Bullying is one of the most dangerous forms of harassment, and the problem continues to grow even though schools are making widespread efforts to eliminate it.
To understand the problem, it is important to realize that there are three categories involved in bullying. They are those who decide to commit the act of bullying, the spectators who witness the bullying and heroes who courageously defend the victims of bullying.
Some students at Tyler Junior College believe that bullying is only a problem in high school, and no longer exist in college life. According to Tracey Williams, counselor/learning specialist at Support services, this may be true as to the physical aspect of bullying. “We don’t have to allow someone who is breaking the rules, who lays hands on someone to attend college, so we can suspend them and so not a lot of physical bullying goes on,” said Williams.
There are different reasons why students engage in bullying. Rogers, a student at TJC who wished to remain anonymous, shared about an incident that happened in his younger years. He was a bully. One day he decided to bully a classmate. “I tried to beat him up, because I had an anger problem that day. It did not take much. He didn’t do anything to me,” said Rogers.
Bullying is sometimes a common practice among teenagers according to Marcus White, a nursing major. He recalled being one of the students who used to bully his classmates. “I don’t engage in bullying anymore. It occurred probably like in middle school,” said White. “I guess it was to try and make people laugh. The person’s reaction depends on who it was. I witnessed a big person pick on little people just because they’re small.”
College students and high school students can bully their classmates not only physically, but also by messing with their personal property. According to Shandon Devereaux, a TJC business major, she witnessed several times when somebody took someone else’s backpack or books, knocked their books down, talked about their hair, or made funny jokes about them.
“The motive of the bully is to make themselves feel good,” said Devereaux. “The victim of the bullying would be embarrassed. I observed that people did the same thing to the same person for a long time.”
College students bully in similar ways. Williams said, “I’ve heard instances of roommates hiding the person’s belongings, taking something and making them look around for it. They find it under the bed or a book is misplaced or those kind of things to try to embarrass the person.”
According to Ms. Williams, the victim of bullying observes that the people who are watching what happened decide not to stop it and stick up for the person.
“When they don’t take (stick) up for the person then that person feels rejected by everybody,” said Ms. Williams.
Stefani Melendez, a dental assistant student at TJC recognized that even though she had a friend that was a victim of bullying, she was too scared to do anything to rescue her friend.
While in junior high school, Melendez recalled when the captain of the varsity team decided with her friends to beat up a new student from Tennessee. They felt envious of her because she was pretty. One day, the new student was by herself in the restroom. “ I didn’t know what to do, so I just left because I thought, there was going to be some trouble and I didn’t want to be involved, said Melendez.
Nevertheless, not all students feel scared when they are watching a student being bullied. Devante Williams, a student at TJC remembers being courageous, and choosing to rescue a victim of bullying. “Yes, I witnessed when a person was bullied, and I told the principal. I was in shock and sad,” said Williams. “The student who was bullied was sad, mad, and crying. He wanted to get away from everybody.”
College students need to be aware that the way their roommates and classmates bully is in some ways different than in high school. Ms. Williams mentioned some of the ways college students bully others. (1) Students bully socially on Facebook, (2) Students purposely exclude someone by talking to everyone except that person. Or they’ll not include them in conversations, or invite everybody to go somewhere and leave that person out. (3) Students may avoid someone in an obvious way. They’ll go sit down to eat and sit away from that person. Or if that person comes to sit down, they’ll get up and move away. (4) It’s more for the social isolation or the embarrassment of the person. (5) Occasionally, they’ll have a nickname or a name that they’re calling the person in order to try to embarrass them around other people.
Recommendations if students witness somebody being bullied
1)If you have a cellphone, you can video tape the bullying incident. Videos are good evidence.
2)If the student wants to be discreet, he/she can record only the voices.
3)They can turn in the video to the Campus Safety and they don’t need to identify themselves because they don’t need to reveal the source
Victims of bullying at TJC need to know:
(1)Students over 18 years old can receive private counseling.
(2)If you are a minor, you need parental approval to receive counseling.
For more information you can call Mrs. Tracey Williams at 903-595-6581 the Support Service, Rogers Student Center – 3rd floor.