Bullying can seem like an endless problem, one that society will struggle with as long as there are schools and student interaction.
However, there are ways to "bully-proof" schools and educate students about bullying. With enough effort and education, bullying can be stopped. Here are five tips for shutting this problem down:
1. If you can't fix it, alert someone who can
In elementary school, when something was going wrong and no one knew what to do, the teacher was always alerted. In high school, the same principle is still applicable.
Teachers aren't the omniscient beings of wonder and grace that they were in elementary schools, but they're still older and wiser, not to mention professionals. There are conferences, magazines and scholarly research for teachers exclusively about bullying. In short, they know what to do, so let them know when you see bullying. Let the adults do the finger-wagging and lecturing. Keep telling and seeking help until someone listens.
2. Power to the people
* Eight-five percent of students are bystanders, neither bullies nor those who are bullied, according to "Bully-Proofing Your School." Just as accepting bullying can make it more prolific, shunning it will help make it less prevalent.
* Calling a bully out is the best way to stop them from continuing their tyrannical reign. Bullies feed off the power bystanders give them when the bystanders chose to do nothing. By not taking any action against a bully, the actions of the bully are being reaffirmed and validated.
3. Be a friend, or at least friendly, to everyone
It was easy to remember that everyone was friends with everyone in elementary school because none of us knew there was a difference between anyone. Today, having a bosom-buddy relationship with every member of the student body is not necessary, but being able to talk with someone outside of the normal circle of friends isn't always that bad. Having friends in multiple social circles can make the time spent with each friend more valuable and enjoyable.
4. Safety in numbers
In the movie "Land Before Time," all the older long-necks know that there is "safety in numbers" when the herd is in danger. The same advice is applicable when one of your friends or acquaintances is at risk to be bullied. Bullies are far less likely to approach a group of people than they are to approach an individual, especially when that bully knows their victim will have friends around.
5. Above all, golden rule
No one likes to be treated rudely, be intimidated, or gossiped about, so why would you do it to someone else? Treat others the way that you would hope that others would treat you. Is there more that needs to be said?
With so many cultures, lifestyles and ways of thinking driving society into the future, one thing holding innovation and progression of the human race back is the archaic practice of bullying. As teens, there's much that can be done on the high school level to deter and discourage bullying.
Even though it may seem like a never-ending problem that only adults can fix, teens can help just as much as adults in the effort to eradicate bullying from the public education system.