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Students defines bullying in Justice Friday installment

| Monday, September 28, 2015

Web - Justice FridayMonica Villagomez Mendez

This week’s installment of Justice Friday at Saint Mary’s focused on the issues of bullying and highlighted ways to identify and respond to bullying.

The discussion was hosted by junior Katie Dwyer. She centered her discussion on defining modern bullying and showing that it affects students of all ages.

Dwyer said, in general, bullying can be defined as a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort.

She said there are several categories and subcategories of bullying such as physical, verbal, unspoken, passive aggressive and cyberbullying.

Dwyer said, from her perspective, cyberbullying is the modern form of bullying.

“It has such an impact on today’s society, especially in this country. … It can involve hurtful messages, posts, and videos,” Dwyer said. “Hacking accounts, imitating others or pretending to be the person you’re bullying, gossiping or online exclusion are all forms of online bullying.”

Dwyer said there is potential that there is overlap in teens that have been bullied online and have bullied others.

“Over half of teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have been the perpetrators of cyberbullying.”

Dwyer addressed some of the negative effects of bullying. 

“One in 10 high school dropouts say they left school because of bullying. … Bullying victims are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep problems and poor school adjustment. … Bullying perpetrators are at increased risk for violent behavior, substance abuse and academic problems,” she said.

Furthermore, bullying and harassment has been linked to almost 75 percent of school shootings, Dwyer said.

Dwyer said more than half of all bullying situations stop when another peer intervenes. She said school-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25 percent.

“We need to put emphasis on people seeking out a trusted adult and determining if the behavior falls outside of the student code of conduct or the state laws.”

Dwyer mentioned how important it is for Saint Mary’s women to support one another.

“Why would we bring each other down when we should be trying to stick together?” she said

Dwyer invited audience members to ask questions and contribute to a dialogue about bulling. Sophomore Morgan Matthews shared her thoughts on women bullying women.

“With women, it’s mostly passive aggressive confrontation, even if you say something to somebody because they’re bullying you. They never let go, women always have [the confrontation] in the back of their mind,” Matthews said.

Dwyer ended the discussion by offering support to any victims of bullying.

“[Bullies] were wrong. When you feel like you’re inferior, you’re really not, you are equal to your peers,” she said. “Nobody is below you but nobody is above you either. That is something that you grow up to realize. You have to make it there to realize that … there is more to life than being the victim of bullying. There are brighter days to come. “

Dwyer shared the phone number of the suicide prevention lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.

The Justice Fridays discussions take place every Friday from 12 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. in Conference Room A and B of the Student Center.

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