Bullyinghas become a commonplace practice in spite of the presence of severalmeasures put in place to control it. Bullying is defined asaggressive and unwanted behavior that occurs, in most cases, as aresult of imbalance of power between the bully and the victim(Non-Bullying 1). Statistics show that at about 20 % of the U.S.students in grade 9-12 has either experienced bullying or feelbullied while 28 % of those in grades 6-12 gave the same report(Non-Bullying 1). About 70.6 % cases of bullying occur in schools,which suggest that students are the major targets of bullies. Theformulation of effective approaches to contain the issue of bullyinghas become controversial, where the stakeholders are asking whetherthe federal or the state government should put laws into place toprevent bullying. The formulation of anti-bullying laws is among themost effective measures that will help the federal as well as thestate governments in addressing the incidents of suicide, mentalillnesses, and substance abuse.
Thelack of effective anti-bullying laws creates has created anenvironment that triggers various psychological issues. In persistentbullying culminates in suicide, especially when the bully is notpunished or warned. In the case of Jared Benjamin, who was a highschool student born in 1989, the bully managed to put the blame onJared and went scot-free (Barnes 89). Jared was bullied forapproximately eight minutes by the bully with a record of violence.Jared suffered from depression and pain for several months beforecommitting suicide. Incidents like this one happen becauseadministrators have no legal basis to decide cases of bullying, whichgive bullies the freedom to continue using their powers to harassothers. It would be easier to resolve cases of bullying and punishthe culprits if adequate laws are put in place.
Althoughit is widely believed that bullying affects victims only, studieshave shown that bullying, especially in schools, affects the lives ofboth the bullies and victims. In extreme cases, bullying affectspersonal as well as the educational life of the victim and theculprit. For example, the culprit may be suspended from school whilethe victim fails to concentrate studies, especially when they sufferfrom depression. These incidents can be attributed to the lack ofadequate measures to create an environment that is free of bullying.In most cases, administrators fail to address the issue of bullyingbecause they lack the legal definition and procedures to address it(Frisen 2). For example, suspending a culprit, which is a measurethat is not based on any federal or state laws may not be aneffective measure because most of the culprits have no value ineducation, which means that they have nothing to lose. Therefore,ineffective measures that are used in the place of state and federallaws encourage bullying instead of reducing it.
Bullyingincrease the chances of the victim and the bully to use illegalsubstances. It is ironical to find that both the state and federalgovernments have strict laws that address the issue of substanceabuse, but they lack effective laws to contain the issue of substanceabuse. The victim suffers from high mental stress and mentaldepression. Victims, especially the underage start using differentdrugs to medicate themselves or forget the incidents of bullying(Durand 3). The bully, on the other hand, uses substances becausethey do well in environments that compel them towards these addictivesubstances. Therefore, there exists a positive correlation betweenbullying and substance abuse. Therefore, formulating effective lawsat the state and federal level will play a critical role inaddressing the menace of substance abuse, in addition to creating asafe environment for people to work, study, and live.
Currently,bullying is among the major factors that are contributing towards theincrease in cases of mental illness in the United States. Researchhas shown that bullying makes victims feel insecure, lonely, anddepression, all of which results long-lasting impacts on thepsychological wellbeing of the affected persons (Durand 3). Peoplewho are bullied during childhood are at a higher risk of sufferingfrom mental illnesses because the traumatizing incidents of bullyingalter the genes that are responsible for controlling mood. Thisincreases the risk of developing mental issues that proceed toadulthood. Other studies have shown that both the victims and bullieshave a poor psychosocial functioning compared to people who have notbeen involved in bullying (Durand 3). In addition, bullying affectthe parties that are directly involved and people surrounding them.Therefore, the formulation of effective anti-bullying will not onlyprotect psychological well-being of victims and bullies, but theywill also play a vital role in establishing a safe environment.
Thefederal and the state governments should formulate effectiveanti-bullying laws because the laws will help the government inestablishing a safe environment and reduce cases of suicide,substance abuse, and mental illnesses. Bullying increase the risk ofcommitting suicide when the culprit goes scot-free due to the lack oflaws to punish them accordingly. In addition, victims of bullying usedrugs as a way of treating the psychological effects of bullying. Thetwo levels of government have the primary responsibility ofestablishing an environment that is safe for people to study, work,and live, which can be achieved through the formulation of effectivelaws.
Barnes,D., Golden, N. and Peterson, L. Thetruth about suicide.New York, NY: Inforbase Publishing, 2010. Web.
Durand,V., Hennessey, J., Wells, S., Crothers, M. “Bullying and substanceuse in children and adolescents”. AdditionResearch Therapy,4.4 (2013): 1-6.
Frisen,A., Johnson, A., and Persson, C. “Adolescents’ perception ofbullying: Who is the victim?” Adolescents42.168 (2007): 1-14.
Non-Bullying.Bullying facts, bullying statistics, in the news: Bullying statistics2014. Non-Bullying.2014. 28 April 2015.