Bullying and Violence in Public Schools
Although bullying has always been a problem in schools, it has more recently become a bigger crisis with vicious consequences. “However it is defined, bullying is not just child’s play, but a terrifying experience many schoolchildren face everyday. It can be as direct as teasing, hitting or threatening, or as indirect as exclusions, rumors or manipulation” (Garrett 2). Most kids do not think certain actions are classified as bullying, yet they do not realize the severity of the way they treat their peers. What they may see as “joking around” can be viewed as them being a bully, and they may even be hurting someone’s feelings without realizing the effect that they have. This can then lead to school violence, which is a prevalent issue in today’s society. There are many causes to bullying and school violence and many effects as well. However, if dealt with properly, there are ways to solve these prevailing problems.
“One in seven children is a bully or the target of a bully, according to the National Association of School Psychologists” (Garrett 34). Therefore, it is important that everyone understands what causes this much bullying to occur. One of the first things influencing kids is violence in the media. “Countless studies have determined that there is an irrefutable link between violence in the media and violent behavior in children, argues former secretary of education William J. Bennett” (Grapes 57). Popular culture seems to have an enormous effect on the young, and a lot of times it is not in a positive manner. For example, many television shows and movies show violence in school. The movie Scream is about two high school students who are trying to get revenge by murdering both friends and strangers. Music is also a powerful influence on kids, and considering that much of the music is dark and mournful, it is no surprise that it has a negative effect on its listeners. Other ways in which pop culture “for most kids…works as a coarsener, desensitizer, and dehumanizer” is through video games and the Internet. (Grapes 60). They are susceptible to all of this violence because it is so ubiquitous in today’s society that it becomes almost impossible to avoid.
Another cause that may actually be lesser known is the use of psychiatric drugs. Many people may think that student use of illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin may have an effect, yet it seems that psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin, Prozac, and Luvox prescribed for “mental illnesses,” have been known to cause violent behavior. The most common of these “illnesses” is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, which is most often treated with Ritalin. However, mania, insomnia, and hallucinations are just a few of the side effects that can be produced by such stimulants. Antidepressants such as Prozac and Luvox are also known to have adverse effects that include irritability,...