Youth Violence

A Major Issue

The Problem

No matter where we are, boy or girl, youth violence has affected you one way or another. Could be verbal or physical violence, bullying has been a result of intellectual ability, appearance, ethnicity, etc. Many kids don't know, but bullying can lead to serious actions. For example, a student may eventually break due to constant pain, causing one to commit murder, self-inflicted pain, or taking ones own life. It is estimated 160,000 students every day skip school due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying and done nothing. On average, one suicide occurs every 17 minutes and it is also the 3rd leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24. You may not notice it or you may have, how many of you will actually make an effort to end youth violence? How many of you will actually try to help those in need? And how many of you are actually the bullies?

Their Stories

Now you see me, now you don't

She was a very pretty girl. Had her whole life planned. Where she wanted to live, what she wanted to do. Born into a rather wealthy family, she got everything she's ever wanted. Straight A student whom maintained a 4.0 GPA through her life. You may think she had a perfect life, but there was one small mole in all of this. Like many others her age, she was a victim of bullying. Soon after being accepted into USC with a full ride, she commited suicide. Now you ask yourself, Why would someone who had her whole life ahead of her end it in one swift move? Her particular bully has been inflicting pain since elementary. Always jealous of what she had, the bully decided her actions. For her school, getting accepted into a college with a full scholarship was a big deal. For the first time in her life, others paid attention and congratulated her. Of course her bully couldn't let this happen. Soon after finding out, the bully sent messages to the whole school spreading rumors about how she got into the school and her success, turning cheers to laughs and praises to insulting remarks. Shortly after, it was the end.

Kyle

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd." I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives."He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!" There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now.I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!" He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak. Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me and all the girls loved him! Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!" He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. "Thanks," he said. As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began "Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach... but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story." I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable." I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.


Organizations who help

Organizations such as Champions against bullying or Teens against bullying travel the nation speaking at different schools in order to spread the word about bullying. Several governments even have students take surveys on bullying in order to get an inside look on the situation. Some even have teachers teach about the result and consequence of bullying. Youth violence has increased over the years, but so has the awareness.