The unfortunate connection between suicide and bully victimization …
This is a topic that is very painful for me to talk about. Each life lost is one that we failed to reach in time. While it does not serve to blame ourselves for these losses, it does help if we move forward with the idea of making a real change in the lives of students and within the school environment where they live and where they sometimes suffer in silence.
THE THINGS WE DON’T SEE
Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death for children under 14 – under 14 years old! That’s heartbreaking. Hanging is the most common method used by these students. What’s more heartbreaking is that according to The American Association of Suicidology, AAS, the suicide rate has increased for students aged 10 to 14 by 50% over the last three decades. This is an epidemic. Often, we do not connect the warning signs until it is too late. We simply do not expect young people to do this even with the statistics showing it is on the increase for younger and younger students.
The Yale University of Medicine concluded that 13 countries in their study on the subject found an apparent connection between suicide in young people and bullying. Now that we see what we have not seen before, what can we do?
THE THINGS WE DO SEE
1 in 7 students in grades K-12 is either involved in bullying behavior or is the victim of bullying. Unfortunately, because of the scrutiny given to bullying, many schools are motivated to re-categorize referrals related to bullying behavior in order to avoid the difficulties related to a higher reporting rates. As a result, the official school reports do not always reflect the experiences of the victims of bullying within a school environment and this makes the issue tougher to address in a direct way.
56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying. We are seeing it. 15% of school absenteeism can be directly related to fears of being bullied in school. 71% of students report bullying as an issue in their schools. When we hone in on 4th through 8th graders, the rate of students reporting being victims of bullying in their school experience rises to 90%. There are high levels of reported bullying with these younger students at the same time that the suicide rate for this age group has been in a sharp incline. At the same time, 54% of students involved in bullying behavior report witnessing violence at home. And according to bullying statistics from National Voices of Equity, Education and Enlightenment, 1 out of every 10 students who eventually drop out of school do so due to repeated incidents of bullying.
THE THINGS WE CAN DO
This is a problem that needs to be addressed, but administrators and other school personnel need to have the resources and support to address the problems directly and effectively. ALL IN GENERATION can help. Clint Thomas of ALL IN GENERATION is a powerful youth speaker who can connect with youth culture and empower students through school assemblies and curriculum support to make better choices that move away from violent choices, self-destructive behavior, and a by-stander attitude toward bullying. His influence on schools has shown a marked decrease in disciplinary referrals and absenteeism as a direct result of getting through to students in a way that brings about real change for individuals and the school environment.
We all choose a career in fields of education, youth work, and leadership because we feel called to something. We want to help. We want to protect. Dealing with the reality of the issue of bullying is an important part of that calling.
ALL IN GEN can provide the resources and support to allow you and your staff to meet this important calling. Use what we offer to help make a difference in your school environment.
All In Generation is the nation’s leading resource for School Assemblies and Character Seminars. Check out the rest of our website to view supportive resources, gather solutions, and find out more about bringing us to your local school and community.
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Bullies and bullying can be prevented by the slow and methodic process of mentoring and coaching from a caring mindset. Each and every young person carries a wealth of potential. It’s up to us to see, call forth, and empower that potential. Your diligence and long hours toward maturing this generation are not in vain, but rather are changing the world.