Bullying is a big problem with kids across America.
Bullying is addressed in almost every school, especially high schools, but many are now starting to forget bullying in our younger siblings lives. In fact, between 4th and 8th grade in particular, 90% of students are victims of bullying. On top of that, it’s estimated that 160,000 children miss school everyday due to the fear of attack and intimidation by other students, and 56% of students have personally felt some sort of bullying at school.
Giselle, a 3rd grader at a local elementary school, says, “I didn’t want to go to school for a while because this girl was telling people not to talk to me. I was always by myself because of her.” There are many types of bullying, like physical bullying (hitting, pushing, taking a child’s possessions). However, nowadays with kids, the bullying tends to be more of verbal bullying (making threats, name-calling) and/or psychological bullying (excluding other children, spreading rumors). Natalie, a 4th grader, says, “Boys were threatening to hurt me because they wanted to make me cry…”
Budget cuts have also been an adding factor to bullying. Due to budget cuts, elementary school counselors are one of the first things to get cut. Centennial counselor Katrina Johangiry says that “Elementary is main foundation where children learn to problem solve, but when you take away counselors and people they can talk to, it builds the challenge.”
As family members to younger students, it’s our responsibility to educate and help our young relatives understand the severity of bullying. There are a few telltale signs of someone who is being bullied. They might have recurrent complaints of physical symptoms such as stomach-aches or headaches with no apparent cause, or a sudden drop in grades or other learning problems. They could also be crying frequently and for no apparent reason, and suddenly change the way that they talk about themselves- calling themselves a loser, or someone else a jerk. It’s important to help them when these signs come up, and to encourage them to fight against it.
Lienely, a 3rd grader, says that he ”saw a kid getting kicked by three other boys, and everyone in the class saw.” One of the reasons bullying keeps on happening is because no one is willing to speak up.
Destiny, another 3rd grader, says “I was always getting bullied by my partner [in class]. He called me fat and ugly, and I cried and begged my mom to let me stay home. I was scared to tell the teacher.” Bullying can often stop in less than 10 seconds, most of the time when peers intervene on behalf of the victim. Everyone has the power to stop bullying at its roots, by encouraging their siblings and younger family members to take a stand, and to be an example themselves and say no to bullying.
Interact joins the World Kindness Youth Conference to stop bullying and promote kindness
The S.A.C.K (Simple Acts Of Care and Kindness) Foundation organized a World Kindness Youth Conference, with over 4,000 4th graders from nearly every elementary school in the Corona-Norco district in order to fight bullying and promote kindness and understanding. This event was mainly in the hands of Shirley Zink and the Circle City Rotary. The event was filmed by ABC Family eyewitness News. There were over 200 volunteers of high school students, parents, teachers, guest speakers, fire fighters, and SACK Foundation volunteers. The SACK Foundation works towards creating a better environment for generations to come and to better the lives of every child through simple acts of kindness. The World Youth Kindness conference was held on November 14-15 at Crossroads Church.
Centennial’s own Interact club got the opportunity to participate in this event. Each student volunteering received 8 to 20 kids from different classrooms and guided them throughout the day. The 4th graders began their day with an opening ceremony where “Grandma Maggie” spoke of the importance of showing kind gestures to others. The students seemed to be the most enthusiastic when she united them and started a wave in the crowd, while they sang
the SACK song, “Simple acts of care and kindness, put the actions of the world behind us. Phone a friend, open a door, smile when you see me walking down the street. Let your love shine through me.” Matt Luke, a mayor league baseball Dodger player, was able to relate with the kids as he told his story of the struggles he faced during his childhood due to bullying. He spoke of the importance of diversity and advised the children to live for their passions and turn to the people around them for help.
The students then proceeded to their outside activities, which were unforgettable experiences for each kid. They had 15 workshops and seminars and 20 activities for anyone attending to participate. Some of the activities included booths that taught the students the consequences of smoking, and had water department booths and fire trucks, in which the students learned what to do during emergencies. Another activity that seemed to attract most of the 4th graders was the “Bug Lady” and “Lizard Wizard,” where the students were able to see and touch turtles, lizards cockroaches, snakes, tarantulas, and other animals. The purpose of these activities was to help the students understand the importance of being respectful to everyone, including the animals and their environments. Another activity was “The Wheelchair,” in which the 4th graders followed an obstacle course, allowing them to experience what it feels like to have a disability.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, almost half of all children will experience bullying in their primary or secondary schools. This has become a serious problem, since nearly 10% of students are bullied regularly and it is one of the main causes of teen suicide. Administration believes that bullying begins at the age of 9 or 10 when the child is in 4th or beginning 5th grade.
Tony, a 4th grader from Barton Elementary, says, “I think this place is amazing. There’s a big crowd, and I think it will help us be nicer to other kids and adults, too.” Overall, the conference was a memorable event in which volunteers were able to touch the hearts of nearly every student attending, along with building a better understating of the importance of being the best person you can be and end the bullying.