According to the Miriam -Webster dictionary bullying is defined as to inflict physical or emotional harm upon another (Factors of Bullying, 2015). There are several reasons why children, teens, adults bully one another. Many have depression, sadness, loneliness, have been abused, or victims of being bullied as well. The facts of bullying and suicide are alarming. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. There are about 4,400 deaths per year according to CDC. There are 100 suicide attempts for every single suicide. According to CDC, 14 percent of high school students have considered taking their lives and 7 percent have actually attempted suicide. Studies from Yale University, have said that between 2-9 bully victims are more likely to have suicidal ideation compared to students who do not get bullied. In Britain a study found that young women at least half of them are related to bullying, ages of 10 to 14-year-old girls are at an even higher risk for suicide. The ABC reported that 30 percent of students are the bullies or victims of it, and 160,000 kids stay home to avoid being bullied.
The program I propose is to help reduce bullying within schools, and eventually communities. With the help of the school staff such as teachers, counselors, principals, and the help of parents and students we can battle the high rates of bullying. The resources I believe that could help to increase awareness in the schools. Teach youth coping/life skills, and help focus on positive and empowering messages that help to build resilience and acceptance of differences in themselves and others. If we start to train children at an early age, we can help develop coping and problem solving skills. Moreover, increase their social intelligence and empathy, this will help adopt positive mental health and pro-social behavior. Training will be needed for all staff who will be working with students. Educate staff about vulnerable populations and a suitable way to mediate in bullying situations. Include families, children who act out through bullying others may be trying to blend in or reacting to stress, abuse, or some other type of problem within the home. Schools focus on punishment and proper consequences which is regularly a part of a school’s response. Instead of using punishment as a form of discipline we must move past this by providing mental health services and additional support. We must focus on getting families professional support that is needed to make a constructive change and prevent future anguish, which will lead to depression and suicidal ideation.
School Based Mentoring a great program known as the Buddy Program that school boards can integrate in schools. The Buddy program has already been integrated at the Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale schools. Adult volunteers from the community mentor students in the school setting for one hour a day throughout the school year. The program has the big and little buddy and what they do is play games, do arts and crafts, eat together that will help get to know each other. The volunteers will be screened, trained and case managed for the benefit of the child. Other resources that the school can provide is online prevention information. One website that helps parents, and teachers identify what bullying is, signs of bullying and what one can do to prevent bullying. Other ways we can help address the issue of bullying in schools is student who resist to report bullying, schools can set up a bully hotline, and a bully box. Students are able to call in or drop notes to alert teachers of the proper staff to problem bullies. Schools can implement anti-bullying lessons and media related to bullying. Apply role playing to help teach how to handle a situation if someone is being bullied or if the student is being bullied.
Surveillance is another issue we must focus on within schools. Bullying occurs majority of the time when areas are unsupervised. For, example, recess, lunch breaks, class changes. If these areas are supervised more the incident of bullying will be less. Monitor areas such as the restrooms where a lot of times most kids are bullied. Being consistent on rules of bullying, the consequences, will reduce the amount of bullying that is going on today.
Short term goals for the program is to increase student positive attitude in school, awareness of all forms of bullying, teachers and students learn how to handle bullying. Long term goals will be increase safer schools, Increase the self-esteem of students, reduce number of children who commit suicide because of experience of bullying they go through daily. Parental involvement of children through school activities.
Bullying that leads children to commit suicide is an enormous issue students face daily. Many bullying incidents go unseen, because of the lack of training, surveillance, students afraid of reporting their problems. Manu students believe that if they do report it they will get hurt. This is a solvable problem that is why building a stronger program that enforces more training, educational resources, evidence based programs in the schools the rates of bullying and suicide will decrease.