Monday, 2 February 2009

Article published in The Argus

Article published Feb 5 2001 in Brighton newspaper, The Argus. I was 16 at the time of writing.
Here is the article in text format:
The Argus - February 2001
Bullying – to tell or not to tell?

Schools still fail to deal with bullying despite being required to have policies to counter the problem.

Young people in the 21st Century may have more access to educational opportunity than they did, say, 50 years ago but one thing appears to be getting worse – the cruel manipulation that people have to go through in the form of bullying.

A study carried out by Sheffield University in 1994 revealed that in Britain 100,000 secondary school pupils were bullied once a week. These facts aren’t accurate because of all those people who never spoke up – and still aren’t speaking up.

There are a number of types bullying which can happen to all groups for many different reasons. The list includes verbal bullying, damage to your belongings, physical bullying, sexism, ageism and homophobia.

There can be any reason for a person to bully another. A lot of it is usually to do with jealousy of different circumstances. I have been bullied twice for the most different of reasons. When I was ten a boy in my class began calling me names, pinching me, kicking me and hitting me on the head with hard objects, like flasks. I went to his house with my parents only to find there was no reason for it.

The last time I was bullied was two years ago when I was 14. I don’t know how it started, but I had a certain subject where the boy sat in front. He started saying the odd remark and when I never said anything he carried on and eventually it became a regular occurrence. I look back and realise that if I had stood up to him it would have stopped as soon as it had started. He was much smaller than me so most people thought it would have been the other way round. Bullies tend to pick on people who are vulnerable and won’t tell anyone. They seem to feed off people’s insecurities and if they see that it hurts you they will carry on and on.

I think that one of the reasons Don’t Suffer In Silence policies don’t always work is that often it is hard to tell someone you are being bullied. You can be made to feel you’re your fault and so keep quiet. Schools have logbooks and even peer counselling schemes run by fellow pupils, but do students really use these? According to current guidelines if you are bullied you ought to tell someone but have young people been involved in decisions about what teachers do once bullying is reported? Finally, maybe we need to think about the deeper, underlying root to bullying, not just its surface effects – accept people as they are.

Claire Rowe

0800 1111 (24 hr)
020 7730 3300
Anti-bullying campaign
020 7378 1446


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