In recent years, the subject of bullying has been covered widely on the national news, in part because some of the victims of merciless bullying in school have committed suicide due to their treatment by peers. This has shed a spotlight on the dangerous repercussions of bullying, and many schools have adopted programs to take an active role in putting an end to this damaging behavior. My school has addressed the topic to some degree, but not in any formal way.
I believe that I can make a difference in the world by helping to develop a program in my school that would take a serious step in addressing bullying. I have witnessed this problem firsthand, as one of my friends has had a great deal of trouble being teased by other students, and this bullying has ranged from relatively minor remarks to significant incidents that has left him devastated. I have a great deal of fear that at some point, he will not be able to stand it anymore, and may resort to committing suicide. That is the reason that I feel invested in this topic, both because of my personal attachment to my friend, as well as the knowledge that there are many other children and teens that are subjected to this type of cruelty.
My idea for addressing bullying in school is for a committee to be formed, and to which I would be happy to belong, to contact the American Program Bureau, an organization that provides speakers on the topic of bullying. I have seen some of the speakers on television, and they are very powerful in making the case for putting an end to bullying. Some of them have been involved in making documentaries and other media presentations about the topic, others are mental health professionals, but all have one thing in common: a commitment to ending bullying by appealing to the group of people who are most likely to be affected by it: school-aged children and teens. I have also seen incredibly emotional speakers on the subject of bullying, and these have been parents of children who killed themselves because of the intolerable experiences they had with being devalued, mocked, and even physically assaulted. I believe that the student body should be gathered into an assembly on a regular basis, for instance every couple of months at least, to listen to one of the speakers that is an expert on the topic of bullying.
The second part of my program would involve contact on a more individual basis with people who feel that they have been experiencing bullying. It is difficult to determine how to do this without stigmatizing the students and making their lives even worse, so my plan takes pains to avoid making students stand out to others, putting them at risk of becoming even more of an object of ridicule. After each assembly that included a speaker about bullying, every student would be required to fill out an evaluation form, assessing the speaker, adding comments, and asking if he or she would like to be contacted about anything pertaining to the topic.
That way, the student could submit an email address, or a phone number, and it would be anonymous in so far as the other students are concerned because everyone would be passing in their evaluations simultaneously, both with and without that question answered. Afterwards, the committee that organized the speakers would go through the forms, separating out the forms of any respondents who were requesting contact.
The committee would then solicit help from the speakers about whether or not they could personally respond to each student, or whether they could refer us to someone who could be assigned to contact that student. That way, if the topic of bullying struck a nerve for any student, either someone who is bullied, or someone who has bullied, that student would have the opportunity to speak on a one-to-one basis with someone who could help. I know that the world would be a better place if people treated each other kindly and respectfully, and being part of the anti-bullying effort in my school would give me an opportunity to participate in such an effort.