Bullying Is a Grave Public Health Issue


Our school system has plenty of faults. Aside from the absurdly high education and textbook prices, the United States school system has a very large number of flaws affecting the future of the children they are paid to teach. And these issues range from ignorance and complacency to a lack of interest and compassion.

One of the problems to affect the school environment the most is bullying. The practice is as old as time, but the educational system just doesn’t seem to get the myriad of complications that can arise from it. And it most certainly hasn’t learned anything useful about how to best approach the situation.

The current go-to solutions are to either completely ignore the fact that a child is bullying another, or to have one or both of the parties suspended. With such brilliant efforts in place, it’s understandable why most bullying either goes unreported or it ends up ruining the lives of both children involved.

Even more so, bullying often tends to completely destroy trust in the education system, as both the bully and the bullied are shown that they are not important, that their actions and lives are not important, and that the only thing that matters to schools is following some old, outdated rules.

According to a new report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, bullying is a grave public health issue. It tends to destroy not only childhoods, but entire lives, as traumas that aren’t properly addressed can have lasting effects over an entire lifetime.

Referring to the zero-tolerance policies that suspend students for bullying, professor and associate dean at the University of Virginia Catherine Bradshaw said that they only make matters worse. Nothing is usually solved, as officials usually ignore the problem so as not to get the bully suspended or they suspend the aggressor without actually having a serious talk.

There’s no evidence that they are impactful in a positive way. They can actually do more harm than good and in fact don’t provide the skill training or replacement behaviors for youth that are suspended or expelled.

Schools could do so many things to prevent bullying, but they generally don’t because of a lack of funds or because of blissful ignorance. Most schools don’t even address the situation, much less talk to their students openly about it. But that has no way of making the problem go away.

Usually responsible for poor grades, as well as a generalized feeling of anxiety and depression over the course of the lives of the parties involved, bullying has dropped a bit over the past few years. But it’s the educational system’s responsibility to address it and to make sure that no more students have their lives pointlessly ruined by something that could have been fixed by an open conversation.

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