Over the recent times, cases of bullying have reportedly increased across the world. In my hometown, Orlando, Florida, the situation is not different. An escalated number of kids have been able to come out reporting variant cases of bullying in school and home as well. It is therefore vital that such cases of bullying are not only brought to light but also relevant steps are taken to proliferate this destructive behavior.
In essence, bullying simply refers to a form of behavior which involves the use of force or coercion to negatively affect another person’s well-being. This form of behavior is normally habitual—whether in school, work or even at home (William et al., 2005, p.10-20). In most cases, the person or people being bullied are normally defenseless no wander their bullies take advantage of them (Balsom, 2009).
Regardless of whether one is a child or an adult, bullying affects the victims in a great way and should thus be mitigated at all costs (Einarsen et al., 2003, p.20-30). In this paper, central focus is going to be on the nature of bullying of children in my hometown, Orlando Florida, how it can be solved, and most importantly; establishing the importance of having knowledge of bullying as an art educator.
Bullying in Florida and the connection with Art Educators
In Orlando, Florida, bullying of children mostly comes in the following forms: verbal bullying where intimidating words or derogatory terms are used on the victim; physical bullying such as shoving, kicking, boxing or slapping the victim unnecessarily; cyber-bullying via the internet or even cell phones; racial discrimination; sexual bullying; social bullying—especially through isolation and exclusion from certain people or events; spreading of lies and false rumors; issuance of threats to victims; and having your things taken by the bully, among many others.
Going by my personal observations, majority of these bullies have a low self-esteem. By bullying others and seeing others suffer, they therefore feel like they are attaining some form of self-worth.
Other than this, others normally bully their peers in order to exert some form of power or control to their victims. As a result of this power, they get some favors for rewards from their victims—mostly in form of material stuff like money or doing some chores.
Sadly enough, most of these bullies tend to get away with their actions since a majority of the victims chose to suffer alone in silence rather than opening up to others to get help. This is usually based on the fact that most of the bullies threaten their victims to the point that they feel safer suffering in silence and less-safer when they open-up to others about their ordeals.
A good example of bullying that recently happened in my hometown is reported by Courtney (2011). In this case, a bus driver bullied a girl on her way to school. When the girl’s mother learnt about the incident, she decided to confront the bus driver so as to know the specifics of the occurrence.
In response, the driver refuted the claims and branded the little girl as a liar in spite of the fact that the bullying incident had been caught on live camera.
This case drew outrage from many parents and, when the mother continued pursuit of the case, the driver sought the defense of a lawyer and the mother was arrested for her actions. According to Courtney, the mother decided to hire a different school bus for her daughter since no arrest was made to the driver despite the availability of blatant proofs of his guilt.
If such cases are to be duly punished, it is extremely important that relevant actions are taken by the concerned parties like parents, teachers, or even the general citizen who, apparently, get to witness such incidents even more than the parents (Whitted & Dupper, 2005, p.167-170).
However, the mandate to facilitate change does not stop at these people. Importantly, other opinion leaders in the society like the government or even art educators—through their influence in the society—can also contribute greatly in this agenda.
For example, based on their knowledge on bullying; art educators can organize educative events that teach children in ways that they can avoid bullying or even report bullies. In doing so, the artist can use illustrative pictures, catchy words like poems and songs, or even connotative drawings can greatly help in stopping the bullying endemic.
On a positive note, there has been an increased awareness on bullying and its ramifications, courtesy of mass media like the internet, newspapers, magazines, the TV and radio. The government and other independent organizations are also sprouting, slowly but surely in the support of campaigns against bullying in Orlando, Florida.
For instance, the School Safety Advocacy Council (2011), have organized a national conference on bullying scheduled between 15th and 17th February 2011.
Key issues to be addressed in the event include: showcase of bullying programs, analyzing the bullying trends in Orlando, Florida and the U.S, at large, then providing possible solutions, and the usage of digital literacy to combat bullying; among many other. With such events in place, and other relevant actions being taken by other influential opinion leaders like art educators, bullying can be hugely dealt with.
Balsom, A. Z. (2009). Student journal: bullying has dire consequences. Web.
Courtney, E. (2011). Florida mum arrested for confronting bus driver about child bullying. Web.
Einarsen, S., Hoel, H., Zapf, D., & Cooper, C. L. (2003). Bullying and emotional abuse in the workplace: international perspectives in research and practice, London: Taylor & Francis.
School Safety advocacy Council. (2011). National conference on bullying: February 15-17, 2012, Orlando, Florida. Web.
Whitted, K. S., & Dupper, D.R. (2005). Best practices for preventing or reducing bullying in schools. Children and Schools, 27 (3), 167-179.
Williams, K. D., Forgás, J. P., & Von Hippel, W. (2005). The social outcast: ostracism, social exclusion, rejection, & bullying. New York, NY: Psychology Press.