As a member of the teaching and learning department, I feel that education is one of the fundamental needs of our youth. I stand behind the recent concerns the media has had for those who have experienced bullying whether it be physical or emotional. When I first started school, the only place I had access to a computer was at school or a local library. Due to technological advances, modern youth have access to social media where they are exposed to another form of bullying that threatens their safety. According to The Cyber bullying Research Center's statistics “as many as 20 percent of all students have been the victims of cyber bullying” (Lee 2011). When I was a child I had experienced taunting, name calling and other forms of bullying. According to Mose Herne, acting deputy director of the Indian Health Service’s Division of Behavior Health, I was not alone. “Nearly a third of all students experience some form of [bullying] at school and it may be more prevalent in Native American schools” (Lee, 2011). Bullying has become an increased socially acceptable act and I feel that it must be stopped at all costs.
This type of behavior can be caused due to many reasons including “stereotypes and misconceptions of what it means to be Native American, generational poverty, generational alcoholism and drug addiction, poor nutrition and diet, substandard and inadequate housing, [and] family structures that are not intact” (Owen, 2011). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blames this unstructured home environment as the reason behind the increase of bullying among Native American youth. A report released on April 22 claims that “kids involved in bullying are far more likely to have witnessed violence in their families or to have been the victims of infra-familial violence than students who were neither bullies nor the victims of bullying” (Lee, 2011). These contributors lead me to believe that the reasons behind the increase in bullying among Native American students is one that they are unable to control.
Perhaps the best place to begin is to explore how the act of bullying directly affects Native American students. We have all heard of the expression the glass is half full or half empty'
; for one fourteen year old Native American student, the glass is mostly empty. “Let’s say all of your emotions are in a glass of water. When somebody bullies you, dump out a little bit…eventually that glass of water is going to be empty and that’s kind of like your self-esteem. You’re going to be empty, so you’re going to try to commit suicide” (McNeely, 2011). Sixteen year old Coloradas Mangas also writes of his experience with bullying and how it affected his relationship among his friends. “Several of [my] friends have taken their lives and [I] attempted to do the same. It was the only way [I] knew how to escape the constant bullying at school” (McNeely, 2011). Choosing to not allow these events change his willpower, Mangas...