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Bullying: Time To Take A Stand!

IN THE March 19 ISSUE

FROM THE 2011 Articles,
andContributors,
andHelping Hands,
andMental Health,
andTeens
SECTIONS

by Justin Kamimoto

Today, yesterday and the days before yesterday all had a consistent epidemic at hand: bullying is happening and leading to destructive consequences.

Bullying is the leading crisis in schools and communities across the nation where children of various ages are the main victims. Human natures that we cannot control are the main issues when it comes to bullying. The color of our skin, the sexual orientation we identify as, and the gender we were born as are some of the leading stands where bullies feel it is appropriate to harass someone classified as “different” than what they view as normal.

A cartoon of student bullying

As the world around us started to change, so did the effects of bullying– mainly adding a new category by the new use of technology. The common definition of bullying is an aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength, typically with actions that are repeated over time.

There are four common types of bullying today: physical, verbal, nonverbal or emotional, and cyberbullying. Physical bullying is where one person physically abuses another, examples being hitting and/or punching. Verbal bullying is a vocal form where the use of teasing, name-calling, and slurs are used, common in a high school environment. Nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying is where the use of intimidation by gestures and social exclusion takes place. Lastly, is cyberbullying, the newest form, where insulting messages of a negative connotation are sent by phone, email, social networking sites and any way where the use of technology comes into play.

Who is the bully, though? If anyone can be the bully, how can we stop what we can’t see? Research has shown that children who bully their peers regularly tend to have the following characteristics: impulsiveness, hot-headedness, domineering, easily frustrated, and lack empathy toward others. Sometimes it starts in the home where children who bully live, where there is a lack of warmth and involvement from parents, overly-permissive parenting, a lack of supervision by parents, and a model for bullying behavior in the household. Now before I go on, the characteristics listed above may not apply to the “typical bully,” but it is defined by previous cases of reported bullying.

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama took a stand,
not as the president and first lady, but as parents at the Bullying Prevention Conference on March 10, 2011. President Obama stated that parents need to make an effort in kids’ lives in and out of the classroom. Stepping up if you feel something is occuring, is the start to preventing bullying from happening repeatedly, and is important for the safety of our children. Everyone needs to play a role in the prevention of bullying, but it starts with the parents. Pull together groups of people to support you in your cause to make a safer school and a more accepting community. We need to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless right of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.

Stop Bulling Now: Take a Stand, Lend a Hand, is a new program enacted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The HRSRA gives steps and tips on how to intervene to stop bullying. If you see or hear bullying immediately stop it from escalating. Stand between the victim being bullied and the bully themselves. Block eye contact of both the bully and the victim and bring bystanders in to make sure no further action is taken. If you are a student in school and bullying is happening, control the situation until a school administrator or adult is around. Do not immediately ask about or discuss the reasons for the bullying or sort out the facts. Allow an adult to handle the situation. Including bystanders in the conversation of bullying is a great way to get other students to step up and intervene and provide help in the next occurrence.

Parents, ask your children about their days at school. Taking “nothing, it was okay” as an answer should not be accepted. Learn the lives of your children to protect them. Ensure that if bullying is happening at school, that the zero tolerance policies are being enacted for the protection of your child. If your child is being bullied, report it. Most cases have shown that students do not report bullying out of fear for their safety.

Here are some statistics today about bullying:
• 1/3 of middle and high school students report being bullied during the school year
• 3 million students have admitted to being pushed, shoved, and even spit on
• 15-20% of students are bullied with some frequency while 15-20% report that they bully others
• Incidents of bullying behaviors have increased by 5% between 1999 and 2001
• Research indicates that children with disabilities or special needs may be at higher risk of being bullied than other children
• 8 in 10 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered (LGBT) students have been verbally harassed at school while 4 in 10 LGBT students had been physically harassed
• 6 out of 10 LGBT students felt unsafe at school, where 1 in 5 had been a victim of a physical assault at school

In a recent documentary Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case that Made History, Jamie Nabozny is an LGBT student who received constant physical and verbal bullying to the point where his life was being threatened. This documentary had no made up scenarios, and it is shocking to see that school administrators denied the cases of bullying taking place in the high school that Jamie attended because he was an “out” LGBT student. Jamie’s mom remarks that, “As a parent my job is to protect [Jamie] and keep him safe. Boys will be boys is not a tolerable excuse for bullying.”

Bullying usually starts with a small incident of words being thrown at a student; words such as slurs are mainly used. In Jamie’s case words such as “homo” and “fag” were the two main forms of harassment because he identified as part of the LGBT community.

When you let someone bully you, and don’t make the effort to stop it, it tends to slowly escalate- escalate to physically abusive bullying that should not be tolerated by anyone. You have the right to fight back if something is not right; not in a physical term, but by taking appropriate measures of talking to a parent, school administrator and teachers, and gaining the involvement of your community. They are there to help you.

You are not the only one that is being harassed and bullied.Take the necessary steps if you are being bullied, because nobody deserves to be treated unfairly and not have a safe environment to learn in, to live in, and to associate in. You may ask yourself the question “What did I do to deserve this?” but really you did nothing wrong. You are perfect in every way, shape or form. Appreciate the person you are and strive to shine, because you are a star.

Here are some resources you can use to stop the spread of bullying:

StopBullying.Gov is a government enacted website to provide the resources and information needed free of charge and open to the public. If you, or someone you know, needs someone to talk to, call The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline, at any time of day. A live help representative will be there to take your call and to listen. Let’s all take a stand to stop bullying—it’s been going on far too long!

Other groups helping take a stand against bullying are Gay Straight Alliance and the Rainbow Delegation. Check out our articles on both of these here in KRL. Cutting Edge Theatre Project also recently presented a play on bullying called The Wretched Void at the Rogue Festival and has plans to expand on that play in the future–you can read our reviews of this play in our Rogue Reviews article. Also watch for more articles on bullying and things we can do to stop it in future articles.

Justin Kamimoto is 17 and a contributor to our
Teen Talk section. He is a senior at Clovis North High School, president of their GSA, and strives to continue his community involvement with hopes in the future of creating his own non-profit organization.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brock NeeleyNo Gravatar March 19, 2011 at 2:37pm

Once again Fantastic Job Justin!!!!!

If you would like The Trevor Project to come to your school and do Lifeguard Workshops go to

http://www.TheTrevorProject.org

and request workshops.

Reply

2 Justin KamimotoNo Gravatar
Twitter: @justinkamimoto
March 20, 2011 at 10:56am

Thank you Brock for your kind words once again! The Trevor Project will be making its way to the Clovis North GSA hopefully sometime in the near future! Don’t forget to spread the word about the article!

Thank you!

Justin Kamimoto

Reply

3 Vickye AshtonNo Gravatar March 20, 2011 at 11:12am

Great article! As a parent of a child who was bullied and as a former bullied child myself, I can assure you: it is NOT a harmless right of passage. It did NOT make me stronger or a better person today. If anything, it held me back for years. I have assured my own kids that they will NEVER get in trouble with me for standing up to a bully, no matter what the school thinks. My opinion is, if the school is not stopping it, then my kids have every right to. Every kid has the right to go to school and feel safe. Period.

Reply

4 Justin KamimotoNo Gravatar
Twitter: @justinkamimoto
March 20, 2011 at 7:43pm

Thank you Vickye on the kind words of the article! Every parent should assure their kids that coming to talk to them about bullying is something that they should do. Everyone deserves the right to feel safe in the areas they live in.

– Justin Kamimoto

Reply

5 Diana HockleyNo Gravatar
Twitter: @Cadfael18
March 27, 2011 at 2:57pm

An excellent article with some good tips for coping with bullying. Educational authorities seem not only be powerless to stop this activity, but would rather bury their heads in the sand. Believe me, this is the case in Australia and I am sure in countries worldwide. I am amazed that bullies are not charged with assault and punished appropriately, because that is what it is. A young kid called Casey here in Australia was filmed putting a bully in his place a week or so ago – most of you will remember this – and while he could have seriously injured the bully (and acknowledges this) the majority of people understand why he took that action. The bully in this case is obviously practiced – he has been taught to box, probably by his father. My final comment, is that parents and education departments have to get together on this. Teachers hands are tied and a lot of parents are more likely to beat the teacher up than deal with their recalcitrant child.

Reply

6 Justin KamimotoNo Gravatar
Twitter: @justinkamimoto
March 27, 2011 at 7:48pm

Thank you for your comment Diana. You provide some very good points. It’s going to take an overall effort to end bullying, and not many people understand the seriousness of it. If we let bullying continue to take place, it will only escalate. It’s time to vow to make a change.

Please continue to share this article so we can provide some information on the importance on taking a stand. I’m glad the Kings River Life Magazine is expanding all the way to your location.

– Justin Kamimoto

Reply

7 Brock NeeleyNo Gravatar March 27, 2011 at 10:34pm

Congrats to Justin on his selection for the GSA/Bulldog Pride Scholarship!!!!!

Reply

8 Justin KamimotoNo Gravatar
Twitter: @justinkamimoto
March 28, 2011 at 5:57pm

Thank you Brock!

Reply

9 Brock NeeleyNo Gravatar March 28, 2011 at 3:32pm

“Justin Kamimoto
I got the eQuality Scholarship that I went out for in SF!!!! $5000 toward going to Fresno State!”

CONGRATS!!!!!!

I hope that means we will have many more written pieces like this in the future from Justin.

KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK Justin!!!!!

Reply

10 Justin KamimotoNo Gravatar
Twitter: @justinkamimoto
March 28, 2011 at 6:18pm

Thank you so much Brock for the great compliments! Many more articles coming from me through the Kings River Life Magazine!

Reply

11 Miyuki BakerNo Gravatar
Twitter: @asiangayproud
May 22, 2011 at 1:11pm

Hi Justin,
This is a great article, as are the other articles you’ve written for the magazine! I was wondering if you’d be interested in being interviewed for Asian, Gay and Proud. Past examples can be found here: http://www.asiangayandproud.info/out-and-successful

If you’re interested, please send me an email at asiangayandproudwebsite@gmail.com

Thanks so much!

-Miyuki

Reply

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