Over the past two decades, we have witnessed a number of school shootings. From Columbine to Sandy Hook to the ones that we don’t want to remember, school shootings seem to have, unfortunately, become a norm.
Recently, several social media videos of the incident showed students running for cover after an 18-year-old student opened fire in an Arlington, Texas high school classroom after a fight broke out. An 18-year-old suspect, Timothy George Simpkins was said to have injured four people. Simpkins was granted bail and ordered to stay away from the institution as well from those who were injured in the incident, his attorney said.
Unlike the mass shootings that we normally read about, Kim T. Cole, the civil rights lawyer representing Simpkins, insisted the case was not a “standard-issue school shooting.”
“There are numerous school shootings that have occurred across this country which are tragic. All school shootings are tragic. However, in this situation, this was not someone who was just out to go and shoot a school and had made up their mind [and said] ‘You know hey I’m upset and I’m just going to shoot anyone I see’,” Ms. Cole told the media.
“I request the media correct their narrative with regard to what happened, and that you all respect the family’s privacy,” she said, as Mr. Simpkins was escorted from the jailhouse by two relatives.
“There’s a distinction between a mass shooting and a school shooting – these are people who are out to shoot multiple people and that’s not what happened.”
What Race Gets Bullied the Most
According to a story by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Black and Hispanic 6th- to 12th-graders in a large urban school were studied to determine bullying and victimization at their age. Students were classified as bullies (7%), victims (12%), bully-victims (5%), or neither (76%), depending on the number and frequency of reported experiences. For specific types of bullying (e.g., spreading rumors, excluding others), 4.5%-9.4% of students reported participation. Specific types of victimization (e.g., being hit or pushed, picked on) ranged from 6%-12%. Gender differences were not observed for general bullying and victimization, but physical and some verbal types were more prevalent among males. Blacks were more likely to participate in bullying and victimization, and these experiences seemed to peak in the 9th grade.
Fewer Asian-American students (17 percent) reported being bullied at school than did any other ethnic group. Over half of Asian-American students who report being bullied say it occurred in the classroom.
While it seems as though more Asian Americans had reported being bullied, but a subsequent survey revealed that 39% of African Americans felt like their reports of bullying were not taken seriously by administrators and other staff.
What Really Is Bullying
Bullying is a form of violence, plain and simple.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 3 bullying includes repeated harmful acts and a real or perceived imbalance of power between the victim and the bully:
Bullying can be physical (assault, intimidation, destruction of property), verbal (name-calling, threats) and/or psychological/relational (could be physical or verbal; may include social exclusion, gossiping, rumors). Bullying can occur in person or through technology (email, chat rooms, instant messaging, text messaging or images posted on websites or sent through cellular phones). A person can be a bully, a victim or both (bully-victim, sometimes called aggressive victim).
What to do When the School Won’t Listen
Sometimes bullying can mean daily beatings after school, serious harm, or even death. In Simpkins’ case, it was reported that he was constantly harassed, beat down and had money taken from him on a regular basis. While it was reported by the school, nothing happened to the alleged bullies.
What if your child has even retaliated, and then been the only one who ended up in the principal’s office? Perhaps the teachers have told your child to avoid the bully – to go down a different hallway or walk home a different way from school. What do you do if you’ve tried everything to stop bullying and the school just won’t help?
The anti-bullying website, StopBullying.com gives some suggestions:
1. Gather other parents as Allies
There is power in numbers. Meet with other parents and/or teachers. Bring the issue to the next Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting. Brainstorm together for ideas on how the school can help stop bullying. Volunteer to head up a committee dedicated to the issue. You can help real change come about for the whole school.