Throughout every high school in the US, some students pretend to be “tough.” They push and shove their way through the halls. They don’t apologize or even care who they hurt. Instead, they just demand that other students turn over their lunch money, or worse, their dignity. This type of behavior must not be allowed to continue; as a school we must come together.
On Oct. 15, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) conducted their annual “I’m Against Bullying” campaign. Using the social media app Snapchat, students and others were asked to use a geo-tag to share the message with everyone they could. Celebrities, including Demi Lovato and Ellen DeGeneres, tweeted and posted videos promoting the hashtag “Spirit Day.” Most of the time, however, we just post or scroll numerous messages without considering the true meaning behind the post, or even thinking about the vast resources that social media offers.
While having an “I’m Against Bullying” Campaign is a fantastic first step, just one day of “awareness” is definitely not enough. This momentum must be broader and expanded to the other 364 days of the year. Bullying takes place everyday and has become a widespread issue that should be stopped.
The “I’m Against Bullying” Campaign must do more than posting pictures or getting people to retweet catchy slogans and wearing purple on the third Thursday of October every year. This is simply not enough to stand up to bullying. Through peer counseling programs or a positive word at a key time, our fellow students must know that they are not alone. By giving our fellow students our support, they will have the confidence to report incidents to the proper authorities.
A notable case of bullying was with teenager Brittany McMillan, whose bullying case received much attention. She turned being a victim into being a victor after she realized what was going on in her life was wrong and wanted to make a change. Since then, she started the “I’m Against Bullying” program in 2010.
According to stopbullying.gov, 20% of high school students experienced some form of bullying; this includes physical mental or cyber bullying.
Not only do people bully in person, but people also bully behind a screen. Now, rather than hiding behind big muscles, bullies hide behind their computer monitors. “Cyber bullies” use their keyboards to type mean things to hurt others. They post unnecessary tweets about them or even pictures of them. Bullies even make fake profiles to hurt teens. One example of this was Amanda Todd, who was a cyber bullying victim. She was forced to expose herself online in a provocative manner and was personally humiliated. After posting a YouTube video describing her experience with flashcards, she could not live with the humiliation and committed suicide. Since then, over 17 million people have viewed her video, which received international attention.
The United States Center for Disease Control reports, “suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year.”
Teens need to feel safe while going to school and should not have to worry about what a bully might say or do to them. They need to be aware of a safe environment and this can be accomplished by defending others when witnessing bullying. Being a bystander is just as bad or worse than being the bully. If we just watch these situations, they will keep repeating themselves.
If we “Stand Up Against Bullying” every day instead of just once a year, there will hopefully be change. Wearing purple for one day is not enough to take a stand against bullying; people need to start taking more of an action every day to end bullying once and for all.