STOP THE BULLYING – Once again we have had children killing other children at school. Once again we are told it was because of bullying. Once again we are presented with the dilemma of how to stop the bullying. Let’s start by asking how can we “Stop the bullying?”

Bullying is more often verbal than physical. It is taunting, derogatory remarks, teasing and making a young one feel inferior, or threatened. Bullying can escalate to pushing, shoving or giving wedgies. Bullying does not always come from outside the home. I’m very aware of a home that was rife with bullying during my childhood and teens. Remarks about bedwetting were made, and a little girl felt inferior. She was shoved around and hit by a sibling, while being told that was “normal” between a brother and sister. As she grew into her teens, she began hearing how fat she was, it went on and on. Whether spoken, written or typed, bullying always begins with a word or sentence. If it is going on within our homes, then it is spilling over into schools, social events and social media sites. It has become a monumental crisis. How do we stop the bullying?

As with domestic violence and the Avon “Speak Out” campaign, we need to develop a way to reassure those who are being bullied that it is in their best interest to break their silence. There needs to be a chain of trustworthy sources to which they can go for help. We need to be sure they are safe if they do choose to disclose the fact they are being abused. Are all school guidance counselors being trained properly in how to deal with peer bullying? Is there a program in place whereby the offenders are called into accountability for their actions? The federal government has established a website to help kids who are being bullied. Celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres are reaching out to help stop the bullying. There are other sites, as well. Now it’s our responsibility to see they know about them, and get access to them.

Americans are appalled when a news report breaks that a toddler was beaten to death or thrown into a wall and left in a vegetative state at the hands of an adult abuser. Yet, little attention is usually given to teenagers posting horrendous remarks about other teens on Facebook or MySpace, also ending in the death of a young one. We seem to think it is “just kids being kids.” A young person commits suicide as a result of relentless bullying. Cyberbullying is creeping to epidemic levels. Are we watching? Are we doing something? Did anybody try to stop the bullying before that young person took their own life?

Yes, we are taken aback when there is another massacre like Columbine, such as this most recent rampage in Ohio. It always gathers our attention when bullied students snap and go on a killing spree, taking out classmates, teachers, innocent bystanders. But, it seems to pass as time goes by, except for those who suffered directly from the losses. In some cases, parents seem to be unaware that their dead child might have been one of those who were perpetrating the bullying. How can we find a way to curtail (or stop) the bullying before it reaches such a point of crisis? Where are our answers? How can we avoid the senseless and needless loss of lives? Do you have any suggestions on how we can stop the bullying?

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