Okay, I want to write about something that really, really pisses me off: bullying, and how schools deal with it. The other day I got on Instagram and I saw that my cousin (we’ll just call her my cousin for simplicity — she’s actually the daughter of my dad’s second cousin. So whatever that makes her) had taken a screenshot of another Instagram account. The person had taken another girl’s photos from her personal Instagram account and had written “whore” and “slut” over them, and their user name used this girl’s name and called her a slut.
I was furious when I saw this. I study bullying a lot — because of stuff that happened with my younger sister when she was in middle school and high school, it really infuriates me, and I want to help find some way to make it stop. Bullying has grown and morphed as we’ve gained more technology, with kids using anything and everything that they can in order to hurt others. Instagram is no exception to that, but this was the first time that I had seen it firsthand. There were some of the girl’s friends on the account defending her and reporting it to Instagram Police, but it’s still up. It’s been reported probably fifty times and it’s still there, open for everyone to see and open for the person to keep humiliating her. But it’s not even Instagram and it’s lack of action that’s pissed me off the most.
No, what infuriates me is the girl’s school. I’m just the type of person who can’t let stuff like this go — I figure it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and that the school should know what’s going on. I found the Facebook account of the girl being bullied and found her school. I then called them, wanting to at least let someone know what was going on. I got transfered seven times. No one knew what to do with this report of bullying, especially cyber bullying (a lot of them acted like they had never heard of it, and maybe they hadn’t!). I started out in the main office, then I was transfered to the academic office, then a specific person in the academic office, then back to the main office, then to the guidance office…and so on. I eventually reached a man who I assume was some sort of an administrator. He was super nice…but he honestly had no idea what to do. I gave him all of the information about the page, e-mailed him the link, and told him that I knew that there was no way to find out from the page who had created it, but that I just wanted someone in the school system to know that this was going on, and maybe poke around. He told me he would try, and that was the end of that conversation. Again, super nice, but pretty clueless on what to do.
Why do schools not have some system in place to record incidences like this? Why do they not have a system of action in place to deal with this “new” cyber bullying? People wonder why bullying is so rampant in schools, and why it goes unnoticed or ignored for so long — this is why. There’s no system. They get reports and probably nothing happens with those reports. The bullying continues unabated, and with worse consequences. If I were an administrator in a school, I would create a system that allows bullying incidences to be logged and tracked — that way, they can see if reports point to one student getting bullied regularly, or one student doing the bullying all the time. At the moment, it’s chaos. Sure, now this one guy knows what’s been happening, but he’ll probably never do anything with the information. It’ll probably sit on his desk as the bullying continues, ignored.
My only consolation in this incident is that at least the girl being bullied has a lot of friends backing her up and defending her on that account. That’ll give her some emotional protection from the bully/bullies who made the account. But the sad thing is that a lot of victims don’t have all of those friends defending them. They go it alone and struggle to keep their heads up in the face of such vicious prodding. We’ve seen over and over again what the outcome of that can be. They get to the point where they don’t want to live in a world where they’re constantly the victim. And that can lead to a few outcomes, most of them not good. We’ve seen a lot of kids take their own lives. We’ve seen kids take the lives of other kids. But we’ve also seen kids start amazing programs to help others who are bullied like themselves, but they are more rare. Often, the damages to those kids aren’t physical — they’re emotional, and that damage stays with them forever. It’s time to do something to stop bullying, and to actually help these kids. I only hope that schools wake up soon, and that it doesn’t happen because of another mass shooting or suicide, because they’re not doing enough to stop it now. We need to wake up to this problem and fix it before that can happen again, because we’re not doing enough.
Everyone should watch this video with its spoken poem. I cried, it was so beautiful and powerful. It’s time to find a way to end bullying: