Editor shares opinion on bullying assemblies

As a senior, I have had the opportunity of attending the bullying assembly four times, and every year it is the same for me. I enter the auditorium hopeful, and leave very disappointed. What am I hoping for? I am hoping for a change. This year I got one, but it was not the change that I was looking for.
According to the pamphlet we are handed upon entering, harassment is defined as “the verbal or physical behavior that puts another person down or shows hostility toward another person or group of persons based on their race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability.”  Race. Color. Religion. Gender. National origin. Age. Disability. Do you notice something missing here? I did. Sexual preference. I noticed it my freshman year and hoped each year that it would change, but I never spoke up about it. I am now.
I am a proud supporter of all those who are LGBT and it really irritates me that sexual preference is not protected under our bullying and harassment policies. It seems to me that schools are just ignoring the fact that there are LGBT students out there that are being bullied, and this is not an issue that is going to just go away with time. Schools need to take action and educate students about this issue. That it is not okay to bully someone based on sexual preference and that if you are being bullied because of this that you need to report it so that something can be done.
Even if you are not gay or lesbian but are being bullied for it, something still needs to be done. The amount of times that I hear someone jokingly calling someone “gay” or the dreaded three or six letter “f” word in the hallway each day makes me so sad and angry.
Who knows if the person that you are jokingly saying this to is unsure of themselves? You could be pushing them over the edge into depression and thoughts of suicide. High school is a tough enough time without someone judging or bullying you for who you are.
So now I am calling on the students, the school, the district, and even the nation to stop this bullying issue. Things are getting serious teen gay bullying is on the rise and with it so is teen gay suicide. The only way to end this issue is to educate. Students need to educate each other in the hallways when they hear or see the bullying. Teachers and administrators need to educate the student body as a whole that this is not okay and need to be more proactive about stopping this bullying. The district needs to include it in all of their bullying policies, and the nation needs to accept these changes and realize that this is an issue that is not going away. As a student body we need to accept those who are different and not tease them about their differences. We also need to stop using any hateful or derogatory words even nonchalantly. You never know who could be listening.


Words by Hannah Bothner|News & Features Editor