What can principals, teachers, fellow students, and society do to get involved in preventing bullying, or is this just a part of growing up? Kameron Jacobsen at the age of 14, four months into his freshman year of high school, Kameron took his own life. According to his parents, he had been the target of bullying both at Monroe Woodbury High School and away from school within the online sites like Facebook and MySpace. The bullying of Kameron took place over a period of two-and-one-half years. He was thrown into lockers; his jaw was broken in one incident. The local police department closed their investigation into the suicide of Kameron’s approximately two-weeks following his death and determined there was no evidence of bullying. Society is full of children and adults not wanting to be involved in the problems of others. Society needs to recognize that how the children develop in the schools and communities will directly affect what they become, and how they act as adults in their communities. The children in our schools are living building blocks for what our next generation of adults will become. The key to reducing the impacts of bullying in our schools is dependent on the education and awareness of students, teachers, and most importantly the parents of the students.
People frequently state that bullying in today’s society is no different than it was in the times of the older generations. Bullying is still not considered to be an issue deserving of serious consideration. Bullying often is dismissed as a right-of-passage experienced by all children, while the victims of bullies are blamed for having done something to be deserving of the bully's hostile attentions. The fact is that bullying this is much worse today than it was 10 years ago. Bullycide the term for suicide related to bullying has increased drastically in the last ten years. Srabstein J reports, “In a study conducted over the last 57 years it was determined that 121 suicides were directly related to bullying. Of those 121 suicides, sixty-seven percent were over the last ten years.” That’s eighty-one suicides in ten years, or 8.1 per year. This is opposed to forty suicides in the previous forty years or one per year.
To better understand the problem, it is important to know what bullying is. Morrison, (2006) defines bullying as, “repeated negative interpersonal relationship characterized by an imbalance of power targeted at a person that is perceived to be weaker or more vulnerable, without apparent provocation”. There is no clear definition of a victim. The unfortunate can be anyone subjected to unwanted advances from another. Victim is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment”.
According to the Bullying Statistics (2010), “Over sixty percent of middle school students report that they have been bullied. There are approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million victims in the American school system.” These numbers seem overwhelming; now take into account the number of students that will not report the incident. The facts and data from the various studies and reports of the American school system are staggering and make it very clear that something must be done to curb, and reduce the number of bullies and victims within our schools, playgrounds, and neighborhoods.
Parents are often unaware of how prevalent bullying is in the schools of their children. The only time the public is made aware is when serious offense occurs that makes it news worthy, such as a suicide or worse yet a school shooting. Not only are the parents unaware in many cases the teachers are unaware as Bullying Statistics reports, “Of the roughly sixty percent of the students who believed they were bullied, only sixteen percent of teachers acknowledged, or thought that there were cases of bullying within their schools.” ABC’s primetime investigative news program 20/20 reported, “On