Bullying Awareness Month Begins

A. Guo, A. Rudolph, and T. Rangaraju

October is National Bullying Awareness Month, and a good time to reflect on this difficult topic. To start the conversation, The Gator’s Eye has interviewed both staff and students willing to share some of their feelings and experiences.

To start, what is bullying and how does it affect us? According to Wake County Public Schools, bullying is when there are aggressive signs of behavior shown repetitively to a person in a form that is either written, electronic, verbal, or physical. This is experienced by one out of every five students aged 12-18, as stated by DoSomething. This statistic directly correlates with students at Green Level High School, who mostly fit right in the middle, between the ages of 14-16. 

So what are the students’ opinions on the subject? Green Level Freshman, Ella Park, says that it’s important to spread bullying awareness so “people who have been bullied are not ignored and they feel heard. It’s something that should be dealt with, but dealt with sensitively because many people are going through being bullied or bullying.” When people are bullied and others act like it isn’t that big of a deal, victims may begin to feel like they don’t matter and should stay quiet about their experiences. 

We need to make sure that we continue to advocate for bullying awareness so that no one will feel alone. Green Level Sophomore student Cody Cross thinks that bullying “is a very bad thing for the victim, which can result in hurt feelings, loss of social life, and possibly even self-harm.”

The students also brought up ideas as to what you should do when you are bullied. Park says, “Talking to a trusted adult is the best way to go. Make them aware of the situation. The longer you wait, the worse it will get.” If you are being bullied right now, Green Level encourages that you don’t wait it out. It will just get harder as time goes by. 

But why are there bullies in the first place, and is there any reason behind their unkind actions? Principal Mrs. Summers told us her own story. “I was a mean girl in middle school,” she said. The reasons behind her actions were from her insecurities, “Because I hated myself so much, I decided to pick on other people. It was the only control I had.” Cross replies similarly, “Bullies feel bad about themselves, so they make fun of other people to make themselves feel better.”  

There are numerous things you can do to help spread awareness about this month. One idea proposed by Mrs. Summers, was to hang up positive sticky notes and reminders around the school whether that be in bathrooms, on lockers, or on the walls. She says, “I love positive words. I love it when we choose kindness. Say hello, good morning, thank you, it makes you feel good.”

Another way to help take a stand against bullying is by simply being there in times of need for the person being bullied. You can show great acts of kindness just by standing up for them or simply talking to them. Mrs. Summers expands on this idea, “I’m scared it is going be too easy to hate in the future. The momentum when we hate is powerful, so the good people have to rise because that’s what we deserve.”

There are also days presented throughout October in which you can show your support in anti-bullying by wearing a certain color of clothing. One that is coming up is on Monday, October 7th which is World Bullying Prevention Day, and the color to wear is blue. Even though it’s picture day if you would like to help the fight against hostile behavior, wear blue to school!

If you are willing to follow throughout the month, other notable dates are October 15th, Disability Awareness Day, when you can wear purple, and October 23rd, Unity Day, when you can wear orange.

Bullying is a crucial topic that can affect the lives of many people whether they are the bullies or the victims. It can affect someone’s mental, emotional, and physical health, and lead to social isolation. To stop bullying, all we need to do is show a little empathy and consideration. We have to start spreading kindness to the people that need it the most.