As summer dwindles away and school starts again, kids around Elkhart County are preparing for a new year full of possibilities.
For many, the anticipation of new friends, teachers and lessons to be learned is cause for excitement. However, for children being bullied, the thought of once again walking through the hallways or going out to play at recess can cause anxiety and fear.
Scroll down to hear children speak about their experiences with bullying.
Nationwide, somewhere between 25 and 33 percent of students say they've been bullied at school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Unfortunately, some of the effects can be lasting. For example, depression and anxiety, as well as feelings of sadness or loneliness, that stem from bullying may persist into adulthood, StopBullying.gov says.
On top of this, it's not unheard of for bullying to result in real physical harm. Earlier this year, a 9-year-old student at Concord South Side Elementary was taken to the hospital with a concussion following what the school referred to as "a playground scuffle." The boy’s parents said he had been bullied before the incident.
While there are ample statistics that illustrate bullying's prevalence, as well as commentary on the issue by adults, all too often the voices of those who know the issue best fall by the wayside — those of the children who see bullying happen every day.
In light of this, The Elkhart Truth took some time to speak with local children at the Boys and Girls Club of Goshen about their experiences with bullying. Some were able to tell us about what it’s like to be bullied; others told us what it’s like to actually bully others (although, as you’ll hear, sometimes determining who’s a bully and who’s not isn’t so simple).
Listen to what the children said below, and let us know what you think can be done to prevent bullying in our community in the comment section.
"She came up to me, and she pulled my hair, she like punched me a bunch of times, and she threw me down the slide by my hair."
"When other kids strike at me, I try to strike back at them. But sometimes that just gets me in trouble and doesn't get them in trouble. They're the victims, and I'm the one that gets hurt."
"When people go through bullying, they want people to feel how they feel when they get bullied. That's how bullies are made."
The identities of the children interviewed have been withheld at the request of Boys and Girls Club of Goshen and parents. This was done in an attempt to keep any bullying they’re experiencing from intensifying.
Are you or your child experiencing bullying? Here are some resources for kids and parents: