A child should not be afraid to get on a school bus or go to school. Teens should not be hesitant to use the Internet for fear of being ridiculed. And no one should be teased and tormented so much that he or she would consider suicide over living life.
But these are occurrences that regularly happen in this country because of bullying and cyberbullying. The problem exists everywhere, including McHenry County.
This week, the Northwest Herald concluded a four-day special project on bullying. The purpose of the project was to shed light on the issue and provide information that could lead to solutions.
One thing our project made clear is that it will take various groups of people to help stop bullying from taking place. The solution starts with parents, teachers, school administrators, coaches and experts who have studied bullying.
It also starts with children and teens. Those who are being bullied need to tell an authority figure what is happening to them. And they need to stand up for themselves when it is safe to do so.
The individuals who bully also need to recognize the pain they are inflicting on others. Of course, that is easier said than done. When groups of students are asked whether any one of them is a bully, few – if any – hands go up. This is an indication that many people might not even recognize the fact that they are bullies. More awareness is needed here.
Students need to evaluate how they are treating others and make adjustments if they recognize their actions are hurting their peers. In addition, kids and teens should stand up for their fellow students if they see that bullying is taking place.
What no one should do is ignore the issue. Bullying is happening, and the results can be deadly. Repeated provocation has led to some students committing suicide. This needs to be stopped.
By banding together, bullying can be prevented. Talking about the issue will help. But it will take action on the part of many, for a true change to take place.