Bullying: An Epidemic with a Cure


Bullying is a national epidemic that people quite often downplay. In 2016, one out of every five students reported being bullied (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016). In New Jersey, there is a specific law that prohibits bullying against “groups defined by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical, or sensory disability, or by another other distinguishing characteristic” (MHRD website). This law is not only applicable to face to face bullying, it also includes cyber bullying. Any student or staff at Morris Hills has the right to report bullying to the school. Parents can also report  bullying. Even though this law is in place, it does not always prevent bullying from occurring. Those trying to prevent often preach that “if you see something, say something,” but not everybody intervenes. One study shows that over half of the bullying situations will stop when even just a peer gets involved (Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig, 2001).

Recently, in January an Anti-Bullying Focus Group  met during all three lunches in the guidance office. In this meeting, the attendees discussed their concerns about bullying at school. Ms. Fischer, one of the guidance interns, said “Never be afraid to stand up and speak out for yourself or your peers. Your peers do not define you, you define yourself.” She also said students who attended “shared their previous experiences with bullying, how they felt bullying was perceived at MHHS, and what should be done to prevent bullying.” This was one of many instances where students could report any bullying. If any student witnesses bullying, they should personally intervene or report it to an adult. If any students falls victim to bullying, they should report it, whether it be cyber bullying or physical bullying.