By: Josh G.
Many adults see middle school as just a short period of time in our academic career before things “really start to count”. But for many kids, middle school can have a major impact even years after they’re gone. The physical and emotional complexities facing middle school students can be overwhelming. There is the desire to fit in, concern for what others think about you, and often a fear of peers making fun of you and being bullied. Nearly one in three students report bullying during the school year, but according to the i-Safe American survey of student bullying statistics, around 58% of these kids admit to never telling an adult when they’ve been the victim of a bullying. Additional research suggests that almost all forms of bullying peak in middle school and decrease towards the end of the tenth-grade year.
Bullying may include but is not limited to: physical abuse, verbal attacks (such as teasing, inappropriate remarks and spreading false rumors), and psychological/social harm (such as group exclusion, humiliation and cyber bullying through social media). You may think that the “worst” of these would be physical bullying, and it may seem so in the moment, but research demonstrates that long term psychological and verbal abuse can have a longer lasting, negative effect on victims. Bullying that includes social exclusion and verbal abuse can lead to significant drops in self-esteem, higher rates of depression and anxiety, physical ailments such as headaches and stomachaches, a lack of trust in others, social disengagement and lowered academic performance.
Bullying is a huge problem in our schools and needs to be stopped. I believe that Anti-Bullying posters and awareness weeks are not enough. People need to recognize the seriousness of this issue and take action to prevent and minimize these incidents. I believe that if more victims of bullying would stand up and tell their story, we could make a huge impact on pre-teens and teens today. But this alone still will not stop the ever-growing problem of bullying. School administrators and fellow staff members need to learn how to recognize bullying and need training on how to intervene when they see it. In my middle school, our administration not only ignored the issue but did not seem to recognize signs of bullying or abide by the county’s anti-bully policies and procedures. It would be helpful if the adults in the school would partner with students and listen to their ideas about preventing and responding to bullying.
Bullying needs to be stopped. We know that a relationship exists between bullying and suicide, but the severity of the statistics is still frightening. Suicide is the THIRD leading cause of death of young people across the globe. While suicide is never the result of just one issue, adults need to be aware that bullied students can be at risk. Let’s find more ways for staff and students to work together so that we can stop bullying.
I’m Josh, the writer of the article. Currently I am in the 10th grade. I experienced these events throughout middle school. Although the scars still remain and I am still affected by those events today, the experiences I went through made me into the person I am today. I am stronger and more resilient. Bullying is one of the most prominent and prevalent problems in today’s society and it needs to be properly approached and resolved.