Bullying in BHS Has Been Reduced This Year

By Justin Veilleux

Bullying has been reduced in BHS because of a new state law, which was approved around 2 years ago, school officials said.

There always has been bullying in BHS, but Mr. Albinger, the school climate officer at BHS, said he believes bullying incidents are down this year in BHS than in other years, but he will not know for sure until the end of the year, when all the statistics are compiled.

According to the state law, which was approved in July 13, 2011 in Connecticut, “Each local and regional board of education shall develop and implement a [policy] safe school climate plan to address the existence of bullying in its schools.”

“Bullying is a repeating act that could cause somebody to feel angry or uncomfortable, the act could be verbal, physical, or non-verbal, it could be based on what they look like, racial, and it can be commonly based on harming somebody,” said Mr. Albinger. According to Mrs. Rice, a math teacher at BHS, “It can be triggered by jealousy,a person's looks (both perceived "good" looks or "bad" looks), being "smart" or "dumb", religious beliefs, race, sexual orientation, sexual behavior, social behavior ("parties" or is a "goody-two-shoes"). She explains that bullying could be caused by a lot of different reasons such as being a good or bad student, being overweight or underweight, partying too little or partying too much, etc.  and that it could happen to anyone. According to an article from the New Haven Register, “The AP-NORC/MTV poll found that some 49 percent of young people ages 14 through 24 in the U.S. said they have had at least one brush with some kind of electronic harassment, down from about 56 percent in 2011.”

Taking different approaches to address bullying

In order to help reduce cyber bullying in the school, the school held an assembly November 14, 2013 for all freshmen and sophomores. Two federal prosecutors, Sarala Nagala and Ray Miller, spoke and showed a PowerPoint of internet safety. They explained that when you see something that is mean, you should report it to your parents or school administrators. Teachers want to help out with teenagers who have been bullied, they say. “I knew a student  who was tortured by his “friends” for coming out as a gay man. It was not occurring in my classroom and I did not know that this was the reason he was depressed until about 2 years later," Mrs. Rice said. "Happily by then he had a new supportive friend group and he was quite happy and confident in himself." According to Mrs. Rice, “I am concerned about a student in one class. This person is suddenly not included in the usual group for group work and sits alone.”  This happened this year  and she is concerned for this student about him suddenly working alone instead of his original group. There could be some students in the school that have got bullied or could have been bullied. According to Carly, a senior, “I've been told that I look like a man and that I am fat.” She also explained that she hasn't seen any bullying in the school lately and that the bullying that happened to her faded away, so she felt better.

According to Dan Macari, a sophomore, “I haven’t got bullied in the school.” He also explained that he hasn't seen any bullying in the school.

“No, I haven’t got bullied in this school,” said Samantha Ferency, a sophomore.She also explained that she also hasn't seen any bullying in the school.

Signs of bullying and strategies to address it

There are signs of bullying and they could be easily noticeable or not. According to Bullying No Way, a website to teach people of the matter of bullying, “Sometimes bullying can be less obvious. Signs could include: student is often alone and excluded from friendship groups at school, student is a frequent target for teasing, mimicking, or ridicule at school, and change in the student’s ability or willingness to speak up in class and appears insecure or frightened.”

There are other signs to see if someone is being bullied. Other signs can include, starts getting into fights, refuses to talk about what is wrong, falling grades, appears to suddenly hate school, mood swings, unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches, damaged belongings, and other signs. There are many strategies to deal with bullying and there are many people teenagers can talk to, to help them with the bullying. According to Bullying No Way,  “Talk to your friends, talk to your parents, or talk to your teacher or another staff member.” There are also some strategies teenagers could use to help with the bullying.  Again, according to Bullying No Way, one should ignore the bullying, act unimpressed or pretend you don’t care what they say or do to you. Use strong, assertive statements, starting with the word ‘I’; tell the person ‘I want you to stop that’ in a strong confident voice.  Use ‘fogging’ which means making a joking or funny comment that makes the other person think you don’t care about what they say, or ask your friends to speak up for you. “There are a number of things school staff can do to make schools safer and prevent bullying," according to stopbullying.gov, a website to stop bullying in schools. "Assess bullying in your school, engage parents and youth, create policies and rules, build a safer environment, and educate students and school staff."