New Mexico among top 10 worse states for bullying, study says
EL PASO, Texas - Every seven minutes a child in the United States is bullied, according to a non-profit organization aimed at preventing bullying.
"I'm actually surprised it takes that long, I think it's probably even more, especially with all the social media sites," said El Paso resident Anthony Aguero.
Once bullying starts, it can last a very long time.
"I've been for 18 years - being bullied - and it's like rough in the edges. You pretty much become stronger after that, but it takes time," said El Paso resident Andrew Medina.
According to the National Voices for Equality Education and Enlightenment, one of the worst parts of bullying is that it comes in all shapes and sizes.
"Being called names, pushing you around, being quite you have to say it, 'I've been bullied, I need help,' because sometimes being alone doesn't cut it, you have to ask for help," said Medina.
Apart from name calling, bullies can turn to cyberbullying, and sometimes even physical violence - things that can leave a victim more socially anxious and with low self-esteem.
"Oh yeah, it takes time to find a heaven, a place where you can be yourself, relax and stay away from the bad side," said Medina.
A study by Wallet Hub found Texas ranked 26th among 42 states when it came to levels of bullying - New Mexico weighed in as seventh.
Aguero disagrees with the study's rankings.
"It's probably a little worse, they should have done a study in El Paso, probably would have been a little higher than that," said Aguero.
Medina said no matter how bad the bullying gets, you have to find a reason to keep on smiling; it's your best weapon.
"It's kind of hard, but you have to find something - have a friend or girlfriend, be strong, go to the gym, prove to yourself that you're better than them. Study hard and say 'hey, you know me, after high school you used to bully me, now you're nothing' - You have to prove to them who you are; or prove to yourself pretty much that you're better than them," said Medina.
The National School Safety Center reports that American schools harbor 2.1 million bullies - and 2.7 million of their victims.
On average this costs schools more than $2 million in lost funding and expenses because of things like suspensions, expulsions, vandalism and low attendance associated with bullying.