OPINION: Sticks and Stones

Bullying doesn’t have to be physical to be wrong


Do you remember the smug glances you always made when she walked silently down the hallway to her next class? The cruel words you spoke behind her back? The vicious whispers you exchanged with your friends when she got on the bus?

Those same words managed to drill themselves into her mind and poison her thoughts until she lost her charm, her bliss, and her pride. She went home every day in tears, feeling like less of a person than she ever had before, wondering what she had done to deserve the endless torture that you forced onto her every day.

If only she could understand that it was never her fault. Do you understand that you broke her? You tore her down, made her feel unwanted, and stole everything from her. Because of you, she will never be the same. If only she could realize that she is beautiful, kind, and loved, and that she didn’t have to change. You did.

Can you change your heart?

You may know that 1 in 3 U.S. students say that they have been bullied in their school, and over 30% of those students say that they are bullied 3 or more times a month, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. What does that mean to you?

You might shrug it off. Maybe you don’t get bullied, so what does it matter to you?

It’s time for you to realize that everyone needs to take a stand against bullying. There are so many good ways to get involved with this ongoing issue to try to resolve it. For example, the “No Place for Hate” program at Monarch is a great place to start. Joining the program means that you want to stand up for equality, make Monarch a safer and more inclusive school, and confront discrimination.

If you don’t have the time to sign up for the program, there are a lot of simple things you can do to be a better person. Next time you think about bullying someone else, stop and consider your actions. You have nothing to gain from bullying someone, but they have so much to lose. You can rip someone apart and make them feel worthless, but what’s in it for you?

You can simply give a simple smile to someone walking to their next class to brighten their day, rather than make them feel bad about themselves. Try to resist the urge of pushing others around.

The first step to healing an unhealthy relationship is always an apology. Go up to the person you bullied, whoever they may be, and apologize to them. This doesn’t mean that you have to become their friend, but the least you could do for a previous victim of your taunting is to own up to your actions. It will make you a better person in the long run.

That being said, who are you?

Are you the bully who decides to discriminate against their peers and harm them in a physical or mental way? Are you the seemingly “innocent” bystander who chooses to hide away in the shadows instead of speaking up against bullying? Or are you the kind of person who will stand up for what’s right, even when nobody’s watching?

The choice is yours. Please, be the bigger person.

You can change your heart.