The Reality of Bullying at Lotus

November 7, 2018

Now, you may be wondering, “Why is this person writing about bullying?” My question to you is “Why isn’t everyone?” Sure, schools all over the country mention bullying during Bullying Prevention month, but how many of you have stopped to actually think about its significance. How many of us are actually the bully?

There is a difference between simply “teasing” or “playing around” with someone and bullying them. Bullying is when teasing is repetitive and there is an intent to hurt someone mentally or physically.

According to The National Center for Educational Statistics, more than 1 out of every 5 students have reported being bullied. Bullying is a serious matter as the effects can be tragic for both the target and the bully.

The Center for Disease Control reports that,  “Students who bully others, are bullied, or witness bullying are more likely to report high levels of suicide-related behavior than students who report no involvement in bullying.”

After all this, you may still be skeptical about just how serious bullying can be, so I decided to present something more than statistics: the stories of actual Lotus students and teachers.

The first person I interviewed was Ms. Khadija, a high school English teacher who has worked at Lotus for three years. I also interviewed two other students who currently attend Lotus. Understandably, they asked to remain anonymous, so their names and grade levels will not be provided. 

 

Teacher Interview: 

Q: How long ago were you a target of bullying?

A: “I was bullied all throughout Elementary school.”

Ms. Khadija as a first-grade student.

Q: Although you were very young when it happened, do you think it still impacts you today?

A: “I was a very shy child, which might explain why I was an easy target for bullies, but I think I would have overcome that shyness a lot sooner if I hadn’t been bullied. For a long time, it really impacted my self-confidence and social interactions.

I used to get extremely anxious about doing things that are effortless for most people, including simply talking to someone I didn’t know or being at a party.

It also affected my grades and my school work. I started to hate school and dreaded being there. I remember I used to get an upset stomach and even throw up from how nervous I was each day before school. ”

Q: How were you bullied?

A: “I was left out and excluded from games. At first it was mostly verbal, but it did get physical a few times. I remember being at a school picnic when one of the bullies chased me, pushed me down, and then poured water all over my clothes.”

Q: Why do you think it’s important to talk about bullying?

A: “I think it is important because when you are being bullied you feel hopeless and start to feel bad about yourself. You start to think maybe you deserve to be treated badly, but nobody deserves that.

I think that if we talk about bullying and bring awareness, it would change a lot of things. That’s what happened to me. The bullying didn’t stop until my parents finally found out about it. For a long time, I hid it from my parents. I think I was embarrassed about it since they were always telling me to stand up for myself and be more vocal, but I was shy and everything about school scared me back then. I didn’t want them to think I was weak.

Then one day they saw I had a mark by my eye. I had to explain to them that another student was responsible. After that, my parents intervened and it turned out to be the best thing that happened. They had meetings with the parents of the bullies and my teachers. People made sure that no one treated me poorly anymore, and I started to feel safer at school.”

Q: Do you think bullying happens here at Lotus?

A: “Definitely. However, I think the bullies at our school may not realize they fit the profile. I think the bullies tell themselves and others that they are just joking around when they make fun of someone, and the victims of this so-called “joking” try to play off how much it really hurts them. I think that many times the “roasting” goes too far, and the culture of calling out “snitches” is a way to keep those being bullied from speaking out.”

Q: Do you think we can ever become a bullying-free school?

A: “I think we can actually. If we create a community where everyone is informed and stands up for each other, we can speak out and send the message that there is no tolerance for bullying.”

 

Student Interview 1:

Q: How long ago were you a target of bullying?

A: “When I was in 6th grade.”

Q: How were you bullied?

Snapchat logo

Many students are cyberbullied. This image is taken from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/07/14/facebook-snapchat-bullying-campaign-ignored-children/.

A: “She’d call me names and send me messages on Snap-chat about how ugly I was. It was a really bad time.”

Q: How did that affect your everyday life?

A: “ I’d hide behind hoodies and I’d cover half of my face when people would talk to me. I didn’t like who I was. I am still trying to get back my confidence to this day.”

Q: Do you think it still impacts you today? 

A: “Well, I still have insecurities with my face, but I am definitely stronger than I was then.”

Q: Why do you think it’s important to talk about bullying?

A: “It’s important because everyone should be happy to come to school. No one should be scared to come or make excuses to not come to school like I used to. School should be a fun and safe place for everyone.”

 

Student Interview 2:

Q: How long ago were you a target of bullying?

A: I was bullied at my old school during the entire 6th grade year.

Q: How were you bullied?

A: People would call me names and push me around in the hallways. I was short at the time and they claimed they were just patting my head, but it really felt like they were pushing and shoving my head.

I didn’t tell teachers because they would just tell me to ignore it and the other kids would eventually stop. I finally told my parents and they transferred me.

Q:  How did that affect your everyday life?

A: I didn’t really have many friends. I was lonely a lot of the time. When they bullied me I would take my anger out on my younger siblings, which I feel bad about now. I blamed myself for not standing up for myself.

Q: Do you think it still impacts you today? 

A: Thankfully, no. I still feel sad when I look back on that time, but I’ve decided to look forward to what’s ahead and let those things go. I think that the bullies themselves were probably lonely or insecure, and I feel bad for them too.

Photo credit: CJS*64
Students who are bullied may feel afraid to speak up and get help. 
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode. This image has not been altered or changed.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to talk about?

A: Because nowadays bullying is getting out of control. When a bully finds a target, they stick to that person and bully them until something really bad happens. Also, a lot of the time kids who are getting bullied don’t’ share, they keep it a secret. I think they should share it because it might affect them more than they realize, and the bully may do the same thing to other kids.

Q: Do you think bullying happens here at Lotus?

A: Well, there was an incident in the hallway today. A kid was crying really badly. I asked a girl standing by him what happened and she said some people were judging him because he “acts like a girl.” I think that people should not judge others because they are unique in anyway. There is always someone who loves that person.

Q: Do you think we can ever become a bullying-free school?

A: I think if we try we can. I think if we talk to students and how it hurts people it may make them realize how it hurts others. Allow the bully and the person being bullied to talk openly to each other and understand where each other comes from.

As you can see, bullying is everywhere and even at our “bullying-free” school.  People you might see everyday, whether it be a student or teacher, may suffer from past or present bullying experiences.  You may even be a bully. Always be wary of what you say to people, because you never know how much your words can affect someone.  Let’s try to bring awareness to bullying together and make sure everyone feels welcome and safe to be who they are at our school.

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