Cyberbullying Strikes Highland Students

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By: Alondra Vazquez and Makeen Yasar

Bullying is a nationwide issue talked about and discussed year after year in the school system. Despite Highland’s friendly and supportive student body, there are cases when ignorance comes out to demoralize the kids attending Highland. From racist remarks, to sexual objectification, social media sites are used to defame students through anonymous means for petty reasons.

Whether it be to gain control, to belittle another person, or to expel personal demons, bullies do their damage at the expense of the emotional well-being of others. The most recent example would be the @HIGHLAND_HOES_EXPOSED page, defaming the female student body of Highland.

Gentille Macisso, a member of Highland’s ASB and Senior Senate, was one of the girls targeted. “I guess the page exposed that I supposedly cheated on my boyfriend (now ex boyfriend) multiple times last year. I’ve never actually heard that rumor so I believe they just pulled it out of thin air”

Gentille already knew about how strong rumors could be. “People already have a preconceived notion of who I am and what reputation I have, so it’s easy to stick any kind of information into their brains”

We asked her if she felt objectified for being a target, she responded with a definite yes. “This page made me feel absolutely degraded and destroyed for days upon days. You see, it’s not about what happens on the Internet. It’s about walking by people and having them look at you like you’re disgusting. It’s about having kids you’ve known for years stare and whisper to their friends when you go into a room.”

When asked about how demoralizing this was, she replied, “You’re no longer a person, you’re a rumor to be gawked at and objectified. I’m now someone only good for sex, nothing else matters because of one little comment.”

“They were calling me a hoe on Twitter, hearing that from anyone hurts. Having it shared online through multiple people hurts more”. The HHS_HOES_EXPOSED page tweeted that Lexi was Highland’s, “biggest hoe”, verbally abusing her with false claims of promiscuity. “These pages are childish, false, and stupid.”

There has been a history of these, “reveal” pages in the AV. Earlier in 2014 there was another page releasing the nude pictures of girls sent in by reproachful boys. These pictures were open to anyone, which is a clear invasion of privacy rights, and illegal. Almost all pictures posted are listed under child pornography since the girls are under legal age.

So the question is, how do you stop something like this? If you ever see one of these pages or sites, block and report them immediately. These people crave attention and vibe off of the discontent of the people they abuse, so any attention given to them will only encourage them. When it comes to how we treat others, it’s important to remember the simple grade school teaching echoed through elementary halls; treat others the way you want to be treated. Mohandas Gandhi encouraged us to be the change we wanted to see in the world, and that starts by choosing to be stronger than hate.

In order to gain more information on bullying statistics and how to prevent it, go to http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/ All of us are people who should be treated with mutual respect and kindness. Don’t make life harder by making someone else’s difficult.

(image courtesy of efllecturer.blogspot.com)