On April 16th 2009, eleven year old Jaheem Herrera woke up acting strangely and did not want to go to school, but he packed his bag and went to Dunaire Elementary in DeKalb County, Georgia. When he came back from school that day, he was much happier and gave his mother his report card full of As and Bs. She gave him a high five and he went upstairs while his mother fixed dinner. A little while later his younger sister called him down to eat, but Jaheem didn’t answer. So, his mother and younger sister went upstairs to check on him and found him hanging by his belt in the closet. (CNN 1) Bullying is a horrible crime that has always affected many young people and we need to find a way to stop it. There are four kinds of bullying and they are physical, verbal, covert, and cyber. Physical bullying includes kicking, tripping, pushing, hitting and damaging property.
Verbal bullying includes insults, teasing, name calling, intimidation, and homophobic or racist remarks. Covert bullying is harder to recognize because it is done behind the bullying victims back, this kind of bullying can include spreading rumors, playing cruel jokes to embarrass and humiliate, mimicking unkindly, encouraging other to socially exclude someone, or damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance. The last type of bullying is cyber bullying; this kind is done in the digital world and it can include harassment via a mobile phone, intentionally excluding someone from social networking spaces, or setting up an insulting personal website. (NCAB) In order to stop bullying at school, school districts now have to find a way to budget their money to afford bullying programs.
The money they use is tax dollars and those tax dollars “get spent just trying to make sure that people are treated with respect. Something we all should do freely, without the imposition of consequences.” (Burns) Another thing is that teachers usually get paid by their student’s attendance and everyday 160,000 students stay home from school due to bullying. (Burns) Bullying doesn’t just happen at school because “according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety Health, there is a loss of employment amounting to $19 billion and a drop in productivity of $3 billion due to workplace bullying.” (Burns) Also, since 1999, “the Office of Violence against women has spent around $98 million in assistance to address campus sexual violence.” (Burns)
I believe that verbal bullying has the most affects on the bullying victim because they will never forget what the bully said and how it made them feel and that’s what causes them to go as far as committing suicide. From a survey taken in March 2011, twenty percent of high school students say that they have seriously considered committing suicide within the last 12 months. (Burns) An example of this statistic actually coming true is Jaheem Herrera. Jaheem Herrera’s mom, Masika Bermudez, believes that bullies at Jaheem’s school pushed him over the edge.
They would call him words such as “gay, ugly, and “the virgin” just because he was from the Virgin Islands.” (CNN 1) Jaheem finally got tired of it and now his mother will never get to see her son grow up. Jaheem’s school has an anti – bullying program that was “considered exemplary and includes programs to raise awareness and a specially trained liaison. Students are even asked to sign a no bullying pledge.” (CNN 1) Masika Bermudez and other parents say that they have complained about bullying as well. Another statistic says that sixty-five percent of teens are bullied each year and most believe adults can’t help them.
Another example of verbal bullying is 11 year old Carl Walker – Hoover, who committed suicide by hanging himself on the stairwell banister on April 6th 2009, just 10 days before Jaheem Herrera. When Carl Walker came home from school that day he told his mom, Sirdeaner Walker – Hoover, “…his backpack had hit the TV stand and that the TV stand hit a girl. The girl got really upset and threatened to beat him.” (CNN 2) However, that’s not the only thing that happened, since fifth grade Carl had been having problems with other students. For example, they would call him ‘gay’ and he’d be verbally teased every day. It got to a point where Carl was so afraid of being bullied, he ate lunch with a guidance counselor. Carl’s story is also an example of sexual bullying which is really a form of sexual harassment.
An example of cyber bullying is Ryan Halligan who committed suicide in 2003 also because of sexual harassment. Ryan started to get teased in fifth grade and his dad’s response was “It’s just words. You need to just ignore him…” (CNN 2) However, the maltreatment still continued up until seventh grade when Ryan came home to tell his parents that he was becoming friends with one of his bullies. Soon later, the bully backstabbed him and spread a rumor around school that Ryan was gay and because of that, kids who didn’t normally pick on Ryan got in on the bullying. Ryan started to receive rude, wicked, and homophobic emails but he still didn’t tell his parents about them. One day Ryan went to go talk to a girl whom he had been chatting online with for a long time and the girl told Ryan that he was a loser and didn’t want anything to do with him and then laughed in his face. This is another thing that pushed Ryan over the edge. “Cyber bullying is far more dangerous than what we had to deal with a generation ago. The level of pain that can be brought about by this behavior is unbelievable.” (CNN 2)
In 2009, a survey took down what percentage of high school students have been bullied on school property by race/ ethnicity within 2008. Twenty percent of all children say they have been bullied and this survey shows exactly that. (Burns) Out of all the students at this high school, 19.9 percent report that they have been bullied. The top three races that were bullied were Caucasian at 21.6 percent, American Indian/ Alaska Native at 33.8 percent, and non Hispanic multiple race at 23.9 percent. (CDC)
Bullying is a horrible crime that has always affected many young people and we need to find a way to stop it. These stories about Jaheem, Carl, and Ryan being bullied are just a few of the hundreds of thousands of bullying problems that kids, students, and even adults have to deal with everyday. To help this problem, I believe that at every school in America it should be necessary to have an anti – bullying program because according to a statistic, in a school where there are bullying programs, bullying is reduced by 50 percent. If every school in America has one, then that’s cutting the bullying problem in half.
James Burns. (28 March 2011) April 5, 2012. Proactive Behavioral – Management website: <http://behavioral-management.com/bullying-statistics>. James Burns provided many statistics about bullying in school, in a workplace. He also
provided how much money is spent and lost in a workplace because of sexual harassment and sexual violence. CNN 1.(23 April 2009) April , 2012 “My bullied son’s last day on Earth.” CNN U.S. Website: <http://articles.cnn.com/2009-04-23/us/bullying.suicide_1_bullies-gay-tired?_s=PM:US>. This article provided for me a story about a little boy who was bullied at school to the point of committing suicide. It provides me a lot of quotes and the pain a family feels when a person is bullied. CNN 2. (May 26, 2009) April 5, 2012 “When sexual bullying turns deadly.” CNN Living Website. <http://articles.cnn.com/2009-05-26/living/o.truth.about.bullying_1_bullying-guidance-counselor-happ>. This article provided me with two stories about two boys named Carl and Ryan who were also bullied at school and they also both committed suicide. This article also provides for me statistics about sexual bullying. MCHB – Maternal & Child Health Bureau. (March 2011) April 5, 2012 “Bullying.” Child Health USA 2011 website: <http://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa11/hstat/hsa/pages/225b.html>. This website provided me with a graph that shows high school students who were bullied on school property in the past year, by Race/Ethnicity in 2009. NCAB. April 5, 2012 “Who’s Bullying and Who’s Being Bullied?.” National Centre against Bullying. Website: <http://www.ncab.org.au/whatisbullying/>.