By Colleen Cave
Recent reports from around the country suggest that bullying and violence are on the rise among school children following their post-pandemic return to school, and our school is dealing with and trying to combat the problem.
Recently, tensions in White Plains High School have been high. While this has led to physical altercations, an increasing number of fights, it has also spread to hate and bullying online.
One such incident of cyber bullying was dealt with in October when an Instagram account run by a student(s) was shut down. This account posted pictures of both staff and students’ outfits in school, making rude comments on their clothes and mocking their fashion decisions. A number of students found the account and helped in the bullying, commenting additional cruel opinions and sharing it with their friends.
However, a significant number of students weren’t okay with the horrid purpose of the account and started to post kind comments to combat it. Tenth grader, Saumya Sawant, spoke about the comments saying, “Most of the comments on the posts were questioning the account’s decision-making skills, and a few were outright insulting the people running the account for being ‘blind’ or whatever.” She also talked about the content of the account remarking, “I feel like there was also a specific bias in mind when they were judging the outfits because they all targeted outfits that might not fit into mainstream fashion.”
The staff at the high school is also taking action against the bullying and fights. Mandatory meetings with counselors started at the beginning of last week in which they discuss topics such as the code of conduct, what to do if you see bullying, and the impact it has on the individual and the community. The counselors also focused on the student experience, asking who had ever been bullied or felt unsafe either in school or online. There was also long discussion on safe spaces for students to bring up or deal with any issues.
Bullying is, and continues to be, a huge problem in schools across the country, but this incident is proof that a hateful opinion by a few, is not always shared by many. If you are experiencing bullying, whether it’s in person or online, remember that there are many people who will stand behind you and want to help, including fellow students and teachers.