We need to have a conversation. One that involves the entire community, schools, administrators, parents, students, influencers and churches. It will take every one of these groups to be present in order to have solutions. The topic? Bullying.
Recently we have reported on a couple of students at our local high school who threatened other students and the entire student body over a social media platform known as Instagram. Reading the messages sent, in one way or another bullying seems to be involved. We don’t know that absolutely, but we speculate based on the words used.
This type of behavior happens every day in every school and in every classroom in the country. Navarre is not immune. Most do not rise to the level of threatening to shoot students at a pep rally. But bullying in schools happens. It’s an overconfident student who hasn’t been taught how to be humble or respect others. It’s the need to feel “better than” by putting others down. It’s not letting someone participate in an event because they aren’t part of the “in” crowd.
The schools do a good job of educating and encouraging students to respect others. They have assemblies, students sign promises to not bully and on the surface all is good. Underneath it all, problems still exist and bullying goes on. And according to the National Bullying Prevention website, one in five students says they are bullied. And an incredible 64 percent do not report bullying incidents when they occur. But by far the most impressive statistic says when a peer stands up and intervenes in the bullying 52 percent of the time it ends the bullying.
The message we should be teaching our children, our students is: you have the power to save someone’s life. There is a strong association between bullying and suicide related behaviors. These students face self-image issues and depression. They may even show violent behavior and/or substance abuse.
Your child has the power to intervene on behalf of a victim of bullying and stop what is happening – and maybe even save a life. But that starts with you – the parents. We should be teaching this method in schools, to parents and administrators. If we come together as a community and stand up for those being bullied, the impact would be enormous.
Navarre High School will host Unity Day Oct. 25 to spread kindness, acceptance and inclusion. Read about it in this paper on page 6A. Wear orange and let our students know we are standing with them against bullying. This is a topic Navarre Press will be doing much more with after the first of the year so stay tuned. We want bullying eradicated. And we are going to have that community conversation.