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Stop bullying one school, one student at a time

By Adam Taylor, Youth Neighborhood News (YNN)

“I am quiet. I am shy. I am dull. I am spiritless. I am closed. I am reserved.” This is what it feels when you are bullied to the point that you are lost and afraid to be you. It’s hard enough just being a teenager.  Adding bullying to your life can be traumatic.  I know this because I was bullied and I experienced all of those feelings.  Yet, I know many other people have experienced this worse than me.

Debbie Shaw, 12, agrees to a challenge by other girls to end her bullying and victimization by fighting the school bully. She died of her injuries.

Sisters Samantha and Michaela Kendal are so taunted and bullied about being overweight they go on hunger strike … both died.

Darren Steele, 15, is found dead in his bedroom after a life of bullying and victimization at school. He hanged himself.

And, a student in the Detroit area, Franchesca Lamarre, was bullied and teased because her mother had breast cancer.

Bullying someone because of who they are is a disgrace and schools need to take a stronger stand against it. Students must be taught right or wrong. Parents need to educate their kids to act like civil, smart people.  Name-calling, fighting, gossiping or being called gay should not be tolerated in schools.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are no different than anyone else.  They hear words such as “homo and faggot.” According to Mental Health America, gay people hear these words 26 times a day or once every 14 minutes. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are also threatened or injured at school.

Tyler Clementi, a college student at Rutgers University, killed himself by jumping off a bridge because he was being harassed for being gay.

My heart goes out for all the people who are struggling with this issue.  I have two gay uncles who have been in a relationship for 14 years and I’ve seen first-hand that it’s not been easy for them.

It’s also not easy for so many students who are struggling simply with their sense of identity and growing up. Our school must do everything they can to stop the bullying.

A lot of schools have no tolerance policies, but is that really enough? Teachers should be required to take training courses on bullying and how to prevent it. According to the Daily Westport, a new law was signed last month by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy requires that every member of the school staff, from the principal to the cafeteria worker, immediately report any instance of bullying. In Michigan all schools are required to develop a bullying prevention plan. That’s great, but teachers must be educated on how to prevent and stop the bullying.  Schools must also make “NO BULLYING” an integral part of school culture.

“Bullying affects all of our children — those who bully, those who are victimized, and those who are witnesses or assistants to interpersonal violence,” says education.com. “We can and must reduce this age-old problem.”

Students need to be taken seriously when it comes to bullying. Adults need to listen and acknowledge. We need to all love one another and make this a better place to live in!

If you’re being bullied never ignore it and tell an adult. Go to this website for more information- http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/tackle.htm

Most quotes by this website:

http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/cases.htm

Adam J. Taylor is a reporter for Youth Neighborhood News (YNN), a program sponsored by the Detroit Regional News Hub that teaches young people how to be good reporters and brings viewers and readers the younger side of the news.

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