Too often, we as students see the headlines in the news of another tragedy that has taken place at a school involving a gunman and the death of young lives. And too many times it roughly is the same plot. A student who usually walks the halls alone, is quiet and standoffish seems to have enough and takes action on their peers. Many may think, ‘Well, what led them to commit such a monstrous act?’ Looking into the gunman’s history, it unfortunately always seems to be that the person responsible was either bullied in school or showed signs of gun-violence in the past.
Sunday, three students, who were also football players for the University of Virginia, tragically lost their lives to a classmate on a field trip. After looking into what unfolded that day, the gunman was someone who kept to themself and stayed away from everyone. His peers recall him acting abnormal the day of the shooting. Reports of the gunman having a concealed weapon violation earlier that year were also reported, according to The Washington Post.
There is a pattern and we as students see it. Whether it starts as hazing or as cyberbullying, the person responsible for these horrific acts always seems to have a past with bullying. As students who have gone to public school their whole academic career, bullying is a first-hand experience that we all have witnessed.
We as students should have someone in place systematically to check on us and care about how we are doing as a person, and not just as a student. But the issue is more complex than that because , not everyone wants to come forward with their experience either. We as students should act as a watchdog and report if we see incidents take place. We as their peers are just as responsible to acknowledge wrongdoings. The dilemma we see with this is nobody wants to be “the snitch.” But in hindsight, who knows if you might’ve just saved someone by reporting it?
On the flipside, schools should take bullying incidents more seriously. A lot of times school’s hands are tied because it turns into a “he said, she said” argument. Having a policy in place that has severe consequences for hazing, cyberbullying and other acts of racism or hate is important . Shedding light on counseling resources or faculty in place to help those going through mentally challenging times should also be the norm.
Regardless if you personally experienced bullying or have witnessed it, we as students need to stand up and take action. The effect you have on others is more impactful than you realize.