The Effects Are Felt Everywhere

Alexis Dorsett and Sophie Hoffmeier

Bullying is an everyday occurrence that happens everywhere, but in school and online settings bullying is more apparent. Oftentimes, bullying goes unnoticed for too long, and by then, the effect it has on the victim is detrimental with long-term consequences and changes taking place. In schools, bullying can be in plain sight without others knowing, and cyberbullying, with the aid of the internet, sees anonymous harassers bullying their victims behind the screen. 

At North Polk, there is a zero tolerance policy for bullying in person or online. However, students may not have the courage to report it, or even fully realize that bullying has occurred. Because of this, the lines between regular high school drama and bullying have been blurred, though, they can go hand in hand. Still, many students, whether they are the target or not, have a hard time coming forward to report bullying.

“I think we should really be focused on getting rid of the stigma that reporting is bad,” North Polk counselor Jory Houser said. “Our doors are always open, and we’re willing to listen to student’s stories of what’s going on.” 

Reporting bullying can be an incredibly difficult action, especially in a school setting. According to the Committee for Children’s website, there are several reasons as to why students hold back when it comes to reporting bullying. Some of the main reasons include, “the fear of retaliation of the bully, shame and feelings of powerlessness, and the inability to recognize subtle bullying.” These factors hold back students from reporting their situation or a friend’s situation to the proper authorities. 

“At my previous school, Carlisle, I was the assistant principal, and the assistant principal deals with issues surrounding things like bullying,” North Polk Principle Seth Poldberg said. “I’ve had a lot of experience dealing with those issues.”

The effects of bullying, no matter the duration, are prominent and long-lasting. They affect victims in many different ways, but there are many commonalities among the effects of bullying in the victims. 

The top statistic from a 2019 Centers for Disease Control study states that, “Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school”. 

Anything that makes a student become dysregulated, mentally or emotionally, really affects their academic performance, especially when they are being bullied at school,” Poldberg said. “It’s tough for us educators to get these students back into a learning mindset after events like that happen. We use some strategies to balance our students in flex time.”

Cyberbullying has become an unfortunately popular method to bully. It provides a mask between the online bully and their victim, and this also makes it harder to uncover the bully’s identity.

“Most of my experience has unfortunately been dealing with bullying social media,” Poldberg said. “Someone can create an anonymous account and post something that’s not true about a student.”

Bullying has existed for a long time; it’s been largely predominant in schools, and more recently, has swept across the internet. No matter where it takes place, bullying has the same detrimental physical, mental, and emotional effects. More action must be taken to prevent and report bullying to make North Polk a happier, safer place for everyone.

One of the things here is just being kind, especially this year; it sounds so simple. With the pandemic and uncertainty, just simply being nice goes a long way,” said Poldberg. “Be a good person, be kind, and step up to talk to an adult. Stick up for those who are being mistreated.”