Let’s work to make bullying extinct

Reporter Julie Goldberg brought us some troubling statistics in Saturday’s edition: More than 180 incidents of bullying were reported last school year alone in Northeast Michigan school districts.

Those numbers also are likely underreported, as more than half of the area’s middle schoolers said in a state survey that they had been bullied on school property in the 2017-18 school year.

Northeast Michigan is far from unique in its struggles with bullies, and it seems bullying has been a problem as long as schools have existed, but kids today struggle with things none of their ancestors ever did. Texting, the internet and social media means bullying can be constant and widespread and can’t be escaped when the last bell rings.

It’s time we make bullying extinct, and we all — kids, parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbors, all of us — have a responsibility to make that happen.

Us adults need to love and support our kids and teach them — leading by example — how to show respect and compassion to others, even — or, perhaps, especially — those who are different from us or hold different beliefs. And we must monitor what our kids are saying and reading online.

Here are some tips for kids to stand up to bullying if they witness it in their school, according to StopBullying.gov:

∫ Change the subject, even telling a joke or otherwise using humor, to redirect a conversation away from cruelty.

∫ Bystanders can intervene as a group to show several people don’t agree with bullying.

∫ Walk with the person who is the target of the bullying.

∫ Be a friend. Let the person being bullied know you don’t agree with the bullying and you care.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)