Observing the bully issue from the front lines

Since it was recently Anti Bullying Day I figured I would stray from my regular sports-oriented stories to write a little bit about bullying.

Anti-Bullying Day is recognized throughout the country, but people may wonder if bullying is an actual problem in a small town like Smithers.

As a student in grade 12 I’ve now lived through most of my school life, and I believe most bullying happens between secondary school students. Personally, I do think that bullying is a problem in the high school here.

I think that we live in a society where jokes and teasing are somewhat normal but there is a thin line between joking and bullying. I actually think that I have been a victim of bullying before; I’ve definitely been brought to tears by other girls saying mean things about me, but teenage girls are said to be pretty nasty at times. I don’t hold grudges, and consider the situation ancient history; it probably just made me stronger.

I also think I may have in fact been the bully a couple of times; like I said teenage girls can be nasty. People may come off as a bully without any intention of doing so. It is so easy to say something mean as a joke, and it is so easy for someone to get hurt by words that you don’t mean.

As a senior in high school I don’t get bullied — the senior class is pretty civilized — but I can’t walk down the hallways at school without seeing someone get pushed or pulled around by their shirt or being called a name that is clearly not their own.

Some kids seem to think its okay to act like animals at school; the truth is it’s not. You might think it’s funny to call people names or to push them in walls and lockers, or even throw them to the ground but listen to yourself; is that how people should be treated, is that how you would like to be treated? You might think that it’s all just a joke, but is it a joke to the person on the other end?

I found some statistics that may shock people. Did you know suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year? For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 per cent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost seven per cent have attempted it. Bully victims are between two-to-nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University.

A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.

Think about it the next time you call someone a name or push them. Do you really want to be contributing to those numbers?

Kaeli Ayers writes a semi-regular Twenty Below column on the teen perspective of life in the valley.