Bullying brings detriment to students


Feature photo by Avantika Khatri

Caedmon West

[dropcap style=”flat” size=”5″]S[/dropcap]choolyard bullying has taken on a new meaning in recent years with tragic results hitting close to home. A middle school girl named Rylie Wagner in Hallsville, MO took her life April 4 in what her mom told ABC news was, “almost certainly bullying related.”
So often when bullying happens, it is not public. Such was the case with Wagner.
“Rylie was one of those girls that was smiley,” Hallsville senior Alex Wimer said, “and no one could ever know that anything is wrong. This came as a shock to everyone who knew her and is devastating to the people of Hallsville.”
Four months earlier, a similar incident occurred in Glasgow, MO. Kenny Suttner, who was a 17-year-old junior, took his life. A Howard County jury recommended that his former manager at the Fayette Dairy Queen, Harley Branham, be indicted for felony involuntary manslaughter. Both the Glasgow school district and Dairy Queen were charged with neglect in training employees on how to deal with harassment.
While RBHS senior Zach Reichert hasn’t seen such harsh attacks here in Columbia, he does say he has observed people being made fun of.
“The only bullying that I’ve ever witnessed at RBHS stems from the men’s show choir department,” said Reichert, although he said he loves being part of Show Choir. “Being a guy and enjoying singing doesn’t look the best in the eye of the public.”
Bullying also affects the families and friends of those involved. RBHS senior Nick Alicea moved to Columbia during his sophomore year and experienced being the odd man out.
[quote]“As someone who has been the new kid, I felt the effects of bullying. I can’t believe schools aren’t cracking down on this yet,” Alicea said. “Kids should not be taking their own life because of problems at school.[/quote] Having faced being the new kid at a high school, my family was constantly worried about me and how I was fitting in at my school.”
RBHS crisis counselor Lesley Thalhuber said she, too, worries about the way some students treat one another.
“Kids are afraid to talk about bullying issues,” she said. “The students have a ‘snitches get stitches’ mentality, and that scares people away from coming to seek help. When students do come to us, however, finding the correct way of handling the situation is very vital.”
Nearly one out of every three students reported being bullied in some way during their time in high school, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. RBHS senior Brock Davis said he has been one of these victims of bullying.
“This number can decrease if we simply implement a strong force against bullying,” Davis sad. “Administrations in schools across the world need to join forces and come up with a plan to ultimately bring bullying to an end.”
While the term bullying isn’t illegal, there are laws in place that are set their to protect students from emotional trauma at school. All 50 states contain anti-bullying legislation, but regardless of laws on the books, Alicea said students and schools must take responsibility.
“Kids need to be protected inside of their schools. This is where we come to learn and enjoy time with our peers,” Alicea said, “not somewhere where we should be afraid to walk through the halls because of the actions of our peers.”
Have you experienced any bullying at school? Let us know in the comments below.