Bullying doesn’t end after high school

Julia Simenz, Staff Writer

The term ‘bullying’ can be used to describe a form of aggressive behavior in which someone purposefully inflicts physical or emotional harm on another person. From home and privacy, to school and the workplace, bullying occurs everywhere. This act has been going on since the beginning of time, now the only difference is how society chooses to react to it.

Sonia Poulton from the Daily Mail said studies show that, “9 out of 10 children have experienced bullying in schools.”

This month on Nov. 15, a young boy from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, took his own life after being bullied in the classroom. Fourteen year-old Quentin Espinoza, dealt with years of bullying prior to his passing, and had just started as a new student at Glen Hills Middle School.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that girls were commenting on his social media posts saying, “I hope you die,” and after, “I’m glad you’re gone because I don’t have to look at your ugly face anymore.”

This tragedy was eye opening for both staff and students at GHMS, and the community as a whole. Many fail to realize that words have the ability to be as dangerous as bullets.

Sherri Gordon from the ‘Live Well’ organization said that, “bullying does not only occur when children are young but it does not end.” Gordon follows by sharing that bullying within college campuses is on the rise and the only way to prevent it from continuing is to take action.

Unlike elementary school, many college students face bullying without the support of nearby family and friends. Bullying is not only taking place in the classroom, but can also occur in the comfort of one’s own home with a roommate, or even a family member. Many bully victims often feel alone and fail to receive the help that they need. As a community, we need to do better.

Some may ask how they can help, or what steps they need to take to lead to prevention. According to a UCLA psychology study, 70.6 percent of teens have seen bullying occur in their schools. But if someone intervenes, the bullying stops within 10 seconds. Bullies tend to hunt their prey by looking for signs of weakness, such as lonesome peers or other signs of low self-esteem.

Therefore, befriend those who look alone and stand up to those who distribute the hate. It is never okay to sit in silence. Nobody’s words or actions should ever be enough to take away one’s happiness and us as bystanders can be the difference.

Additionally, research from scholars at University of California-Davis found that approaches to bullying and harassment have a better chance of success if bystanders, who make up the vast majority, are the focus of efforts to shift social norms. Hence, why as a community it is crucial to be observant and stand up for what is right.

A victim of bullying is never alone. Madison College is filled with students and staff that care. Every human’s life is important, and no individual can take that away. No act of kindness however small is ever wasted. Just as Mark Twain said, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”