Darkside: Preventing School Bullying


grandson's official Darkside cover

If you are looking for a “socially woke artist,” look no further. Jordan Edward Benjamin, a rock artist known by his stage name grandson, tackles challenging issues in America, from racism to mass shootings. Throughout his song “Darkside” in his album “a modern tragedy vol. 2,” the lyrics are dark and twisted, but one picks up on a tone of underlying empathy. What would motivate someone to want to pick up a gun and take out their anger on their classmates? 

I’d like to point out that I’m not here to excuse the actions of past shootings. I believe that if we are able to identify signs of potential threats, we can avoid more tragedies. But we walk a fine line of identifying potential threats and stereotyping, and through stereotyping, it can create even more tragedy. If you single out a kid, if you report them to administration and then spread misleading information about them around the school, this individual could become motivated to take action, whether it’s through taking out their anger on others or on themselves.

One of the lines that struck me the hardest was “They always picked on him in the class / He would wake up with anxiety attacks / ‘Til he put a semi-automatic on his back / He got murder in his eyes” to “He wore his silence like a mask / Now he’s making up for all the violence in his past.”

 As a Boulder High student, I have only witnessed a couple of fights, but nothing like Hollywood movies where students are slammed into lockers and get their lunch trays knocked out of their hands. However Boulder High struggles with a more lethal and silent form of bullying. After listening to the stories of some of the students here, it is clear that inconsiderate remarks, snide jokes, rampant rumors, and the constant abandonment of  “friends” plague our community. Those affected are left ostracized and isolated. 

An anti-bullying spread, by MDGovpics via Creative Commons.

For some students, school can be an escape from an abusive home life. Yet some of these individuals end up facing persecution from peers. One of the ways students can provide a safe learning environment is quite simple: be empathetic. If we can at least attempt to create a healthier community at school, we might be able to offer comfort to one another. Bully victims are between two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to a study by Yale University. And when we succumb to the darkness, it can feel as though there is nothing left to lose, something that can quickly become a lethal mindset. 

This doesn’t mean you should go around and listen to everyone’s problems; it just means that as students, we should be conscious of one another’s struggles and respect that we don’t know what struggles our peers are enduring. Through empathy and common courtesy, our academic atmosphere can thrive, and the collective student body can benefit. It’s easy to be swept away in being a bystander, but I encourage all students that if they see something, say something. If you are too uncomfortable directly speaking up at the moment, report the incident to a trusted teacher, as this is a good course of action. Let us avoid a series of “thoughts and prayers” by treating one another with compassion.

To listen to “Darkside,” click here