Bullying at Jerome High School: How can we stop it?

Bullying at Jerome High School: How can we stop it?

Jerome High School– Students and staff are becoming increasingly aware of the bullying going on inside the Halls of Jerome High School. Did you know that bullying not only has a mass effect on those involved, but also those around them? According to Stopbullying.gov, “kids who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety and other harmful mental health issues. Bystander’s are also likely to experience the same things as those being bullied.” 

Tatiyiana Brown, a Sophomore at Jerome High School expressed her feelings on bullying and even shared her own experience with bullying, “ Yes, I was bullied in 7th grade, and part of 8th. I was bullied for being emo and for liking rock music. It made me feel depressed and I wanted to hurt myself.” 

She was asked what her opinion was on what the school could do to help stop bullying, “I think we should just be kind to them. Try talking to them. Tell them what their doing is wrong and if they need it we could help them go talk to someone.”

Our students in the Student Council/Government, are trying their hardest to make JHS a safe and better place for students. Ingrid Ramirez, a Sophomore and a member of the Student Council/Government gave us a little insight as to what is happening, “So, right now what student council, our student government class is doing for bringing awareness about bullying, was we do things later on in the year. Because this month we’re focusing on, like, bringing awareness about drugs because it’s Red Ribbon Month but since bullying was brought up, we will make some flyers and kind of a quick announcement about bullying. Just so people still know that bullying is zero tolerance at this school and how we take it very seriously. Just like what we did with the mental health board and a quick announcement. That’s kind of how we are going to set it off as.” 

She was also asked if she was bullied, and unfortunately her answer was, “Yes.” Here is her story on bullying, “Personally I consider this bullying. But I have actually been bullied before and it was actually recently. To this day it does affect me. So as many people are aware, most high schoolers are on the Snapchat Social Media platform. So on that platform you can do what’s called like, ‘YOLO,’ or ‘This or That.’ Which is where you can post it on your story, and people can slide up and leave anonymous messages. So, a couple weeks ago ‘This or That’ was very popular, and so I decided to try it. Then it got to the extent where people were calling me ‘Fake.’ They were telling me that I’m ‘Too obsessed with my boyfriend.’ Obviously as any person would say like, ‘Don’t let that bother you,’ ‘Don’t let that get to you,’ but I think we need to understand, some people are more sensitive than others and words do hurt. Even if  you take them as a joke, even if you were sliding up and saying those things for somebody else, and even if it was anonymous. You don’t know what effect it can have on that person. Before, I’ve never really been bullied. I’ve never really faced bullying to such an extent but this affects me about every day. Because I always wake up thinking, ‘Do people even like me?’ ‘What have I become of myself?’ ‘What reputation do I have everyday?’ So that’s kinda my story of bullying. I’m not really afraid to share it because I want people especially to who ever slid up and said that. I want them to know how bad it did affect me. I don’t care if I’m seen as ‘weak.’ But, bullying is something that’s wrong. No matter who it’s for, or who you’re doing it for. It’s wrong, and it really needs to stop.” 

After hearing the stories of two students here at JHS, even someone who is leading us, it was time to talk to an administrator who deals with bullying and situations like these. Mrs. Rice, a vice principal here at JHS was more than happy to give us a little insight. She gave us the inside scoop of what administrators and the adults do here at JHS to make things better for students. “Okay, so on the admin side the biggest thing that we need to know in order to effectively address something, is that something is actually happening. I know that seems like it should be way more obvious but it’s more than that in the sense that if one person has a bad day and they just look at another person wrong, that’s not bullying. But, you know, if there is something truly happening we want to know and we want to address it. I have talked to some kids and parents in the past and they’re like ‘Well you know, we don’t want things to get worse,’ and I absolutely understand that. When we have things that are reported to us, whether it’s bullying, or drug issues, or, you know, a potential fight, or things like that, we really, really try to keep the person who reported, anonymous. We protect those people. So, but I think for us and I think this is for all admin, the thing that is the most frustrating is when people get super upset because nothing is being done about bullying, but it was never brought to our attention in the first place. I know that that takes a lot of courage and, you know, people are scared that things get worse before they get better. When something is reported to us, we do an investigation, we talk to a lot of people, and it’s hard to have like, we’re doing ‘this’ or we’re doing ‘that’. Because every case is different. Sometimes we actually find out that its two people and really they’re just being mean to each other. Then we sit them down and have a mediation, and we talk about that. Sometimes it helps. A true bullying situation, we would try to create a safety plan for the person who is being bullied, so they are protected in a way that isn’t super obvious to everyone else at this school. Some things that we’ve done in the past, we may have, like, a special place that they go at lunch time. So that they don’t feel like they’re being restricted but just some place where we can have adults that keep eyes on them more often. We may do some class things, but, you know, every situation is different. There’s not really one specific, like, oh we do this, or we do this, or we do this. We try to do what is absolutely best for all people involved, while still maintaining education, and an education environment, where kids can learn. Cause that is our main focus.”

As students it is important for us to take action as well, Mrs. Rice spoke her opinion on what really helps her and what she has noticed, ‘From my standpoint, the biggest thing that students can do to help is really buy into our ‘ONE TEAM, ONE TOWN, ONE FAMILY’ motto. In the sense that we are one family at Jerome High School, and we protect our own. When I say that, I’m not asking you to be best friends with every single person or even like every single person. Be respectful. On the other side, also, if you see, as an individual and as a student here at Jerome High School, if you see someone or if you see something that doesn’t feel right. Don’t be afraid to step up and say ‘Hey, knock it off’ or if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, even be willing to step up and tell an admin or tell a counselor, ‘Hey, I saw this happening, you know, I’m a little concerned about it.’ Cause, again, we can’t help things that we don’t know that are happening. The funny thing that I have learned by being an administrator here is that, the students here know where the admin are better than anyone else does. In the sense of, if they’re planning on doing something or they want something to happen, they know where we are and so they don’t do it around us. I know that. So, being willing to step up and help someone and do it in, obviously, not a violent way, but in an appropriate way, and really have this family mentality of ‘We are Jerome High School, we are proud of who we are, we are not going to stoop to the level of somebody else.’”