Argumentative Analysis on Bullying
There are many institutions that were set up by mankind after civilization. This is with the intentions of promoting economic, political as well as social development among the human species. These institutions are supposed to work together in harmony, making sure that every goal associated with these institutions is achieved. In relation this context, this analysis looks at bullying and other forms of violence in a school setup, at work and through the social media. In definition, bullying can be defined as the act of using force, coercion or threat to intimidate, abuse or imposing aggressive dominion over others (Kuykendall, 2012). Some people argue that for such a behavior to fit the definition of bullying, it has to be habitual and repetitive. It may not necessarily be the case since there may be particular a student who likes picking on his colleagues after a long time. As long as the act involves the characteristics of coercion, threats, and use of force meant to intimidate abuse or impose aggressive dominion, then the act qualifies as bullying.
In a situation where there is continued bullying, a prerequisite perception always comes into the mind of a bully or any other party involved: physical and the social power imbalance. There are many behaviors that qualify as bullying especially when they are directed towards a particular person on a repetitive manner. These behaviors include; threats, verbal harassments, coercion, physical assaults and many other mean acts towards an intended individual. There are also many factors that are highlighted as justifications of bullying including; sexuality, religion, class, gender, race, personality, lineage, body language, appearance, reputation, behavior, size, strength or ability (Kuykendall, 2012). All these are rationalizations that are heighted as causing factors of bullying behaviors, which sometimes may even be carried out by a group of people. When individuals participate in an aggressive bullying incident; it is referred to as mobbing.
However, means not that there is a particular definition of bullying for there is none. In fact, in countries like the United Kingdom, there is no known legal definition for bullying. However, in the U.S bullying is defined in four categories , and there are even laws that have been passed all in effort to try and curb this vice. The four categories that define bullying in the United States of America include; verbal bullying, cyber bullying, physical and even emotional (Lieberma, 2012). Emotional bullying is sometimes referred to as relational bullying. Bullying is a very sensitive vice in schools and even in the work places as it condones use of different forms of violence, which may later have greater repercussions. It may also range from just one person disliking an individual to involving a group who may be willing to participate in the bullying act, which may be just as simple as spreading rumors.
Numerous researches have been done to investigating bullying and what may lead individuals to take up bullying behaviors. For instant, different researches have shown that resentment and envy are primary factors that promote bullying (Hile, 2013). In fact they are considered as the most common motives of bullying in everyday life. There has also been research carried out on the self-esteem of bullies, which has proved to show equivocal results. This means that the self-esteem of a bully also contribute to a big percentage why a person may become a bully or not. For instance, the research showed that some bullies can be classified as narcissistic and arrogant. They just bully their schoolmates or their neighbors just to have fun and feel powerful. Bullies can also belong in the category of people with low self-esteem and they may use the act of bullying as tool of concealing anxiety and shame. This means that there are bullies who use this malicious behavior to try and boost their self-esteem, by simply demeaning other people (Hile, 2012). Psychological research in the matter says that when people with low self-esteem bully others, it makes them feel empowered.
The above research says that bullying may occur out of jealousy. For example, there are bullies who bully people they feel attract too much attention and everybody likes them instead, of the bully in question getting all the attention or being liked. The research says that bullies can also adopt this behavior if they themselves were bullied at some other stage in their lives (Hile, 2013). Others argue that bullies often reflect the kind of environment they grew up in, and they may be repeating what the learned from their parents.
There are any effects of bullying on the individuals who are bullied and also on the society at large. For instance, psychologists have argued that victims of bullying are likely to experience numerous challenges in their social lives. For instance, doctors argue that they may lack social skills, become aggressive and even not be able to solve their social problems. They may also feel rejected by the society and even start thinking evil thoughts like committing suicide or taking revenge on their offenders (Sexton-Radek, 2005). This means that they may turn from being victims at one point and become intensely violent offenders. This point leads us to an issue believed to be brought about by bullying: school violence. There have been numerous incidents that have left many people in shock in our learning institution after some students have turned violent against their school mates and even their teachers and other staff. School violence cause a lot harm to all the stakeholders of the institution (Almond, 2008)). This is ranging from fellow students, teachers, parents, members of staff and everybody else who belongs to this community. It is disheartening to witness this vice, brought about by bullying continuing to terrorize our learning institutions regardless of how our communities try to preach peaceful coexistence. The last time that there was a comprehensible research done by the United States government on this vice was in 2007. This research was done by different groups representing the United States high school associations together with representatives from CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). The results of this research were alarming and shocking at the same time. It put the rate of students who carried potential weapons to school for violence acts at 5.9 percent (Almond, 2008)). This was only during the 30days that this research was being carried out. Other bodies went into the same field to do their own research for themselves for these results seemed to be way too farfetched. To their surprise, results proved to have been reasonable.
For instance, research done between 2005 and 2006 showed that 1.5 million crimes occurred in the United States of America schools (Almond, 2008). This meant that on percentage basis, 77% of United States school experienced crime at one time or another in that period. As if that was not enough, two years later this percentage still remained to be present. This is because; the latest research which was done in 2007 showed that crime high was still as high as 75% schools reporting incidences of crime. This equates the number of cases that were reported that year to more than 1.3 million cases (Almond, 2008). After 2007, there is no national wide conclusive research that has been conducted on crime. However, chances are that this number has increased due to the number cases that have been witnessed in the most recent years. A good example is the gun violence which rose to haunt this country in 2011 and 2012.
People have always associated crime with the mental as well as physical trauma that has been witnessed by student. However, do people really care what violence does to teachers? Teachers are affected by violent crimes in our schools and they face them on a daily basis (McCann, 2002). These violent attacks towards teachers range from; rape, insults, sexual harassment, robberies and physical attacks among other disrespectful acts. As a result, most teachers have pointed out many dissatisfying condition in their work places (Sexton, 2005). However, this means not that teachers are exemptible from violence related cases in schools. We have had cases where teachers have attacked and battered their students for no apparent reason as well as sexual harassment case, rape and threats among others (Sexton, 2005). However teachers have been more of victims when it comes to violence in our schools other than the offenders. As a result, many teachers quit teaching careers citing many reasons with inhospitable conditions being one of them.
According to McCann, Violent conditions that teachers experience in their teaching can lead to other negative factors other than job quitting. It can lead to their underperformance as well as negative attitude effects towards their teaching careers (Almond, 2008). This means that a teacher who might be affected to such extents would not be suitable for being entrusted to execute their duties in a classroom setup. Most of these scenarios happen especially if a teacher experiences constant violent attacks in his/her teaching environment. This experience can also be as a result of teachers who have been subjected to violent practices like rape, fights and other forms of violence (McCann, 2002). Teachers have also been subjected to practices like verbal intimidation by their bosses, students and even parents.
This scenario among others sometimes leads to teachers underperforming, ranging from experiencing attrition thoughts, demoralized attitude toward the teaching career among other things. For example, parents sometimes intimidate teachers into doing favors for their children. Students have also intimidated teachers in things like getting them to participate in activities like big soccer games or other kind of co-curricular activities; over something they might be holding a teacher (Sexton, 2005). This has happened in many cases, even when what a student or a parent holds over a teacher has nothing to do with school matters. From the example above, it is significantly evident that a teacher would be affected when he/she sees a student or a parent who has something on them.
In the years between 1996 and 2000, research put the number of teachers who were subject to violent in the U.S at 1.6 million (McCann, 2002). More than 600,000 of these violent cases included physical violence like; robbery, rape cases, sexual harassment as well as other simple and aggregated assaults. The other one million cases included minor cases like verbal abuses either on daily or on weekly basis among other forms of disrespectful violence. To make matters worse, research shows that teachers receive little to no support from the schools’ administrative bodies (McCann, 2002).
It is a shame to see that whenever violence cases arise in school, the public as well as the schools administration starts pointing fingers at teachers for poor execution of their duties (Almond, 2008). What people need to understand is that teachers are negatively affected by violence just like any other stakeholder in our learning institutions. Teachers should also be helped to overcome fears and other negative effects that come with violence. It is also tormenting and discouraging to witness different forums that are aimed at helping student to keep away from violence in the United States, while there is not even a single one for teachers who may have been affected by the violent scenarios that they witness in their teaching careers (Sexton, 2005).
Bullying is a vice that also exists even in different workplaces in the world. Sometimes it may even spark law suits or even explosive violence. Sexual harassment is one of the most significant forms of bullying in work places. A perfect example would be bosses who sometimes intimidate their junior employees into intimate encounters for them to keep their jobs. Other bosses sometimes even threaten to fire those who may demand for increased wages, better working conditions or question bad leadership (Hile, 2013). Such behaviors kill the morals and the code of ethics that are associated with the profession in question. To protect employees from such mannerisms, there are policies that are adopted by organizations to make sure that no employees is bullied or harassed by in their line of work for whatever reasons. However, when it comes to sexual harassment, there has been a contentious debate in the matter because the Supreme Court of the United States of America recently provided a new meaning to sexual harassment. This is upon close examination of the Supreme Court’s decision on sexual harassment on 17th June of 2013. On the said date, the Supreme Court sought to define under what basis a person is considered liable for sexual and racial harassments as well as the company that employs them.
For starters, the Supreme Court nullified the circumstances in which a worker can accuse a fellow work mate for sexual harassment, if they do not possess the power to reassign them in totally different tasks, hire, fire, demote or suspend them (Greenhouse, 2013). This means that in my policy, if a case of sexual harassment was reported, it would be up to the organization to either reassign the female or the male officer to a different task in order to avoid scenarios that no longer apply in court. The Supreme Court also reserved the meaning and the definition of the word ‘supervisor’. In the previous sexual harassment policies, companies were being held liable if a person in charge of another’s daily activities harassed his juniors. This meant that the definition of supervisor was considered as the person overseeing another’s day to day activities. However, in the new Supreme Court definition on sexual harassment cases, the terminology “supervisor” should only apply to a person who has powers to hire, fire, suspend, demote or reassign an employee (Greenhouse, 2013). In reassignment, a supervisor is defined as a person who can reassign a junior coworker into assignments that may be totally different from the previous ones. This is because a senior worker can also reassign a junior employee to a task although not an entirely different one.
This means that any officer who is in charge of another’s day to day activities, but does not have the powers stipulated above cannot be viewed as a supervisor. This means that he can only be viewed as a co-worker. The Supreme Court also ruled that if there was sexual harassment from a co-worker, the organization in question can only be held liable if there was unquestionable doubt that it was negligent in preventing or stopping the vice (Greenhouse, 2013). Looking at the recent Supreme Court decisions on sexual harassment, people who bully their workmates by intimidating or harassing them sexually, as well as the organizations that employ them may get away from with their habits.
On top of that, bullying also exist in social media, sometimes even leading to violence (Hile, 2013). For instance, with the invention of the internet people get to share information online with just a click of a button. To make matters worse, the whole world is connected by the internet making it even more stressful for a person who may be bullied online. It is not only the people in one’s school or work place who would get to see it, it would be the whole world who would get to see the whole bullying act making it even more humiliating. For example, since people have also gadgets that can hold information like mobile phones, a person can simply take a video or a demeaning picture of a person they dislike and then post it online. Others are even using photo-shopping technologies to make these pictures look weirder and funnier, something that would humiliate a bullying victim even more (Hile, 2013). When this happens and the whole world gets to know and judge a person only from what the internet says, such a person may not ever be able to recover from such humiliations and socialize with other people in the future.
These people will definitely have evil thoughts against those who humiliate them to the whole world, and they may just decide to revenge in the most violent ways (Kuykendall, 2012). This more so happens with teenagers who are always pulling pranks on their schoolmates, only for them to turn violent and go to an extent of man slaughter and even murder. When this happens, the public is always ready to prosecute a kid who commits manslaughter or murder without even investigating what may have pushed them to commit the act (Hile, 2013). In fact, our courts have even become stricter in dealing with violent juveniles where provisions like court waiver have been provided for. This is where a juvenile who may decide to get back at their bullies and end up killing or injuring them badly, is denied the right to be charged as a child. Instead, they are charged as adults in a court of law. For instance, there have been several renowned cases where juveniles who have been involved in explosive violent acts have been tried as adults.
Many states in the United States of America had started resulting into transferring juvenile cases to adult criminal cases from as early as 1997 (Lieberman, 2013). In fact, by the end of 1997, more than 28 states had started transferring capital offences from juvenile courts to adult criminal courts. This was done by passing statutory policies that had provisions to juvenile judges transferring sensitive cases to adult criminal courts. Other than that, other states have policies that allow statutory and federal prosecutors to prosecute certain cases in juvenile and adult cases at the same time. This is if the offences committed by an underage offender meet the criteria of both juvenile and adult court systems (Brooks, 2009). For instance, a minor offender my get involved in a violent fight, assaulting one party and killing the other in the same offence. The violence and assault criteria may be pursued in the juvenile system, and the murder charge can be pursued in an adult criminal system. This means that in such a case, the due process stipulated by the Kent v U.S would be waivered. The Kent v U.S requirements demands that an individual should have all charges facing him tried in a single court of law, as long as all the parties were aware that he was facing criminal charges (Constitution annotated, 1977). More than 15 states have already consented to this provision of trying junior offenders in both juvenile and adult criminal courts. The number of states adopting this provision is even expected to become higher as underage individuals continue involving themselves in aggregated violence activities. However, there is was also the Breed v. Jones of 1995 case which sought to see that a juvenile offender could not be tried in a state court and at the same time be tried in an adult criminal court (Constitution annotated, 1977). This case argued that it would be in violation of the Fifth Amendment if the American constitution. However, analyst argued that there was need to overlook this Ammendment due to the rise of violence among young people.
If we were to take case examples on where juvenile waiver to adult criminal court would apply would be from school shootings committed by underage students. This is because; aggravated student violence in school negatively affects the students who attend the institution as well as the whole school’s community (Lieberman, 2013). For instance, on 27th august 2012, a 15 year old student took a shotgun to Perry Hall High School and fired it in the school’s cafeteria. This student was identified as Robert Gladden and when he fired, he shot a 17 year old in the back. There was controversy on whether he could be tried in a juvenile court, but his case was waivered to an adult criminal court. Gladden was presented to court, and charged with attempted murder. He was then sentenced to 35 years in prison for the same. That was in February of 2013.
Another kid by the name of Thomas “T J” Lane took a semi-automatic rifle to Chardon High School and fired on a group of students. This incident took place on the 27th February of 2012. The students were at a cafeteria table, when Thomas opened fire on all of them in discriminatively. He killed three students and injured others. One student who was just 16 years of age died on the spot and two more boys died the following day from gunshot wounds. When Lane was arrested, he was charged in an adult law court for firearms offenses, murder and attempted murder. He was sentenced for three consecutive life sentences without any chance of parole.
Another minor by the name of Michael Phelps shot a 15 year old fellow student by the name of Chance Jackson in the stomach on 25th march of 2011. This incident happened at the entrance of Martinsville West Middle school (Lieberman, 2013). Chance Jackson had to undergo three abdominal surgeries that were life threatening. The experience itself was life threatening since Jackson is believed to have be suffering from (PTSD) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. His assailant fled the scene but not before he had dumped the weapon in one of the nearby fields. Michael was later arrested by police detectives and presented to court to answer to attempted murder charges. Michael case was not that different from the examples above as he was also sentenced to 30 years in prison. The sentence also included 5 years if probation, with the earliest chance of parole being set in 2026.
Looking at the above information, it is true that bullying is a vice that is alive and kicking in the United States of America. This vice has brought so many disadvantages, especially the escalation of guns violence in our learning institutions. However, trying youngsters as adults is not the solution of curbing violence in school, if the issues that push them to commit these acts are not addressed first. One of the main issues that need to be addressed in our schools, workplaces and in every other sector in the society is bullying. Bullying is one of the major causes of school and work violence, and also plays a significant role as a motive for many homicidal acts that we see in our society. Yes: we need to minimize school violence and other forms of grave crime committed by juveniles by acting tough through adult trails. However, this will not curb the vice completely if issues like bullying, which lead to violence among other malicious crimes in our society is not addressed.
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