Bullies Are Like Boogers
Bullies are like boogers: big, icky, and annoying. Their worth isn’t much – as a whole, they are very shallow, and can be flicked away. But the truth of the matter is that bullying is a real issue, and a stuffy nose feels awful, which is why explaining the bystander effect is so important for the educational environment!
Bullying is a common issue, and we know it takes place, but because of the bystander effect, we do not approach the bully, hoping someone else will do the job. As mentioned, bullying is supposed to be an urge that we should get rid of as soon as possible, just like how we blow our noses as soon as possible. One great way is to reward students for putting themselves in heroic situations. Of course, that does not mean that boys should lurk around girls’ locker rooms, but that they should be taught to keep an eye out for anything harmful and be rewarded when they do point out such a situation. The Heroic Imagination Project, invented by Phil Zimbardo, is about teaching individuals the tools and knowledge regarding the topic. It talks about how we all have an internal hero, telling us to perform the right actions, we just need to learn how to draw that out.
All this sounds good, but then can there ever be too much of a good thing? Well, yes. Even boogers exist for the sake of protecting your nose, so being harsh against them is not the optimal course of action. It is very possible that bullies either make people become too vulnerable because of severe punishments, or agitated – increasing their torment.
For instance, according to an article in USA Today by Amanda Oglesby, research has shown that students going to schools with anti-bullying systems were more prone to face bullying. We can apply all the soap we want, but it is our body that knows that the pimple isn’t going to go away just because we want it to.
Another issue is that anti-bullying programs put the bully in a tough position. If found, they will feel isolated, and other people may bully that student just because they were bullied. Another new research identifies that anti-bullying systems show little advancement. In a 2012-2013 New Jersey school report, results indicated that bullying investigations decreased by nineteen percent, but the problem is, the number isn’t big enough to justify the costs of the research. Such studies may show that students are doing their part, but the lack of teacher intervention still runs on.
Yes, the anti-bullying programs may reduce the number of bullies, but they do little to truly nip the problem at its core. Removing bullies requires teaching the culprits what it feels like to be bullied. Without any physical harm, of course. We wouldn’t want them to pee their pants now. Yes, it may be a bit harsh, but it’s empathy that usually reigns victorious. We have to teach bullies that their actions are wrong, and that they lead to negative consequences, as bullied students are not always able to recover mentally, even if the bullying had been stopped.
To sum up, the minimum we must do is eliminate the bystander effect, because that at least allows people to focus on the issue and rise up to it. When it comes to destroying those boogers, we need to take it gently, without getting the snot all over our hands. If bullies experience a similar sense of threat, they would finally understand how the victim feels every time. Another issue would be that the bully may be abused at home, and so they vent out such feelings by attacking those weaker than themselves. Fear can truly lead to some unusual actions, and it is best that we are able to identify the source of bullying and show them the consequences of their actions.