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2nd Place Winner
2013 Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews - Essay Contest
Alexis Gorfine

 
A bully is an individual who uses physical or verbal violence in order to make himself or herself feel like a better, bigger person than they actually are. Children and teens that harass others need to learn civility and kindness in order to stop the suffering of the students who are being victimized. There are many ways bullying can be stopped. Spreading awareness is a very common way that teachers and students believe will stop the abuse. However, perhaps the most effective way to prevent bullying is to ensure that students feel comfortable telling their parents and teachers about any harassment that they are experiencing. In addition, students and adults can encourage kind and courteous behaviors.
 
Throughout elementary school and middle school, I have noticed that my school has talked a lot about bullying. According to stopbullying.gov, a good way to stop bullying is to,
 
“Build bullying prevention material into the curriculum and school activities.”
 
However, I don’t believe that going to classes to learn about bullying prevention is very effective. While it may help empower students to feel more confident when dealing with bullies, I don’t believe that the harassers will listen to the classes and stop bullying. If an individual is a bully, he or she is most likely not going to be following the rules or listening to adults. If the individual was listening to adults and following the rules taught in these classes in the first place, then he or she already wouldn’t be a bully.
 
In my opinion, perhaps the most effective way to stop and prevent physical and verbal abuse in schools, online, or anywhere else, is to verify that all students know that they can trust their teachers and parents to help them end any problem with bullying. By providing individuals with discreet ways to notify teachers and parents of any harassment he or she has seen or experienced, the intimidator can be stopped. This method also empowers students to speak up and feel comfortable doing so.
 
Another efficacious way to keep children and teenagers from being victimized is to confirm that all parents are setting good examples of civility. As stated by Livestrong.com,
 
“Parents serve as role models not only through direct interactions with their children, but through the examples they set with their attitude and behavior within the family and in the outside world.”
 
Children are greatly influenced by the actions of their parents. Therefore, parents must conduct themselves well and always be kind to the people around them. If parents represent themselves well, then their children will probably do the same. This method establishes good morals in a child and helps ensure that the child won’t be a bully.
 
Harassment of any type needs to be stopped. If parents promote kind behaviors to their children, and schools and parents ensure that students feel comfortable expressing any concerns pertaining to physical or verbal abuse, bullying is a problem that we can solve. Together, we can take a stand against bullies.
 
Sources of Information:
 
"Effects of Bullying." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013.
http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/effects/index.html.

"Importance of Parents As Role Models." LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2013. http://www.livestrong.com/article/110276-importance-parents-role-models.

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