Certain teens get a rush of power and a “high” when they humiliate other kids through bullying, reports the Detroit Free Press. “It’s having power over another person’s life,” one expert told the paper. “The ability to make someone afraid. To make someone cry. To make someone feel humiliated.” Some experts say it’s the taunting, the teasing and the name-calling that have driven some local kids to create hit lists at school. One of those kids has been in police custody since September. Andrew Osantowski, 17, who is expected to stand trial June 7 in Macomb County, is accused of creating a hit list and plotting to blow up Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Township. Schoolmates told the Free Press at the time of his arrest that he was the victim of near-constant bullying.
He’s not alone. From Red Lake, Minn., to Columbine High in Colorado, bullying is partly blamed for deep-seated problems that end in tragedy. Between 15% and 25% of U.S. students have indicated in studies that they have been bullied with some frequency, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. Yet verbal bullying continues almost unchecked. There’s a silent majority in our schools, watching bullies at work and never speaking up. Ironically, experts say, this silent majority could be the most effective tool in stopping bullying.