McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Opinion | Bullying bounds minds

It’s up to teachers and adults not to ignore the severity of bullying or downplay its effects because the consequences could be tragic
Spencer Platt / Getty Images / TNS
People gather for a memorial and vigil for Nex Benedict, the Oklahoma teenager who died following a fight in a high school bathroom on Feb. 26, 2024, in New York City. | Photo by:

A child spends 12 years of their life at school minimum. Schools are supposed to be a haven for creativity and learning, but kids can be cruel. Adults can be even crueler when allowing it. Precautions and actions against bullying should be taken when need be and not ignored.

A young 16-year-old student from a small Oklahoma town that did not view themselves as male or female got into a physical altercation in the school bathroom. The student was taken to the hospital, discharged later, but taken in the next day, where they passed away. CORONER REPORTED THAT… This has resulted in outrage among the LGBTQ community who believe they were targeted for being transgender and died as a result of the altercation. It was ruled that the student passed away due to a drug overdose.

Transgender individuals, and children especially, experience severe bullying from their peers and people around them. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 43% of transgender youth experienced bullying on school property and 29% have attempted suicide. If the problem is apparent enough to make statistics, some schools need to address the issue and fix it.

Bullying is a worldwide problem that everyone experiences at some point. According to The Office of Justice Programs, 25% of teachers ignore bullying. This could make students hesitant to speak up if nothing was done when they did before. Ignoring the problem makes it continue, not go away.

A common thought with bullying is that it makes your kid tougher, all it does is lower their confidence and self-esteem. The National Institutes of Health did a meta-analysis that showed kids are 2.77 times more at risk of depression than kids that were not. Kids who bully and are bullied are 3.19 times higher risk of depression. The disregard of adolescent bullying can result in mental health ordeals in the future.

As with most older generations, things were different when they were growing up. Millennials, baby boomers, etc. grew up during a time of silence and “speak when spoken to” standards. In most accounts, things deemed out of the ordinary were scrutinized. Although today, we know that being “different” is now what most aspire to be. Older generations paved the way for younger generations, and bullying is not the way to improve or constructively criticize someone.

Everyone has their bullying story. Notice how it never left your mind. Children are like sponges and absorb what they are told, believing it along the way. Ignorance is not bliss, bullying if seen, should be handled in an appropriate manner.

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