Raise awareness to prevent bullying

Columnist Ashley Quintanilla. Photo courtesy: Quintanilla

October is National Bullying Prevention month and raising awareness is very important.

Many policies are set in place to prevent bullying in schools, but an increase in reported cases shows that the standards are not as efficient as they should be.

According to stopbullying.gov, “Bullying is an unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. It includes making threats, spreading rumors, and attacking someone physically and/or verbally.”

Bullying can have a negative impact on one’s mental health. It has been connected to many school shootings, suicides and suicide attempts in adolescents and adults.

Recently, a sixth-grade student’s mental health was at stake as a result of being bullied. His mother, who wish to remain anonymous to protect the child’s identity, said he was being tormented and teased by his teammates for not being a skilled football player.

He was called “weak,” “trash,” and “soft.” His classmates insulted him about his weight and cultural differences.

“He was a cheerful and outgoing child who loved going to school and being with his peers,” she said. “But after starting middle school and playing football, he became fearful, timid, and quiet. He suffered inner thoughts of not being good enough and contemplated suicide. Witnessing the hurt that he endured was very heartbreaking to say least.”

By recognizing the change in the child’s behavior, his mother was proactive in resolving the issues with the school’s administration and football coach. He is now attending weekly counseling sessions and is no longer being bullied.

In many situations, a parent may not know that their child is suffering these conditions, until it is sometimes too late. This happens across the globe in schools, ranging from elementary to college students and can appear so close to home.

The child’s mother wants to raise awareness on bullying and a possible solution that will promote a safe, learning environment in schools and prevent it from happening to others.

“I think that to prevent bullying it should start at home by parents instilling moral values and build a positive character in their children,” she said. “Social and emotional behavior is learned and parents are their child’s first teacher. Discussing with your child to not hurt others and modeling a positive behavior will have remarkable results.”

Kye Sims, a senior, mechanical engineering student, thinks it is important to stress to children that people are different and should not be bullied or judged on anything other than their character.

“I’ve come across too many stories where people have committed suicide as a result of being bullied,” said Sims. “Bullying is not cool at all. People are different and that’s what makes the world a beautiful place. How a person looks, dress, their economic background, their race, ethnicity, and cultural should not affect how another human being treats them.”

Raising awareness to prevent bullying is very important. By teaching your children to not bully and respect others, schools and other places will create a positive social environment in schools.

Spread the word to stop bullying. By doing so it will help save a loved one, save a friend, and save a life.