Schools, Internet team up against bullying
What's being done?
January 24, 2016
The issue of bullying affects people from all over the world, especially in schools. With over 3.2 million students being bullied every year, you’ve heard about it, you’ve experienced it, you’ve seen it: it’s everywhere, .
So what exactly is bullying?
“There are three factors that constitute the title of ‘bullying’: unwanted aggressive behavior, a real or perceived imbalance of power, and repetition,” said Kumu Ladd Akeo, Kamehameha Maui high school counselor.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, one out of every four students is bullied during the school year. The harmful effects of bullying can be devastating, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, victims are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and difficulty adjusting to a school environment. According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, in the article “Suicidal Ideation and School Bullying Experiences After Controlling for Depression and Delinquency” by Dorothy L. Espelage, Ph.D. and Melissa K. Holt, Ph.D., bullied teens–as well as bullies–are at the highest risk for “adverse outcomes.”
So what does Kamehameha Maui do to help?
Kumu Akeo feels that Kamehameha Maui teaches morals that create a nurturing environment for students to thrive in.
“By [Kamehameha Maui] teaching character education, Hawaiian and Christian values and positive role modeling; it is a hope that students will develop good character, eliminating the bullying behavior [and] leading to tolerance and acceptance of all students regardless of their differences, free from discrimination and judgement,” he said.
Students also feel that Kamehameha Maui is an environment in which they can get help with bullying.
“I think that it’s convenient that we have counselors around who are willing to hear what’s going on and like to help when they can,” senior Faith Kekahuna-Santos said.
Kamehameha Maui also offers the Hiʻikua Helpline for students who need to report issues of like bullying, sexual harassment, suicidal thoughts or actions, and drug abuse. It allows students to anonymously report cases they see in school involving these issues or get help for themselves. Students can get help directly from staff members by setting up a meeting, reporting issues online, or calling the helpline at (844) 284-2640. To get more information or to use the online resources, click here.
Last, the high school also has a peer mediation team, whose job it is to listen to student concerns, devise a plan of action, and facilitate agreements between students to help them resolve whatever might be between them.
Like Kamehameha Maui, many schools and people are stepping up to combat bullying, particularly through the media.
How Twitter can help
Twitter is a social media site where the good, the bad, and the ugly come out, and where people can say virtually whatever they want to. Although tweets aren’t always the nicest, there are definitely some great people who use the service to send positive messages on it.
Bullying has been brought up on Twitter on a large scale, with anti-bully movements providing support and encouragement for people who are dealing with this issue. Popular anti-bully hashtags like: #stopbullying, #antibullying, #makeanoise, #bullying, and #antibullyingweek contribute to the waves of people posting their experiences, advice, and motivation for the fight against bullying.
You can search these hashtags by making a Twitter account, and then going to the search bar at the top right corner of the page. Just type in one of the hashtags, and you’ll find a list of tweets that use it.
Tweetdeck is another great way to search by hashtag.
Here are some celebrity tweets that came up:
Tweets like these show victims that there are people out there who’ve been there and who care. If you’re dealing with bullying, the Twitter community can show you that you’re not alone.
‘BULLY’: Documentary sheds light on problem
“BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders.”
BULLY is a documentary directed by Lee Hirsche and presented by The Bully Project. Its purpose is to bring awareness to the issue of bullying and its negative impact on students who experience it.
It features the stories of multiple teenagers who have been bullied in both middle and high school, as well as the families of students who committed suicide because they had been bullied.
According to the Bully Project Website, “BULLY opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids, revealing a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders.”
One thing that makes the film so hard-hitting is that school administrators in each of the bully cases being shown did little to nothing to solve the problem. The overall attitude that seems to be reflected in the film from administrators is that they are either powerless to make the bullying stop, or don’t think that the bullying is much of an issue at all.
Kamehameha Maui’s high school counselor Kumu Ladd Akeo feels that school officials should make sure students are protected in their educational systems.
“School[s] are required by law to provide [a] safe and nurturing environment for their students. It really is in the best interest of the school to play a major role in curbing or eliminating bullying in their schools,” Kumu Akeo said.
This film shows actual instances of the students being bullied and even of administrators not taking appropriate actions against it. Small details in the lives of victims that you grow to love, the relatable stories, the heart-wrenching realities, and the frustrating lack of support from school officials give the audience motivation to get out there and make a difference.
Senior Jai Wilhelm saw the film and thought it was a powerful reality-check on bullying and how harmful it can be. He thought it was especially important because of how it showed the administration’s lack of action for students suffering from bullying.
“I think the most important message this movie gives is that you can’t just ignore bullying to make it go away,” Wilhelm said. “That goes for teachers as well, because they didn’t really do much, and just ended up ignoring it until it happened again or until it was too late.”
Watch the trailer attached to this story, or on Amazon.com, you can get either rent this movie for $3.99 or buy it for $7.99.
Can we help? Mood-rescuers!
Bullying is a quick way for anyone to feel down. But these cute, encouraging memes can lift anyone’s spirits. Here are a few, but the Web is full of fun, lighthearted memes that can brighten up your mood no when you’re going through a tough time. You are not alone!
Ready for more? Here are five feel-good websites to go to if you’re ever down in the dumps:
TED: TED talks are known for presenting innovative ideas that have the power to change the world. This website gives you tons of TED and TEDx talks that can fuel you with inspiration, laughter, and motivation.
Pinterest: This popular site allows you to browse through anything from cool room decorations to beautiful travel destinations, from beauty tricks to relatable quotes. Its fun vibe and interesting content is a great way for you to get your mind off the blues.
Happy News: News sites are infamous for focusing on sad, shocking, or enraging news, but this news site only gives you positive messages, inspirational stories, and interesting information. If you’re in the need of some proof that there’s still good in the world, this site is here to do the job.
Cheezburger: This is your go-to site for a good laugh. It features funny pictures, videos, memes and more that will have you feeling happy in no time.
Calm: Take a break from it all with this handy website. It allows you to pick through beautiful landscapes and backgrounds with calming nature sounds or music that go with them. This site is perfect for relaxing, meditating, or just taking a look at the beautiful moving scenery it gives you.
Even though there are fun resources to help you get to a better state of mind, for serious help there are these 24 hour, 7 days a week hotlines:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255
The Trevor Project Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386
Do not hesitate to pick up the phone and reach out for help is you feel you need it. It gets better.