Niagara Gazette

Opinion

March 24, 2014

GUEST VIEW: Bullying: Let's step up, so others don't get stepped on

Niagara Gazette — Every day thousands of children wake up and are afraid to go to school. Not because they haven’t completed their homework, nor are they nervous to take a test, but because they are fearful of bullying.

Bullying has become one of the leading concerns within schools in Niagara County. Bullying can lead to poor grades, school violence and teen suicide.

Bullying occurs when a person is picked on repeatedly by an individual or group perceived to have more power, either in terms of physical strength or social status. It is the ongoing harassment of one peer by another resulting in mental, physical and/or psychological pain. Bullying can be physical or verbal. Boys tend to use more physical elements when bullying and girls tend to be more verbal. Bullying can occur anywhere: on the bus, in the neighborhood, before or after school, in the cafeteria or hallway, or on a computer.

Bullying can range from hitting, shoving, name-calling and threats to mocking others. It also can involve extorting money and prized possessions. Some kids bully by shunning others and spreading rumors about them.

Bullies choose their victims for two main reasons – appearance and social status. Bullies pick on the people they think don’t fit in, maybe because of how they look, how they act, their race or religion, their size or their sexual orientation.

Kids bully for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they pick on kids because they need a victim — someone who seems emotionally or physically weaker, or just acts or appears different in some way — to feel more important, popular or in control. Although some bullies are bigger or stronger than their victims, this is not always the case.

A bully likes attention and appears confident with high self esteem, when actually he or she is most likely extremely insecure. A bully may be physically aggressive, pro-violence, easily angered and impulsive. A bully likes to dominate and have power over people. Bullies are more likely to dislike others, perform poorly academically, instigate fights and are more prone to be problematic in school.

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