Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Bullying can be a form of child abuse. It isnít just adults that abuse children. Children also abuse other children. Many schools have introduced no tolerance policies, hoping to prevent bullying. Sadly, it doesnít always work and there are many children that continue to endure abuse from their peers on a daily basis. Some children reluctantly go to adults at school, or their parents, for help. This doesnít mean that they are listened to necessarily, just that they make the attempt to report it. Other children will not tell anyone for fear of it worsening. The sad thing is that school personnel do not always listen to the child attempting to report it. Some adults consider it a normal thing that a child endures while growing up. No child should have to endure bullying. Period.
There are many forms of abuse that take place when bullying occurs. The bully might be threatening a child with physical harm; furthermore, they may verbally and emotionally abuse that same child. For instance, a child might be called names repeatedly and picked on. It is very difficult for a child to listen to constant name-calling. It begins to take its toll on the self-esteem of the victimized child. If the child wants to seek help to stop the abuse, the bully may threaten to beat them up.
We have all seen the television shows and movies that portray a child being bullied at school. Unfortunately, what we see on T.V. still occurs in our society to a great degree. Some children reach a point where they can no longer take the abuse from their peers. They then contemplate either hurting themselves or others, most likely those that abuse them. Itís a cycle that must be broken at the schools. Any child that is being abused will want to lash out at the bully. They will want to defend themselves on some level. The victimized child will be angry and will, most likely, be unable to express that anger in a healthy fashion. This is when the school staff must intervene and help the victimized child.
School personnel must take bullying seriously when reported to them by a student of theirs. They must talk not only with the victimized child, but the one that is doing the bullying, as well. What has had me perplexed over the years is that oftentimes the school personnel choose to meet with both the victim and the bully, at the same time. Itís as though, on some level, they hold both children accountable for the bullying, when in fact the only one that needs to be disciplined is the one perpetrating the abuse. By having a meeting with both the victim and the bully, they are only encouraging further abuse for the victim, since the bully will be tremendously upset at their being Ďtalked to.í
Part of a schoolís zero tolerance policy must include bullying on every level. Schools must take appropriate measures to end bullying. Until this happens, bullying will continue.