(Editor’s Note: This blog was written especially for the Humanity Project, offering a student perspective on bullying — with solid advice that is useful for both adults and youthful readers.)
BY ESTHER CALIXTE, Barry University
Growing up I personally experienced bullying. When I was in grade school I was constantly bullied by other kids because of my weight. I always told the teacher but she never believed me. The teacher always told me, “You’re big enough to defend yourself.” I was bullied verbally and sometimes physically. The kids would push me and laugh at me, and when I fell, they would tease me even more. I never told anyone else because I was too embarrassed. I always asked myself, “How can someone my size be bullied?” I was afraid all the time and I didn`t know who to go to. One day I finally told my mother and she went to the school and reported the kids and the teacher that never reported it. Speaking up helped my situation. If I had told my mother earlier, the bullying would’ve stopped. Everyone has the right to live their lives however they want to. So, here are some tips I offer for others:
- Speak up!!!!! Don`t be afraid to defend someone that you see being bullied. Speak your mind — shout if you have to, run and go get help. Go ahead, any little thing helps. Helping a victim from being bullied is saving a life. We are all responsible for everyone in this world. We must get together as a whole to stop this madness.
- Look out for the warning signs of bullying: Unexplained injuries, lost or destroyed personal items, changes in eating habits, and avoidance of school or other social situations can all be signs of bullying. Pay close attention to your friends and family because victims tend to hide warning signs due to the fact that the bully probably threatened that telling anyone will make it worse for the person being bullied.
- Never ignore the situation. If you see it, report it. You can help, believe it or not. Whenever a student feels threatened in any way, take it seriously, and assure the student that you are here for them and will help. When you don`t take the situation seriously the problem gets bigger.
- Parents, teachers, mentors, and leaders can also help stop bullying throughout the world by educating their children, students and mentees about bullying. People have the right to know what they are supposed to do when they’re being bullied. Create pep rallies in schools for anti-bullying. Creating activities can inform the victims and the bullies that something can and will be done about bullying.
- Artists and actors have taken bullying to another level in the United States. Lady Gaga once said: “I’ve been actually really very pleased to see how much awareness was raised around bullying, and how deeply it affects everyone. You know, you don’t have to be the loser kid in high school to be bullied. Bullying and being picked on comes in so many different forms”.
Bullying has become a serious matter throughout the U.S and we need people like you to speak up, stand up and help stop bullying. You never know what a little word can do in someone’s life.