When I was in the third grade, I always did my class work and finished it quickly. I had just started my first year in my school’s gifted and talented program, which put a target, invisible to me, on my back. I wasn’t aware that people didn’t like me when I was in third grade. How could I have been? I had a group of close-knit friends and all the teachers liked me. As far as I knew, everyone liked me. As it turns out, that wasn’t the case.
One day during recess, I was cornered by three of my classmates, two girls and one boy, who were known for causing trouble and each Hispanic. Somehow we got out of the teacher’s eyesight. Suddenly, the girls were on either side of me, one holding my right arm and one holding my left. The next thing I knew, the boy punched me in the stomach. As quickly as I was cornered was how quickly it ended.
Although it lasted for only a moment, harming someone in any way because you don’t like something about him or her is bullying. Recently there has been a rise in Hispanic students bullying other Hispanic students. With Hispanic girls having the highest rate of attempted suicide, one has to think this rate might be directly connected to the rise in bullying.
So what’s the definition of bullying? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, bullying someone means to treat someone abusively or to affect by means of force or coercion. According to Stopbullying,gov, bullying is “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.” There are several different types of bullying such as physical, verbal, spreading rumors, excluding someone, intimidation and cyberbullying.
Why are kids being bullied? Appearance and social status are two of the main reasons people are bullied. Bullies pick on the people they think are different for some reason or do not fit in. Being able to identify who the bullies are is also a critical step in stopping bullying. Most bullies share some common characteristics. They like to dominate others and generally only care about themselves. They often have poor social skills and poor social judgment. Sometimes they are actually jealous of the person they are bullying or want to act out because they were once hurt by a bully them selves. Bullies put down others in order to feel more interesting and powerful. Today, bullying is on the rise within the Hispanic community. Sometimes young Hispanics who are second or third generation Americans are bullying others who are first generation Americans and those who aren’t citizens.
What can you do if you are being bullied or if you see someone else being bullied? I think girls need to know what bullying is so they can easily recognize bullies. They should also know what to do when they’re bullied or witness another being bullied.First, tell either your parents or a trusted adult at school. Don’t be afraid that telling on the bully will get you in trouble. Adults can often devise a way to get you or others out of the bullying situation. This can be done without the bully ever knowing how they found out about it in the first place. Also, if you or your friends are worried about the bullying escalating to violence, avoid being alone.
Tips for you/others about surviving bullying:
1. Ignore the bully and walk away: Don’t be bothered by them and eventually they’ll give up. Getting angry or physical is exactly what the bully wants.
2. Take charge of your life: Join an extracurricular activity, club, or class. These places are the best places to make friends and gain the confidence you can use to avoid bullies.
3. Talk about it: Talking to someone about what you are going through is sometimes the best therapy. Confide in someone and you’ll feel better.4
4. The best thing to do to stop bullying is to tell someone when you get bullied and don’t be afraid to speak out on someone’s behalf if they are being bullied. Speaking against a bully sometimes isn’t the easiest thing to do, but realize that many of your classmates probably feel uncomfortable when they witness someone getting bullied.
A quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel can be applied to bullying. He said, “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.” Though you may not be guilty of being a bully, it is your responsibility to do the right thing by helping those being bullied in whatever way you can. If you stand by and do nothing, you are responsible in part for that person’s pain.