Editorial: Be a voice for those who are being bullied

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Tribune over the last month has published a series of articles about bullying in our area school districts. We have looked at ways some students are being bullied, how this is affecting them and what the state and local school districts are doing to prevent and combat bullying.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics in 2016, 20.8 percent of students report being bullied. That bullying comes in numerous ways — both in person and online, and through both verbal and physical means. There is typically a real or perceived imbalance of power between the student doing the bullying and the student being bullied.

Though everyone can agree that bullying needs to stop, what has to be done to make sure it doesn’t happen?

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We were pleased to hear of the different ways area schools are attempting to teach about bullying. There are lessons, tip lines, monthly activities, posters and other physical reminders.

While schools, workplaces and institutions have a weighty and not overstated responsibility to do their best at preventing and addressing bullying, unfortunately, not all bullying behavior can be educated away.

Northwood-Kensett Community School’s secondary principal, Keith Fritz, hit the nail on the head when he said bystanders are the most important tool to prevent bullying.

“We know and they know that the most powerful tool against bullying is another kid,” he said. “Not me, not the counselor, not a policy, but other kids, and if they can thrive in a culture of knowing that they can share and help each other out, then that lets us help them.”

According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, more than half of bullying situations — 57 percent — stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of a student being bullied.

The strongest weapon we have against bullying is speaking out. Be that voice for another whose voice may be dimmed because of embarrassment, insecurity or sadness.

Make a difference.