MEET VANESSA: A 12 year-old-twin with a call to action!

Hi, I’m Vanessa. I’m a 12 year old girl living in Redondo Beach, California and I am very lucky. I have grown up in a nice house with an amazing family, but as I’ve grown up, I started comparing myself to others. This came naturally  for me, because guess what: I have a twin. She is an amazing sister and I love having sleepovers with my best friend every night... But, it’s impossible to not look at her and then at myself and think of all the things she does better. The more I saw myself doing this the more I have been starting to realize that I shouldn't compare myself to anyone! We should support each other as we are! I have seen bullying at my school and it pretty much breaks my heart. It just so happened that in Language Arts I wrote an essay on bullying, so here is my "call to action"!

We would like to speak about a prevalent problem in today’s modern society; bullying. Bullying includes name calling, making fun of someone, exclusion, taking their property, physically hurting someone and more.  Before computers and cell phones existed, bullying could only happen face to face.  In many ways this was easier to deal with than nowadays, because cyberbullying has been introduced. People who cyberbully have the option to remain anonymous. It leads to low self-esteem, and in extreme cases, suicide.

    “There is no excuse for bullying,” says Marissa Barbaro, and we agree with her. No kid should have to go to school and deal with bullying on a daily basis, or even on social media, for that matter. Even though bullying will never completely diminish, we can work to make it a rare occurrence. People need to make a stand and work to prevent bullying with the determination of a person trying to completely rid this world of bullying.

Bullying must be put to a stop early in childhood.  In the article Did You Know it says, “This type of behavior [bullying] is most common in girls from the fifth through eighth grades, but it can persist into high school.”  If you can teach a person who bullies why it is negative for them and others, they will have a better chance of quitting.  When younger children see older people harassing one another, the will assume that it is acceptable.  Once these younger children grow up they are more likely to become bullies because they think it is natural. Kids will see the bullying and the cycle will repeat.  If bullying is not brought to a halt now, it will be a never-ending cycle that will spiral out of control, having a negative impact on the world.

    In the article Debate On Bullying it is stated that ”Nearly sixty percent of fourth through eighth graders said that someone had said hurtful things to them online.”  Cyberbullying is as unjust as face to face bullying. Bullies may have reasons but they will not be tolerated. As said in the article In Depth, Kids bully because they’ve experienced bullying or violence in their own families. These kids repeat the behaviors that they have learned at home. Other bullies receive insufficient love and support at home, or have parents that do not provide structure and discipline. These bullies take their frustrations with their home lives out on kids at school. Some bullies also may be envious or resentful of kids who are more successful in school.” Bullying is one of the main causes of suicide and depression among children and teenagers. This being said, children should not have to deal with bullying, but rather speak up and take action. If they were to “just deal with it”, as Jared Hoffman puts it, these children would be likely to suffer in the long run.

    Nowadays, there are many laws against bullying as a whole. But as cyberbullying is becoming more and more common, a handful of states have passed laws against it. These states include California, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, and  Oregon. In Laws and Customs, “ [California] Starting in 2009, all schools must suspend or expel any student who engages in cyberbullying. [Minnesota] In the state where thirteen year old Megan Meier committed suicide after being cyberbullied by an adult, a 2008 law makes certain instances of cyberbullying a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.”

    Overall, bullying is a horrible and unnecessary problem, but steps can and must be taken to help eliminate it. States are creating laws, people are being made aware, and schools are taking action.  Bullying needs to be stopped to allow the world to become a better place.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Vanessa! Thank you for standing up in your school against Bullying! You inspire us all at The Dance Free Movement.