Queer/Race

Blog #2 – The fight against bullying

Posted in Uncategorized by nr459 on April 14, 2010

Bullying in schools, specifically high schools, have been becoming more and more prominent in daily news and reports. The numbers have been soaring and the dangers towards these young adults have turned to extreme violence. Whether it is the violence acted upon them, or the violence they eventually used on themselves, students in middle school and high school are so insecure and fragile to those around them.

And why is this even an issue? Because they are different.

Many of the stories stem from a student who is believed to be a homosexual. His/her sexual orientation, or believed sexual orientation, becomes the subject of their demise. Other times it is because they look “different,” because they dress “different,” and because they act “different.” But who defines what is normal and different? Is it magazines with their airbrushed models wearing luxury labels? Is it mainstream stores like Abercrombie & Fitch with their beautiful stick-figure models dressed half-naked? Can we go far enough to say that the reason is closer to home, as in from parents and teachers? But most importantly, when does this stop? And what is going to be done about it?

After Massachusetts native Pheobe Prince hung herself on January 14, 2010, eyes were opened to the insecure and lonely lives of those bullied in school. Her pain was deep enough at 15 years old that she’d rather take her own life than continue the way it was. And the events only continued this year with the suicide of 11-year-old Georgia native, Jaheem Herrera. His suicide was again linked to severe school bullying after he was repeatedly teased and threatened by his classmates. Though these are not the only instances of teen suicide caused by bullying, they are the most recent stories soaking up a lot of attention and outrage.

But even after the repeated severity of these bullying cases, they are not going anywhere, and it seems as though nothing is being done about them. In a recent study by UCLA, one in four young teens are being bullied in some way. Many have been advocating a zero-tolerance stand against bullying in schools, though it has yet to be officially instated in all school facilities. This policy needs to be a mandated law that must be followed in schools all over the country that enacts a severe punishment to those bullying others. Perhaps then we will see a decrease in teen suicides and bullying.

Nicole Rodriques

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3 Responses

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  1. extremedancer14 said, on April 14, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    This post made me re-think the situation that we as Americans have within our public, and even private, schools. Hatred towards one another for our differences is, I believe, not increasing or decreasing, but staying at a dangerous level. This has to change. I think perhaps the major problem is that these children are not being educated on these issues, which is an essential aspect to acceptance. Our society and culture is still so beyond teaching these children the ways of homosexual life styles, for example, and other such issues at hand, perhaps because our society still frowns on those who are not apart of the ideal, stereotypical norm. We also frown upon the things we don’t completely understand, and what we don’t understand scares us silly. To me, the solution is quite simple: Demand education of such issues in school and perhaps acceptance is something that is an inevitable reality for America.
    Kristi Martin, ENGL459Q, April 14th 2010, Post #6

  2. wtravisumd said, on April 21, 2010 at 12:44 am

    While I understand that these children were bullied, and I accept that their being bullied led to their suicides. I feel like making the leap from bullying to suicide is too much. I see the situation this way:
    1. The bullying contributed/enhanced an underlying problem (or even sparked a problem) that the child failed to deal with. Or
    2. The bullying was more than bullying; it was harassment, assault, threats, etc.

    I do not consider bullying to be more than an attack on ego or self-esteem. So if it was more, then they were victims of more than bullying.

    I don’t know where I’m going with this… maybe just thinking that there is always more to what is on the surface.

  3. iTerp said, on April 25, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    I completely agree — this social acceptance of bullying is absolutely ridiculous and must be stopped. In reading a lot of these recent articles, even sociologists and psychologists have been characterizing these “extreme” cases as “worse than your average bullying and high school drama.” EXCUSE ME, WHAT?! This statement sends the message that “average” bullying tactics are acceptable and are non-issues. This is the gateway to the bullying we are seeing today —

    To qualify bullying in levels allows bullying to perpetuate. A zero-tolerance policy of any act that subjugates or singles out an individual/group must be enforced.

    The bullying that we are seeing today is happening right under the eyes and ears of teachers and administrators. They should be held accountable for any wrong that is being done while the students are in their jurisdiction. But I do not mean to say that it is solely the fault of teachers and administrators — parents and the students themselves need to take accountability for their actions. We are not dealing with kindergartners that do not have the full mental capacity to understand harm and hurt; we are talking about nearly grown adults, who while yes, may still be growing and maturing, they still know right from wrong.

    This “Mean Girls” cycle of protecting the strong and popular is literally killing our youth. Reading Phoebe Prince’s story does make me wonder though…we saw an outburst of media coverage and condemnation for this middle-class, white, heterosexual girl. How much of a backlash would happen for a black, male homosexual? We need to send a clear message: bullying is wrong, in all shapes and forms, and students/families/teachers and administrators will be held to the full extent of the law when found guilty.


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