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QUESTION FIVE

January 26, 2018

I’m not a parent yet but seriously, is bullying really a thing? These are just kids being kids.  Give them a break.

 

 
A few months ago, I witnessed an incident while volunteering in the middle school lunchroom.  An older student was saying some horrible things about another student’s parents.  This other student, a male, was surrounded by his classmates, standing in the lunch line in tears.  I had a few words with the perceived bully and told the kid that he was picking on I had his back.  After lunch, I approached the person, who I thought, most students would talk to about this sort of thing, to ask who he’d like me to report bullying incidences to.  He avoided answering my question by telling me that bullying wasn’t an issue at their school... that sure it happened, but not very often.


I was so shocked by his words, I wanted to cry. I remember reporting things like this to my school, and them brushing it off like, it was “kids being kids”. The middle of my junior year, it had gotten so bad that my mind was made up… if my parents didn’t transfer me, I was going to drop out. Thankfully, I transferred to a new school but the bullying quickly turned criminal. Shortly after switching schools, my car was keyed and my tires slashed , in what I believe, were my bullies final farewells. If my old school had taken my complaints seriously, would it have gotten that far? I think not.

 

Maybe the person I talked to just doesn’t like doing his job, or maybe he feels the same way you do... that these are just kids being kids. Or it could be that students don’t trust him enough to come to him because he’s made it clear how it feels about the topic.

 

The point I’m trying to make- I have had interactions with school administrators/teachers/staff, both as a teen reporting it (before “Bullying” was even a term used) and as an adult myself. The only logical conclusion I can rationalize with, is that the people I talked to, MUST feel the same way as you do and MUST have been blessed enough to have ever experienced bullying themselves.

 

In terms of statistics, 51% of people will experience bullying at some point in their lives and it’s more likely to happen when you’re younger. Statistically speaking, almost everyone will experience bullying at some point. Despite these somewhat alarming numbers, not everyone goes through bullying when they’re young and some will never experience it at all.

 

According to research collected in the 2017 Annual Bullying Survey conducted by DitchTheLabel.org, 37% of those surveyed never told anyone about the bullying.  This, along with the 51% of people experience bullying, made me wonder if the numbers in our community were significantly lower, giving a factual reasoning behind this man’s statement.

I took to Instagram, to poll our [almost] 600 followers who live in our area and asked students the same two questions and if they knew where/who to go, to report an incident. Here are the results from Fort White Middle and High school who voted.

 

      85% said they have witnessed an act of bullying at school.

      50% said they reported the bullying, 50% did not.

      25% said they didn’t know (or didn’t have a trusted adult) who they could                   go to, to report bullying.

 

Now obviously, this is only me, asking students to participate on Instagram and not is not a controlled environment.  I would be extremely interested to poll the entire school, to see if the numbers were comparable.

 

For me personally, I’ve experienced bullying for myself and KNOW the effects that it can have. Saying bullying is just “kids being kids” makes it seem like it is okay… and it’s NOT okay.

 

On our bullying page, is a form where you can report bullying directly to Leading2Greater, where we’ll hand deliver it directly to your schools principle, if you’d like us to do so. Also on that page, I have the direct links to the Florida statutes along with Columbia County Student Code of Conduct and Bullying and Harassment Policies mentioned above.

 

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