“It is sad that people can go through so much in their lives and then come to school and have to deal with people bullying them for how they dress or look,” writes Malachi Greathouse in the student newspaper at Chester High School in Illinois.
Malachi mentions a friend’s suicide after bullying: “Honestly, suicide is not the answer. People have so much to live for and so much to see in life, but people take their own lives because they’re getting bullied. People need to see the positive and stop putting hate in other people. All it’s doing is bringing people down, making people feel like they’re not good enough or not meant to be part of something. Positivity is the key.”
Indeed, about 20 percent of US students ages 12–18 report that they have experienced bullying, and the approach recommended in the student report is an essential component of dealing with bullying. Bullying, a form of hate, comes in many forms, from physical to psychological to emotional. A bully might say mean things, grab your stuff, make fun of you, or exclude you from certain groups. They may also threaten you or try to make you do something you don’t want to do.
Whatever the modus operandi, bullying is a big deal because it can make you feel hurt, scared, sick, lonely, embarrassed, and sad.
- Avoid the bully as much as possible.
- Be confident in who you are and stand tall.
- Get a buddy and be a buddy.
- Don’t be a bully back.
Malachi adds a little something about the last one, writing about the Golden Rule, “If you treat people with respect, then they should treat you with respect. To some people, that goes in one ear and out the other. [Bullying] doesn’t bother me because people can say stuff to me and I know what’s true and what’s not.
“Look at Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” Malachi concluded. “He was bullied because his nose lit up red, but he didn’t let anything get to him, and then [the bullying] stopped once he led Santa’s sleigh.”
Whatever direction bullying may take you on your journey through youth, the final piece of advice we might note is the universal recommendation to tell a trusted adult, so you realize you’re not alone. Many caring adults who work with schools and other organizations are trained to help kids cope with bullying in all forms.