Throughout our society, Bullying has always been roaming around amongst many students in school. More than one out of every five students report being bullied in the year of 2016, According to the National Center for Educational Statistics. This is a serious problem for those individuals being targeted. It occurs within “The Book of Unknown Americans” which has several individuals that undergo this situation, this is a very dominant problem occurring throughout the many schools in our communities and environment.
We all have experienced being bullied at least once in our lifetime, it can sometimes be a hard situation to go through. Most of time we can’t avoid it. We can’t speak up because we’re too afraid of what might happen next. Mayor, one of the characters in the book is a teenage student who is always experiencing this at his school. In the book, he says, “I took a deep breath and shut my locker. I was used to his kind of abuse (Henríquez 15).” Students who go through this same thing can’t tolerate it and becomes a life-threatening situation. This causes students to harm themselves at times even more than what they have been, and ends up in a tragic situation. Those who are used to it, can take up anything the bullies say to them and go along with their day. Like Mayor who ignores them, he does this in the book which says, “…the most I ever did was ignore it and walk away (Henríquez 15)” That’s not a way to solve anything at all, that has never been the correct solution for anyone, it just makes things worse.
Bullies usually have some kind of problem within their life at home, most of times it’s their living conditions or problems within the parents that affect them as well. These situations can sometimes be hard for a teenage student to handle so they throw out at other students, they can feel better. Garrett, one of Mayor’s bullies form school, is experiencing a situation like this in his home which the book says, “…Garrett’s mom had a breakdown…Garrett’s dad started drinking so much that he lost his job (Henríquez 69).” I’m sure if anyone was going through his situation they would bother to start bullying other students because of what they are feeling and going though inside. They start feeling bitterness over themselves and target people for what they are feeling. Living with a single parent that is also drinking is a major issue for Garrett. It would be for anyone undergoing the same problem at home. Though, they shouldn’t target students who are vulnerable and those who can’t stand up for themselves. It’s a tragedy hearing about a student who had to take their life away because of some bully. It happens a lot in the U.S. students at a young age harming themselves because of what another student said or did.
A bully can cause problems within their own life, which can lead to psychological problems, interpersonal problems, and mental illnesses. According to the National Center for Injury and Prevention and Control, “Bullying has a serious and lasting negative effects on the mental health and overall well-being of youth involved in bullying.” It is why many of our students that are bullied, and who bully others have a negative impact in their lives while growing up. This can lead to depression, anxiety, sexual violence, poor attendance, etc. It is sad that many young students have to encounter these types of problems, it highly affects them. these are still in school too. Those who are bullied, and those who bully others are in for a change for their lives. It is why Garrett has all these different problems going on in his life, and in the book Mayor says, “Garrett didn’t have a single friend that I knew of (Henríquez 69).” He didn’t have anybody to interact with, he’s too busy bullying other people that could be friends with him and chooses to do the wrong thing. It’s obvious that his dad doesn’t care about Garrett, he lets him go do whatever he wants, with who ever he wants. Living in a single parent household affects the way he may act. If Garrett’s dad would’ve been a better parent around him, then Garrett, would have been a better person around his peers in school. He would also have others to interact with, rather than just being by alone all the time. Maybe if he had a mom many things would be different with him and at home. Him not having a mother also affects him greatly because after she left it probably left him depressed and was hard for him to cope with it.
Imagine being either Garrett or Mayor, being the bully or being the bullied must be difficult because in both ways they’re going through hard situations. But mayor is used to this type of stuff, for him he can tolerate it. However, for other students who are bullied might not stand or tolerate going through this. Those who are bullied will get to the point where they’ll harm themselves, which is not for someone to go through when being bullied. Garrett on the other hand, has to deal with an even worse problem in his home. For someone at his age shouldn’t be going through this type of problems, it is why he acts like this around his peers. Many students here in America don’t know how to cope with this type of situation because it’s hard for them and something they’ve never experienced before. This is where they think of harming themselves to try to get away with the situation, which is not where you want to end up in. There are other ways to get away from situations like that, some people tend to ignore those who bully them which is not a problem for most individuals in school.

Works Cited
Henríquez, Cristina. The Book of Unknown Americans. Vintage Books, a division of Random House LLC, 2014.

“School Bullying Is Related to Mental Illness and Suicide.” School Safety, edited by Noah Berlatsky, Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, Accessed 14 Apr. 2018. Originally published as “The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What We Know and What It Means for Schools,”, Apr. 2014.

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