In Carroll County Georgia, an 8-year-old girl was literally bullied into the emergency room. Third grader Aolani Dunbar wanted hair extensions, which she got. Then, at school, other students pulled on her hair to the point where her scalp ripped. She then ended up in the emergency room, and had to shave her head to prevent infection.
Has bullying gotten out of hand? Are we failing to teach our children to stand up to aggressive behavior? Are we failing to teach them to stand up for others when they are being bullied? Are we failing to teach our children that bullying is not acceptable behavior? Do we expect our schools to stop this behavior when we do not?
Bullying is not limited to children. It should not be surprising that so many children turn to aggressive behavior when they have so many great role models to follow. In adults, 35% of the U.S. workforce reports experiencing some form of workplace bullying, according to a 2010 survey.
The only way we are going to overcome widespread bullying is if we live in a culture that rejects acquiring power through intimidation and aggression. Ordinary people will have to stand up and stick their necks out for the weak. People will have to do the right thing, simply because it is right.
Human nature is curious in this regard. When a group observes a person in distress, the bystander effect tends to keep people from stepping in. Once a single person steps in to help, however, many others follow. It really only takes that one first person to buck their natural tendencies and stand up for what is right.
WSB Radio, 8-year-old Girl’s Scalp Ripped by Bullies: http://www.wsbradio.com/news/news/local/family-8-year-old-girls-scalp-ripped-bullies/nbbfK/
The Huffington Post, A Call to Action for an Education in Emotions: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diana-divecha-phd/bullying-a-call-to-action_b_4174787.html
Los Angeles Times, Anti-bullying Videos Questioned After Two Students’ Suicides: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-school-bullying-videos-20131028,0,150664.story#axzz2j92ZM6Bq
StopBullying.gov, What is Bullying? http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/
The New York Times, Online Bullies Pull Schools Into the Fray: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/28/style/28bully.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
The Boston Globe, Inside the Bullied Brain: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/11/28/inside_the_bullied_brain/
Slate, The Problem With Bully: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/bulle/2012/03/bully_documentary_lee_hirsch_s_film_dangerously_oversimplifies_the_connection_between_bullying_and_suicide_.html
Urban Martial Arts, How to Prevent Bullying Through Martial Arts: http://urbandojo.com/2010/07/15/how-to-prevent-bullying-through-martial-arts/
The Huffington Post, Teaching Kids to Fight Back Against Bullies: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/ed-samane-pro-martial-arts_n_1536521.html
American Psychological Association, School Bullying is Nothing New, But Psychologists Identify New Ways to Prevent It: http://www.apa.org/research/action/bullying.aspx
Do Something, 11 Facts About Bullying: http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-school-bullying
Psychology Today, Bullying: http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/bullying