By Emily Hale
High school. Hallways filled with a mass of people. A lot them we don’t know, but pretend to; hearing whispered words between people; multitudes of secrets and rumors. We think that these things will never have an effect on the person that we’re talking about, that they’ll never get back to them, but the problem is, is that they do. Every day, walking down the hallways, if you just happen to listen as you walk past others, chances are you will hear someone talking about someone else. It’s practically an epidemic.
Not many people realize this, but gossiping is a form of bullying. Bullying is defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance”. There are many forms of bullying, such as teasing, threats, gossip, exclusion or discrimination, or calling names. Walled Lake Central is a zero tolerance school, meaning that bullying will not be tolerated in any circumstances. In the student code of conduct, it is stated, “The Board of Education prohibits the bullying of any District student at school, regardless of the motive of the perpetrator.”
We’re all guilty of doing this in one form or another, whether by accident, or on purpose, but unfortunately many people don’t care about the effect that it has. People need to be more aware of their actions, along with the consequences and effects on those that are the victims of what people say.
We don’t like to think about the reality of things. It’s nicer to think that no one gets bullied and everyone is happy, but there are people constantly going through these types of problems. Over 64% of kids don’t report being bullied, and one out four kids do. Kids who are bullied are more at risk for academic problems, substance abuse, and violent behavior during school or later on adult life.
Even if you’re not the one bullying someone else, there’s always a possibility that you can help someone else. More often than not, people keep their heads down and don’t say anything, believing that someone else will help them, but that help never comes. More often than not, helping someone can make a positive difference in the situation.
So instead of just watching someone say something to a kid in your class, instead of saying something in the moment because you’re angry, instead of making fun of someone behind their back, you’re better off keeping it to yourself. It may save you trouble later on when they find out, and it will make you feel better knowing that you’re the bigger person.
It’s all about maturity in how we handle situations, high school is the transition to adulthood, and if we continue to act like this, many of us are in for a reality check,. Things like that won’t cut it in the real world, and unfortunately several of us need to learn to grow up. Things are only going to get better if we try to make them better, because the world doesn’t work like how we thought when we grew up with Disney movies.