Ignoring school bullying will only make it worse
When will it stop? As of now, it looks like never. What am I talking about? Bullying at Kahuku High School. The majority of Kahuku High students are from that neighborhood or have family members in the school to look out for them. The year has ended and my sister, who has no family members at Kahuku High School since I have left, was bullied throughout the year. It had gotten to the point were she was too scared to tell anyone and instead did whatever the girls told her to do, which involved stealing.
One might ask how this can go on at one of the most respectable public schools on Oahu. In the bathrooms, you get cornered by three or four girls who say, "If you don't do this we will beat you up" -- and to show they mean business, they give you a couple of wacks.
You would think since it happens right there on campus someone would notice -- another student, a teacher, the security or some other authority figure on campus -- and put a stop to it. But that doesn't happen. Instead, the teachers, counselors and security guards turn the other way and say it's too late, they cannot help you, and they refer you to the local police station. How does that help? There is no criminal punishment for bullying, which means it will continue and victims of bullying have to suffer, which results in low grades, being scared of going to school, low self-esteem and pushing away other people who really want to be their friends.
You might say the bullying happens all the time, at every school, but things have not changed since I went to Kahuku, from 2000 to 2006. On the last day of seventh grade I was cornered by girls in the bathroom, who pushed me and smacked me around.
What did school officials do? Nothing. They didn't even suspend them. Instead, they told me, "At least it's the end of the year. If you want to press charges, go the police station."
I'm not the only one. Every year that I went to Kahuku, several of my friends and classmates got cornered in the bathroom and they were either threatened or beaten up. If you were lucky, a punishment was given, such as suspension, but the victim was given the same punishment. How is that fair?
If school officials continue to turn their heads as if they don't know this is going on, things will slowly get worse. Will the authority figures only turn their attention to the problem when one of the worst outcomes finally takes place? When a child who was a victim of bullying commits suicide because they feel that no one is there to help them feel safe at school, a place were a child should always feel safe?
Nalani Tarrant, a 2006 graduate of Kahuku High School, is a junior at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.
Join the Student Union
Student Union is a forum for Hawaii's teenagers to tell the community what's on their minds and in their hearts. It appears every Thursday. We welcome opinions of no more than 700 words on any topic. Please include your name, address and phone number. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax to 529-4750 or mail to Student Union, Editorial Page, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813. For more information, contact Jeff Finney at 529-4735 or email@example.com