Approximately one in every four kids in the United States undergoes occasional bullying in their livelihoods. While it is true that bullying affects children and teenagers, it also has negative implications on the people who bully. Bullying takes many forms including cyber bullying and physical bullying at schools. However, physical bullying is most important as it points to a serious problem within the American school system. That notwithstanding, it should be noted that bullying is not the only problem that affects children and teenagers. While there are other serious problems affecting children and teenagers, bullying has grave impacts and should be a concern for everyone in order to improve the well being of the children and teenagers.
The issue of bullying is a controversial topic that draws mixed reactions among leaders, parents, and school stakeholders. That notwithstanding, all the people agree that bullying is an evident vice that is dominant in the society. The only bone of contention is whether the voice is a growing problem that should warrant legislative measures to stop it. On one hand, there are those that think that bullying is a rising problem in the United States and call for measures to curb the same (Rue, pp 15). Unsurprisingly, most of these people are parents to children who have faced bullying either in school or at home. Rightly so, bullying has been considered as a growing problem in the US over time owing to the ever increasing magnitude of such cases. However, there are also people who think that bullying is a normal and small problem that can be tackled through natural remedies. To them, bullying does not warrant the use of legislative powers to stop it. Rather, it is a social problem occasioned by the mere interaction of different people.
Bullying has clear negative influences on both the people bullied and the people bullying others. While the people who are bullied are the most affected, negative impacts cannot be ruled out on the part of people who bully. Different researchers have pointed to the existence of a relationship between bullying and depression. Moreover, many victims of bullying have been reported as having committed suicide over the years, perhaps due to depression associated with bullying. The physical forms of bullying could also have physical damages to the victims with some children experiencing shoving, hitting and kicking from their peers. About 36 percent of students reported to have been kicked and pushed inappropriately by their peers (Murphy, pp 45). The incidence of bullying also has negative impacts on the bullies including psychological effects. Moreover, the bullies could end up engaging in criminal activities thus facing criminal charges and sentences. It is the culmination of all these negative effects that have led people to call for the enactment of laws to curb bullying. The idea is that victims can get court reprieve and even attain compensation from perpetrators of the bullying activities.
Moreover, bullying has been linked to incidents of violence and murder among the students in their schools. It is now normal to find children killed by their friends while walking to school. In fact, some of the students have admitted to carrying short guns to schools in a bid to avert the incidences of bullying from their peers. The result is that the people may end up engaging in violent activities as they fight each other and these could lead to occasional murder cases. Almost 86 percent of the students who turn to lethal violence attribute it to the incidence of bullying. In addition, about 60 percent of people who engage in school shootings have had instances of bullying either in school or at their homes (Shore, pp 18). Essentially, it is assumed that pupils who engage in violent activities do so in an attempt to get back at those who hurt them through bullying.
While bullying is clearly happening in the schools, it is not on scales that warrant the use of legislation to curb it. In fact, schools within the country have the capacity to contain the cases of bullying within their boundaries without the use of legislation. One of the main reasons why legislation is disregarded by its critics is the fact that it does not help in corrective measures. Even if the bullies were to be prosecuted in a court of law and sentenced, it does not guarantee an end to the problem of bullying. Children and teenagers do not engage in bullying by virtue of crime but a desire to seem superior to their peers. Essentially, most teenagers engage in bullying in an attempt to drive fear among their peers and thus retaining undisputable in their control of the other teenagers. It is not true that bullying is a criminal activity that should be punishable through prosecution. Rather, critics of the use of legislation argue that schools should contain the instances of bullying among the students.
The critics of the assertion that bullying is a problem in the United States argue that it has been in existence ever since the evolution of mankind. Accordingly, the only difference is that today’s’ bullying has changed in its nature and form and has taken other forms including cyber bullying. Even when there was no civilization, cases of bullying were reported even among children and teenagers. It should thus not be a concern for Americans when children engage in bullying activities. The critics argue that there is no direct relationship between bullying and violent activities such as murder and suicide (Moore, pp 92). According to them, the incidence of murder cannot be directly linked to bullying as most murderers could have committed the crimes even in the absence of bullying. In most of the bullying cases, the teachers or administrators do not step in to avert the cases of bullying. It occurs therefore that teachers do not view it vas their responsibility to avert such instances of bullying. Accordingly, the schools should be equipped with the necessary measures to help in containing the instances of bullying. Each school could for instance have sessions where students are taught about the disadvantages of bullying.
There is a general agreement across the two sides of the divide that bullying has spiraled out of control and needs to be contained. The only contention is the manner in which bullying should be averted and who should be responsible for bringing it to manageable levels. Nonetheless, the numbers are too high to be ignored and this should prompt a combined effort to defeat bullying. Critics of legislation seem to have forgotten that teachers and schools have been at the helm for too long and that they have failed to contain it before. It cannot be assumed that a driver who led the car to a ditch has the ability to steer the car back again. Even if they were, they cannot be trusted with a responsibility they have failed to achieve for the longest time. The fact that bullying victims are usually the weaker ones should prompt everyone to respond and protect the children and teenagers. It is not natural that bullying occurs in schools and even in the residential places. In fact, it is an absurdity that it occurs in places where the children are supposed to be most secured.
Although legislation faces many challenges in implementation, it is an important aspect in dissuading children from engaging in bullying. Moreover, the seriousness with which policies and legislations are implemented can serve as a deterrent to children who plan on engaging in criminal activities. It appears that the lack of legislation in dealing with bullying among children and teenagers has been a motivation for the rampant cases of bullying and violence in schools. However, legislation should not be used alone but should be coupled with counseling attempts to ensure that children learn of the negative effects of bullying. Moreover, the idea of having victims compensated for the psychological or physical damages is not a smart one as the sentencing of the bullies is enough to curb the vice. Going forward and seeking compensation would be viewed as witch hunt on the part of the victims as the perpetrators are already apprehended.
The incidences of bullying have increased over time leading to increased attention both in research and theory. Moreover, the negative impacts of bullying are too grave to be ignored. Legislation is not the best way to tackle issues that deal with children and delinquent misdemeanors. However, in the case of bullying, it is the only option that the country has at hand and should thus be embraced with both hands. School administrations and teachers have failed the country in containing the vice that is bullying in schools. They cannot therefore claim to suddenly have found the cure that they for so long never administered. The government should act with speed to pass legislative measures that dissuade children from engaging in bullying either ion school or even in their estates of residence.
Rue, Nancy N. You Can’t Sit with Us. , 2014. Internet resource.
Murphy, Alexa G, Madonna M. Murphy, and Sharon L. Banas. Dealing with Bullying. New York: Chelsea House, 2009. Internet resource.
Shore, Kenneth. Bullying Prevention for Students with Disabilities. Place of publication not identified: Pro-Ed, 2014. Print.
Moore, K. S. “Book Review: Children and Bullying: How Parents and Educators Can Reduce Bullying at School (2008). Ken Rigby (Ed.), Malden, MA: Blackwell, 232 Pp., US$19.95.” The Family Journal 17.1 (2009): 91-93. Web.
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