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'No one feels safe here': Students at Lee's Summit High School share impacts of ongoing bullying

Students at Lee's Summit High share stories about bullying with KSHB 41 News.
Posted at 11:26 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 00:41:22-04

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — A few students at Lee's Summit High School told KSHB 41 News they feel scared due to bullying they say is ongoing.

“I’m always scared one kid is going to go further than just calling kids slurs and trying to trip them to class,” said A.J. Musgrave, student at Lee's Summit High School.

The students say not only are they scared to go to school but once there, they are even scared going to the bathroom in fear of being bullied.

“It feels like going to an empty den, you don’t know what's inside, like it could just be nothing or it could be wolves out to attack you — it’s absolutely nerve wracking,” said Evan Gammons, student at Lee's Summit High School.

Gregory Nawalanic, clinical psychologist with University of Kansas Health System, says the nerve wracking feeling Gammons described can really impact a child at such an early age, whether they have been bullied or witnessed it.

“Initial uptick in anxiety and depression, and then if not dealt with in some adaptive manner, this is something that can produce suicidal ideation, even to the point of making plans to carry out a suicide,” Nawalanic said. “It’s impacting everbody’s daily existence because even if you’re not the target or you are not the instigator, you kind of wonder at some point, 'Is it going to turn on you?'”

On the other hand, Nawalanic says the students who inflict bullying onto others typically have seen some of their own traumas at home.

"Someone who is so insecure, who is so scared based experiences that they have had in their own home that have led them to a sense that they're really not worth much, they feel invalidated, they’ve maybe seen or witnessed abuse or domestic violence in their own home," Nawalanic said. "Or there is just someone who is so afraid of being bullied they're going to take the first shot to make sure they are not victimized."

However, Nawalanic says the advancement of technology has caused this issue to become more pervasive, and it’s up to the parents to get involved in their child’s life at home and online.

“You need to be allowed to follow them to be able to see what they are posting, what they are commenting, who is commenting on their page and really getting a good sense of what is going on in their life outside of the home,” Nawalanic said.

Nawalanic says it's imperative students feel comfortable talking to their parents about what goes on in school to have some sort of outlet at home to ensure they can get the education they deserve.