over,’ but believe me, its not. ” Rachel Simmons, a former bullied turned bully, clearly explains that it’s not something that can be erased. I really don’t think I can ever forgive those girls that made my life miserable” (Simmons 38). Furthermore, there is the idea that bullies are relentless and cannot be stopped. Although children can and will be sneaky, and it is entirely impossible to control all actions, something can be done to reduce the incidences, along with the number of victims. What can be done to raise awareness and cut out all tolerance as the proposed law suggests, and some states already do. “Studies have shown that this type of intervention not only helps curb bullying but also reduces rates of truancy, vandalism, fighting and alcohol use.
Students also report that they enjoy going to school more. ” (Mestel) The proposed law will cause reason for nervousness and fear about bullying, not in some states. but in all states. Not only directed towards the bully himself, but to the parents of the bully along with the teachers and school administrators. This will create more awareness and alertness which in turn puts this disaster under more reasonable control. Katrina Onstad mentions that bullies are like “cockroaches: adaptable. If they want to call your son a loser they will. (Onstad 70) Which admittedly is true. This epidemic can’t be entirely under control, but it can be tamed. There is no change without a start. For this proposed law to take an affect, there needs to be the idea of hope and the confidence in the possibility of making a difference and determination for a positive trend to take head. If children start to think before they pick on another child, or choose not to, and part of their thoughts begin to include punishment or negative repercussions then they are more likely to aim for the latter of the two.
With influence this behavior can be changed at its very root. If bullying is a learned behavior, then it is a behavior that can be unlearned. “No program can end bullying in every community, and no program has eliminated 100 percent of bullying behaviors. However, when awareness of bullying becomes as much a part of school culture as reverence for athletics or glee club, well have a shot at finally stopping it. ” (Swearer) In conclusion we find that bullying is not a permanent mark on society. It is in fact an infestation that needs to be treated piece by piece, child by child.
Children should always be made to feel safe and secure to promote healthy emotional and psychological growth. In addition, there are no good reasons to bully or be bullied, and finally bullies are not immortal and they can become extinct. The way to this peaceful and happy childhood is through the efforts and determination of schools, parents and society, to rid ourselves of the negative idea that nothing should or could be done to protect our youth. This law being put in place is phase one. Following suit is phase two, and allowing our youth to see the positive effects is the final phase.
We need children to want to join in our efforts today, to secure a much better society for ours and their futures. Works Cited Swearer, Susan. “5 Myths about bullying. ” The Washington Post. January 2, 2011. Newspapers. Onstad, Katrina. “Just a Little Pro-Bullying,” Bullying. Piehl, Norah. 2009. 68-72. Print. Boodman, Sandra G. “Everything You Know About Bullies Is Wrong: [FINAL Edition]. The Washington Post. Jun 5, 2001. Newspapers. Johnson, Lorie A. “A Survivor’s Story,” Bullying. Piehl, Norah. 2009. 74-81. Print.
President Barak Obama, ”Obama takes on bullies at White House anti-bullying summit,” The Christian Science Monitor. Khadaroo, Stacy Teicher. Web. USA. 2011. Simmons, Rachel. “From Bullied to Bully. ” Bullying. Piehl, Norah. 2009. 38-42. Print. Mestel, Rosie; Groves, Martha. “When Push Comes to Shove; American educators, acknowledging the reported success of an anti-bullying program in Norway, are pressing to implement similar efforts in schools here. : [Home Edition] Southern California Living; PART- E; PART-; View Desk. ” Los Angeles Times. Newspapers, Web. April 3, 2001.