Students must see that bullying is real
Following recent events, society has taken particular interest in the topic of bullying. Over the years, we’ve seen it in the movies and on television, from the “Plastics” roaming the halls in Mean Girls to the misunderstood kids in The Breakfast Club. It’s dubbed a serious problem and yet it’s one that no one can really define. However, time and time again, pop culture has tried to define it for us.
I think the common misconception about bullying is that people expect it to be what you see on the big screen and then time and time again something happens that shocks us all. It is in those moments that we stop and think, “Is this really the face of bullying?” Sure it is.
Bullying has many faces and takes many forms. Take for instance the new anti-bullying law recently passed by the Michigan Senate. The “Matt’s Safe School Law,” named after a 14-year-old Michigan high school student that committed suicide in 2008 after being bullied, includes a condition noting that the law doesn’t prohibit the expression of religious or moral viewpoints. That seems like a loop-hole to me. Is it then okay to bully someone, say for their sexual preference, if it does not agree with our moral or religious views? No, absolutely not. At least to me it isn’t.
I would be lying if I said I have never been bullied, I was bullied as a little girl, I was bullied in high school, and I’ve even been bullied here. I’d also be lying if I said that the fear of public criticism hasn’t held me back from being who I really want to be, who I really am. Bullying is everywhere, it is online, it is in person, it is always where you least expect it. Nonetheless, it is a problem that needs to be handled.
At Seton Hall University we have a no-tolerance policy on bullying. Following the suicide of Rutgers student, Tyler Clementi, the University released a newsletter in efforts to remind the community that we cannot take our values for granted. That we must remain a safe and welcoming place for everyone who comes and that we can never tolerate behavior that undermines those basic principles. In turn, it asked the community to look towards various standards and policy statements that the University upholds.
It is things such as Seton Hall’s stance on bullying that give me hope for the future. It gives me hope that society will follow in the footsteps of Universities such as ours that do not tolerate bullying in any format. As a University rich in our Catholic faith I think it speaks volumes that we do not tolerate any form of bullying whether our moral or religious values can back us up.
As citizens of America we demand certain things from our country and government. As University students, we demand certain things from our institution. What I demand is that we all come together to remember that bullying is important, that it is happening now, that it is happening here, and it must be stopped. Bullying absolutely must be criteria we demand to stop in all factions of our lives.
Ashley Duvall is a sophomore public relations major from Vernon, N.J. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.