By HALEY BOND and SIERRA DELOACH
HOMER, Alaska — Homer High School likes to think of itself as bully-free, but every school will have some bullies, regardless of the measures taken against bullying. It’s true that not much is reported here, and what is reported is taken care of. The biggest problem our school faces is including every type of person in activities, especially those outside the average student’s circle of friends.
There is more to bullying than meets the eye. It’s generally depicted as a pack against a single victim, though more often than not it’s one-on-one, and 64 percent of students in the U.S. will not report, according to the National Bullying Prevention Center. “I think that a lot of kids feel that if they tell somebody, it’ll get worse,” Homer High counselor Linda Hampson said.
Here at Homer High, it rarely gets to a point where faculty intervenes, because many students will take care of it themselves. Monica Stockburger explains that many freshman come to HHS with certain behaviors that are unintentionally hurtful, and many upperclassmen will take the time to straighten it out, when they see it.
Both Stockburger and Principal Waclawski agreed that most of the time, the student isn’t aware that they’re bullying.
Most people concur that the main types of bullying here are feuds between friends and ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, problems with individuality, and feeling rejected. They believe that many students just don’t feel accepted here.
“I would hope that everyone in school would feel welcome and accepted for who they are,” nurse Sharon Gorman expressed.
Gorman revealed that the problem she sees most regularly is depression, and that she sees a student on almost a weekly basis to talk about it. She encourages all students to seek counseling or other help for any such issues.
Victims can suffer from a myriad of side effects of bullying, such as lack of sleep and appetite, trouble focusing on school or other work, little to no interest in any activities within the school or community, and increased risk of severe anxiety or depression. According to a study by the National Education Association, over 160 thousand students miss school every day to avoid being bullied. “It’s like monsters in the dark,” Hampson added.