Bullying is more than just a surface level problem


Photo illustration by Harmony Reilly

In this day and age, people are more exposed to bullying than they ever were before. And, yet, some still believe bullying isn’t an actual problem in their schools. Why? According to the National Education Association, It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.

Regardless of if it’s peer pressure to say something to get a laugh out of friends or not, the simple fact of the matter is that bullying is not cool. It’s not cute, it’s not fun, and it certainly isn’t something to be joked about. If someone is so scared, so terrified of going to school because of another person, what does that say about us? It’s more than a simple tease; bullying is when you say something, intentionally or unintentionally, that harms another individual. As decent human beings, we should be raising each other up, not pulling each other down. Hair color, gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, general preferences — they don’t matter. And nor should they. Humanity is said to be the most intelligent of all the species on Earth, so why don’t we act like it? Intelligence is realizing we are more powerful as a whole than as individuals.

According to the National Education Association, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying. Can you imagine? Dropping out of school because someone is tormenting you past your breaking point?

It needs to stop. Bullying is not a thing of the past. Just because you don’t see it, or because you choose to ignore it, does not mean it’s not happening. Bullying is such a vague term. You’re making fun of that girl’s outfit, because it’s not something you would choose? Bullying. You’re being a jerk to that guy simply because he likes something you don’t? Bullying.

Bullying exists in schools, and it exists online. Joking is one thing, if both sides understand it’s a joke. It becomes bullying if something is said online that hurts another person. Mentally or emotionally. Suicide? Not a joke. Rape? Not a joke. Not all things are jokes, and that’s what our culture has perpetuated as normal. So many people of today’s society treat bullying as normal. They claim that because you “put yourself online,” you also need to “expect to be bullied.”

That is not how life should work.

We all want the same thing, right? Life. Love. We all want to be respected. How can we dare ask for respect if all we do is hurt one another? We’re different. We need to celebrate that, not condemn it. It’s our differences that matter, not our similarities. And that’s what we as a whole need to realize.

We are different. And that’s great; it’s fantastic, even. We need to support one another, not fight to rip each other down.