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We must address bullying

The concept of bullying is not something new, as it has been around seemingly since the dawn of time. There have always been those who had a sense of power and preyed on those who they felt were underneath them.

The term bullying is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as “a blustering browbeating person” or “one habitually cruel to others who are weaker.” These are both things that many see on a daily basis.

Years ago, bullying was done in person at school or on the playground. This is certainly still the case, but like with anything else technology has enhanced the level bullying goes to.

All too often we find that bullying is done essentially in the darkness through technology like cell phones and chat rooms. This is a very serious problem that has elevated over time, and frankly needs to be addressed.

When I was a kid, in most cases if we saw someone being bullied or were bullied ourselves, we were taught to stand up to the bully.

However, what is a person to do if someone, who can essentially remain anonymous, repeatedly bullies someone through one of these methods.

Bullying, in my mind, has become a serious epidemic in our society that ranges from children to adults. This is something that can take place at school, home or work that affects people of all ages and genders.

Frankly, this is something that we shouldn’t have to deal with as a civilization, but sadly that is not the case.

Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center has compiled a list of startling statistics, and some of those are listed below. A complete list of these statistics can be found on Pacer’s website at http://www.pacer.org.

One out of every four students (22 percent) report being bullied during the school year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2015).

19.6 percent of high school students in the US report being bullied at school in the past year and 14.8 percent reported being bullied online (Center for Disease Control, 2014).

School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25 percent (McCallion and Feder, 2013).

The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55 percent), body shape (37 percent), and race (16 percent) (Davis and Nixon, 2010).

Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment (Center for Disease Control, 2012).

Students who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood (Center for Disease Control, 2012).

Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches (Gini and Pozzoli, 2013)

Youth victimized by their peers were 2.4 times more likely to report suicidal ideation and 3.3 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than youth who reported not being bullied (Espelage and Holt, 2013).

While the Ohio legislature and school districts have taken many steps to curb this problem, one tragedy shows how far we still need to go.

This is a problem that wasn’t created overnight and subsequently won’t be fixed tomorrow or the next day. But everyday we continue to address these issues and work to find solutions maybe one day we will alleviate the epidemic we face today as a society.