The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-Bullying disease needs cure

Illustration by Nate Woeber
Illustration by Nate Woeber

In the last few weeks, it seems that bullying has turned into a national epidemic.

On Sept. 22, Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi drove to the George Washington Bridge and jumped off. Clementi was 18.

The cause behind this horrifying act? Clementi had been outed as a homosexual on a video that was streamed online. The suspects claimed it was a joke — an awful one, but a joke nonetheless. But many believe that it was cold-blooded cyberbullying, that it was a clear attempt to ridicule Clementi.

As horrible as this was, Clementi was not the first.

Asher Brown, 13, shot himself Sept. 23 after bullies also picked on him for being gay, having a lisp and being Buddhist. In an interview with People magazine, Brown’s mother said that she now belonged to the worst club imaginable.

South Hadley High School in Springfield, Mass., became known as “Bully High” after Phoebe Prince, 15, committed suicide Jan. 14 after weeks of hateful attacks at school and online. Six students now face felony charges that include, but are not limited to, statutory rape, stalking and criminal harassment. Prince’s aunt Eileen Moore told People magazine why she is speaking out about bullies.

“I don’t want this to happen to someone else’s child,” Moore said. “We need to look at bullying for what it truly is — a form of emotional abuse — and treat it in the way we work to end physical and sexual abuse.”

Bullying needs to stop. It has become a disease that can have long-lasting effects.

Since Prince’s death, Massachusetts has put into place anti-bullying laws. The laws state that bullying will not be allowed on school campuses as well as in school-sanctioned events. Parents, teachers and even bus drivers are being instructed on how to handle bullying. The fourth Wednesday in January will also be known as No Name Calling Day.

Cyberbullying is also becoming the norm. Parents and teachers involved in both the Clementi and Prince cases said tools such as texting and Facebook were used to attack these students.

“Bullying experts say cyberbullying has lasting effects on children and teens. Messages posted on the Internet are often permanent and difficult to remove. With one click of a mouse, comments can reach hundreds or thousands of students,” said an article on CNN.com.

Seattle columnist Dan Savage posted a video on YouTube describing how he was taunted and harassed when he came out but now has a happy adult life. His message to all teens, no matter what gender or orientation, is that it gets better. That no matter how bad it may be and no matter how nice it would be to end it all, hold on because it gets better. This has since turned into the “It Gets Better” project at youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject.

Bullying is a cancer. It starts with one bad comment or action and soon metastasizes until the victim dies either emotionally or physically. But like cancer, it is preventable if caught in time.

If you or someone you know is being bullied, stand up and take action.

Nothing gets solved if no one does anything. But you could help save a life, maybe even your own.

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