The Bullies and the Bullied – A National Epidemic

October 27, 2010 at 9:35 am 1 comment

The study of the “Ethics of American Youth” released Tuesday surveyed more than 40,000 high school students. The survey reported that half of all high school students say they have bullied someone in the past year, with nearly as many saying they have been the victims of bullying.

A study by the non-profit Josephson Institute of Ethics also found that one-third of all high school students say that violence is a big problem at their school, and nearly one in four say they do not feel very safe there.

The issue of harassment gained prominence this year after a spate of suicides by students who were being bullied. President Obama has even stepped forward, calling for greater awareness of the bullying epidemic, saying the nation must “dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.”

This past Tuesday also featured The U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, holding a national press conference announcing guidance to schools on handling bullying and discriminatory harassment.

Earlier this month, Duncan released a statement about anti-gay bullying in response to to a trend of recent suicides — particularly Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University freshman who took his life in September:

This is a moment where every one of us — parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience —needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it’s students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop.”

Duncan’s statements and planned press conference also comes at the time that the local story of Cassandra Morris was published. Morris dropped out of Ogemaw Heights High School earlier this month because she said she couldn’t handle the bullying from students for being a lesbian. Her bullying went beyond the walls of the school.

So with all these cries for justice, cries for help, occurring this week, the question remains: will something actually be done? Bullying is a crisis that is always discussed, but never really tackled. Maybe now that the harsh spotlight of the media is highlighting every painful angle progress might actually be made? The White House has even gone as far as to say that it would host a conference next year on preventing bullying and harassment. But is this soon enough?

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Entry filed under: Attitude, Cyberbullying, Education, OneSeventeen Media, Relationships, School, Teens, Tweens. Tags: , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Amy Looper  |  October 27, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Great post! I’m encouraged to see the DoEd stepping up and speaking out against this troubling trend. Based on what I hear from kids in our network, there is no one quick fix. It will take a combination of various efforts that include a variety of proven solutions and support at many levels.

    Reply

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