In our state, we have different institutions that function either as public or private. Among these institutions, there are various schools that are established for the purpose of disseminating and providing knowledge to students for excelling in their future endeavors. However, just like any other institution, schools face numerous challenges, one of the most important of which is an issue of conflicts, both external and internal, that arise between some students or within oneself due to one reason or another.
The existence of such conflicts emanates from bullying and mistreatments of juniors and weak student by the seniors, or the stronger students. Some senior students take advantage of their body strength to demand some favors from the juniors and on the juniors’ decline to such demands, make them suffer at the hands of those bullies.
Unfortunately, some schools do not have good methodologies for dealing with suchlike problems. Many bullies are enjoying the ‘freedom’ for mistreating other students without the school administration intervention. According to Leichtling (2011), it was an utter surprise for him to get to know that most principals and other schools stakeholders did not consider this problem as serious. Some of the bullies causing these problems had bad reputations on series of cases, such as harassment, tormenting, and abusing among other animosities. They ignored the advantages that were likely to come with mediation between the bullies and the targets, or the victims. This makes the bullies feel that they are above the rules and regulations laid down by the school, and therefore, they act superior to numbers of other students.
In such scenario, the principals, in fact, abandoned their responsibilities and, instead, blamed the victims for their failure to establish good relationships with others. This is not justice at all because these principals, even being aware of such practices, made the wrong moves that serve as a clear indication of failure to fulfill their obligations by running away from their responsibilities as leaders (Leichtling 1).
No one can deny that mediation leads to great achievements in bringing together conflicting parties, be it adults, political leaders, states, or students. Mediation is one of the tools of law described as an alternative dispute resolution. This method aims at resolving disputes that occur between some parties. At the stage of solving the problem, there is always a third party involved, referred to as a mediator, who under a well-established structure, time schedule, and dynamics facilitates the process.
Therefore, it is advisable for schools to embrace the mediation process so that the students can live harmoniously and concentrate on their studies not being afraid of harassment or abuse. According to O’Reardon (2011), there is a possibility of utilizing critical thinking strategies among the students in order to resolve conflicts that face them. The challenge behind this suggestion is in the deep understanding of argumentative means, procedural actions, and overall disadvantages of the situation. Once there is a good environment for such critical thinking, mediation and education blends well.
According to Singer, who is a workplace mediator, the main, or maybe, the only way to solve different conflicts is through proper understanding of interpersonal relationships within the organization. The efforts of all the stakeholders in tackling challenges and uncomfortable interpersonal relations can either speed up or pull down the mediation process. For instance, there is a close relationship between one’s daily life and his/her place of work or place where people interact on daily basis, be it an office, a school, or a church among others. Singer strongly emphasizes the importance of mediation in safeguarding the image of the school simply because depending on the reputation of the school, parents decide on where to send their child, thus bring profit to the school.
Lack of mediation for both students and the staffs can negatively affect the school through various drawbacks. Some of these drawbacks include a poor performance that is associated with poor teaching by unprofessional teachers, an increase of complaints by either the students or the staff in search for good audience, the deterioration of relationships, and low morale among other problems.
Therefore, it is very clear that mediation requires its proper implementation in our schools if we want to succeed academically and socially. Failure to utilize mediation lead to a number of negative effects on the target, or victim, making them feel helpless, mistreated, forsaken, and suffering from inferiority complex. For the sake of social cohesion, school authorities should embrace mediation wholeheartedly. It is not too late for the schools that have not fully embraced the mediation process to do so since the repercussions might be massive and sometimes irreversible.
Factors of suicidal risk assessment for student who are victimized
Suicide cases in the United States are not news since there are constantly hundreds of death claimers approximately 700,000 of which commit suicide annually. If we narrow down to the young aged civilians, suicide is among the top three death causing means. However, we must admit that some of these suicides are preventable and clinicians have a duty to raise alarm on such instances through recognition of some of the risk factors and ways of dealing with them at the earliest possible date.
Some fascinating results revealed a critical situation among the students. A study on epidemiology in the United States showed that 19% of the high school students were susceptible to the action. Among them, 15% had planned to commit suicide, 8.8% went further and attempted to commit suicide while 2.6% suffered a lot because of their attempted self-murders (Grunbaum 1-62; Kim & Leventhal 133).
Bullying has proved to be one of the most tormenting behaviors since the bullies have intentions to cause mental or sometimes even physical suffering to a targeted individual. As stated by Nansel, bullying leads among all the other serious public health problems; its prevalence may be as low as 9% but at a maximum of 54 % (Nansel 730-6).
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According to Kim & Leventhal (2008), because of harassment and abuse, victimized children may face multiple clinical problems, such as anxiety, depression, school phobia, and lack of self-esteem among others. Bullies are not exceptional when it comes to suffering from depression, which intensively affects family relations as well as the academic profile of the individual (Schwartz 181-192)
Students are in the category of the youths who sometimes face numerous difficulties in their school life. Bullying among the students is one of the most disturbing scenarios for students who befall the misfit of victimization. What has complicated the matters between the bully and the victim is the lack of intervention by the principals or other stakeholders. Bullies end up enjoying superiority over the other students.
To start with, one of the factors that may lead to suicide attempt among those suffering from multiple harassments at school can be helplessness and vulnerability of the victim. In some schools, students who are constantly bullied face much challenge when it comes to seeking assistance from the school administration. Since it is obvious that these two (bully and the victim) will be meeting later in the same school, it complicates the situation a lot making the victims feel afraid of future possible retaliation on the part of the abuser. Thus, bullies are often left unpunished.
The situation becomes even worse if parents ignore that their children feel sad, depressed, or distant due to their multiple internal conflicts caused by school problems. Some parents may consider such sentiments as pure exaggerations and groundless demands to transfer from one school to another. Having no place to run to and no single person to assist and cheer them up, the victims may come to the decision to kill themselves.
Thus, depression is one of the most powerful suicide catalysts. There is nothing more tough and unbearable than the depression and constant exposure to stress in life, especially when it comes to teenagers with unstable psychological behavior due to their developmental insanities. When such individuals, remaining in the state of extreme vulnerability, face mistreatments, abuse and humiliation, they simply lose hope and any desire to live since the situation becomes uncontrollable. What deepens such depression is the fact that these students are harassed for no reason. These students end up blaming God for such a torturous life, and when the situation gets out of their control and the stress is unmanageable, the student may attempt suicide, thus seeking for attention from parents, friends, and school administration. Failure to take correct measures may lead to a situation where students end up committing suicide to distance themselves from further possible humiliations and verbal or even physical abuse.
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We may expects that most of the bullies are always happy and satisfied with their superiority as they practice this uncouth behavior, but in contrary, they as well end up undergoing depression due to deterioration in relationships with family and friends, poor reputations, and disrespect for themselves. In addition, those abusers face an extra disadvantage of poor academic performance since bullying takes most of the time meant for studying. Some of the bullies have different patterns of social behavior depending on whether they are at school or at home. Therefore, parents of school bullies usually do not notice any changes of behavior in their children or any possible problems that they may be facing at that time. However, when academic results start deteriorating, parents demand explanations and may often suggest some form of a punishment for such a behavior. This mounts pressure on the bully, especially in cases when parents seek information from the administration. On realization that parents have information concerning his/her mistreatment of other students, the bully encounters hard time to explain to parents why they were behaving that strangely. As an alternative, such individuals may also opt to commit suicide.
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Reconciliation program that prevents suicides among victimized students
Considering the importance of suicidal cases, there is a sheer necessity for establishing some reconciliation programs that seek to unite both the target and the bully for the purpose of peaceful coexistence and averting possibilities of suicide. However, good consideration of some programs is vital since they may favor one of the parties hence the process becomes less important according to their expectations. In addition, there should be a neutral ground between both parties in order to facilitate security after the reconciliation process and for the sake of avoiding any further victimization.
The victimized student should be ready to accept the situation no matter how difficult it may be. It may be hard to accept some facts but for the purpose of facilitating well-being and peace among students who will be meeting in the field, classroom, or dining hall among other places it is advisable to accept so that you can move on.
As proposed by O’Reardon, critical thinking can form basis for reconciliation. If well formulated, it is likely to produce fruitful results since the bully gets a chance to reflect on his or her behaviors and arguments to understand the importance and possible results of their mistreatments. The aspect of negative thinking is put aside so that all the facts and substantive ideas are considered for the sake of achieving a harmonic ground for both the bully and the target. This is one of the ways to prepare students for possible difficulties in their lives. Utilization of critical thinking increases the possibility of solving all the conflicts that may come up later.
On individual basis, critical thinking will help prevent incidents of suicide attempts since through personal argumentation students thinking about committing suicide find that there is no actual need for such a desperate action. This way, the student is able to balance their strengths and weakness and, what is more, they get an opportunity to work on their weakness in order to improve general well-being (O’Reardon).
According to Singer, there are some steps that are vital for the completion of the reconciliation program. In the first place, the question that one needs to answer is whether a conflict exits between him/her and another party or just within himself/herself. This will assist in making the foundation for reconciliation since important decisions happen at this point. The victimized student will therefore accept that there is a problem that needs to be solved by means of intervention from the school authorities.
The next decision depends on what the parties want to achieve based on the short, medium, and long-term results. It is very critical to be able to evaluate oneself and determine what they want to achieve at the end of the program. More so, being flexible and open-minded helps a lot during reconciliation. Both parties should be ready to cope with the current situation and distance themselves from fixed ground that may spoil the productivity of the program. Both parties should be well prepared to emotional and social constraint that may hinder the process.
The next instance calls for evaluating one’s feelings towards the other party involved in the reconciliation program. Both bullies and victims should not ignore what they have in their hearts but should instead open their hearts and speak out what disturbs them. This paves a way to determine positive results likely to come with a successive reconciliation process.
Both parties should be optimistic about the result geared towards reconciliation. As a target, one gets a chance to offer their suggestions on how to compensate all the harm caused by mistreatment and abuse. This will ensure the success and satisfaction from the program. The bully also needs to speak out concerning his/her expectations from the reconciliation program. The bully can express the plans that will help him/her become a better person and earn respect and acceptance on the part of the affected individuals and even other students at school. Besides, the bully gets a chance to tell about some other unreported instances of bullying, which can grant them an amnesty before such cases reach the concerned authority.
This process cannot work efficiently without proper neutral supervision. The observer may contribute to the process through giving some pieces of advice that should be acceptable to both parties and through offering possible decisions, though not forcing them to the parties without their consents.
Lastly, the victimized students should think on the possible causes of the current situation. They should also take time to reflect on any unused opportunity that could have helped to avert the conflict. By so doing, the victim becomes aware of the mistakes done and the possible, though ignored measures. In addition, they get a chance to look back and blame themselves for having led to such a conflict while they could have solved it amicably. Upon accepting the mistakes done by the victim, there is a chance for both to forgive each other. This can only become successful if both are ready to forgive each other without any prejudice. This instance is the most crucial and tricky since it becomes the backbone of the reconciliation program. Sometimes the parties may get some documentation in confirmation of their agreements for future references. In case damages done to the targeted student, there might be some compensation on the part of the bully to show his or her repentance. For instance, this may be to purchase a destroyed item and give it back to the abused student. If some bodily injury were inflicted, the other party can cater the victim’s medication bills.
If effectively utilized, reconciliation program will meet expectations of the authorities resulting in the solution of the conflicts between different students. Positive results can stimulate other students to address authorities when seeking for help. As a result, no student will be subject to abuse, harassment, or humiliation at school. This will also play a significant role in reducing the cases of an attempted or committed suicide among the students.
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