Category Archives: Bullying

As seen this week on TheNextFamily.com (5/9/2012):

“Often the right path is the one that may be hardest for you to follow. But the hard path is also the one that will make you grow as a human being.”
Karen Mueller Coombs, Bully at Ambush Corner

This is hard to talk about.  It is embarrassing, humiliating, and somehow a reflection of how my parenting has somehow taken a wrong turn.  I am one who has no tolerance for bullying – EVER.  When my oldest son was bullied in high school by some redneck kid (because his mom is a lesbian), I took action, went to the school, talked to an administrator, and it was straightened out and over.  When my youngest son was bullied this year in middle school by a snarky girl (because his mom is a lesbian), I took action, called the teacher, who spoke to the counselor and together they dealt with it.  So imagine my absolute horror this morning when I receive a call from the assistant principal of the middle school:  my son was in her office…for bullying. 

She proceeded to tell me that he and another student had gotten into trouble during band class for talking too much, and when they didn’t stop, they got sent to the office.  The other student had told my son to “shut up,” but when pressed for the reason, the truth came out that it was because my son had been picking on him for weeks during band.  Teasing him and making fun of him when he got notes to the music wrong, or for making a mistake while they were all playing.  I hung my head as I heard her tell me that while my child had told the truth and admitted his role, that it was indeed a form of bullying, and she had just suspended another for ten days for the same thing.  What do I say?  What do I do?  I was immediately at a loss, and wanted to crawl under a rock.  I told her that I absolutely did not understand where it was coming from, considering he had gone through the same thing just a short time ago in the school year.  She also knew about the previous incident, and therefore didn’t quite understand herself.  So she said that she wanted to put him into in-school suspension for today, and for the two days following; I told her I was absolutely behind her one hundred percent.  But now I have to figure out what to say and do when he gets home – there has to be consequences here as well.  I am just at a loss. 

I have thought about it all day, since I got the phone call.  When I called Erikka, she was at a loss as well.  We have both seen how he can be with other kids, and have had talks with him about the way that he treats others.  We know he is very intelligent, but with that comes the problem that HE knows he is very intelligent.  We have seen and heard him with other kids, talking down to them like they are dumb, or not as smart as he.  So now he is apparently talking down to kids in band, speaking to them like they aren’t as good as he is as well.  After years and years, for as long as I can remember, he has been taught tolerance and to treat others as he would want to be treated.  We don’t believe that we are better than anyone else, so I’m not sure where he would obtain this arrogant attitude.  It is very troubling to me, as his mom, just as it was troubling when he was being bullied by someone else.  I absolutely cannot abide my kid being THAT kid – but how do I stop it?  I will, of course, call his dad this evening, and I am sure that he will want to talk to him.  It just seems that no matter what any of us say to him, or take away from him as punishment, nothing seems to get through.  I think this is what is the most disturbing to me – consequences don’t seem to phase him.  How do I get through to him, to make him see all of the potential that he possesses in that magnificent brain, if only he would use it for making himself into a productive and successful person on planet Earth?

What do you do when it’s YOUR kid who is the bully?

I tearfully told him of my disappointment, embarrassment, and disgust over his actions.  I told him about the little boy who lived a few miles from us, who killed himself three years ago at the age of nine, because he was bullied.  That boy would be twelve today, and in the sixth grade.  I told him that I could not tolerate my child being part of this horrible problem of bullying in this nation.

“Noah, you absolutely cannot be part of the problem, and it is a very big and very real and very wrong problem.  You MUST be part of the solution.  That kid that you picked on may not have very many friends, and what if you were the factor that pushes him to suicide – you don’t want to live with that kind of guilt.  Every one of those kids that have killed themselves over bullying experienced someone who was part of the problem – the bully.  You don’t want to be that person.  You can be part of the solution.  You can be his friend.  We can never have too many friends.”

“You will never reach higher ground if you are always pushing others down.”   ~ Jeffrey Benjamin

I Hate You, Mom

As seen this week on TheNextFamily.com (3/28/2012):

So life has been buzzing along over here at Dodd-Hise Paradise at breakneck speeds it seems.  Noah had his twelfth birthday, and seemed to go from loving, sweet kid to alien creature, yelling at me and such.  But I will get to that.  Harrison just turned five months old last Saturday – oh my God!  Five months old!  She is doing so much, and a lot of things well in advance of when she is supposed to hit those milestones.  First she was rolling over onto her back, several weeks early.  Then she rolled from back to tummy, like, almost two months early.  She started blowing raspberries at us, which is absolute GREATNESS.  She’s trying really hard to sit up by herself, but just not quite there yet.  Yes, our child is an absolute genius – you don’t have to tell us…we know this.  We’re going to start sign language with her soon, and she will soon move into her big girl carseat – big, exciting stuff, huh??  In the next few weeks we will be filing the petition for adoption and get THAT ball rolling – so she should be legally mine in the next few months!  That will be a whole new series coming up, so be looking for it!

Houdini has figured out how to get out of her bouncer straps….and very proud of it!

Now back to Noah. My goodness. As I have written about before, he has been having some school issues, with grades and apparently some bullying. So okay, we can deal with that. He had a good week home with me for Spring Break, with a trip to Bass Hall in Ft. Worth a few days before his birthday to see the Broadway production of Young Frankenstein. On the day of his actual birthday, he wanted to go to Main Event for bowling, laser tag, and games. We invited a couple of my sorority sisters’ kids to come, and we were soon there, having a great time. So here he was, finally twelve years old. His birthday came and went, and then it was back to school as usual. Oh dear Lord baby Jesus. By the end of that first week back, I had already gotten an email from a teacher regarding Noah’s work, and the lack of its presence in his (the teacher’s) hands. On Friday, after he came home, he told me that he had homework that was due on Monday, in one of the classes that he has been doing poorly in. So while he wanted to do his homework over the weekend, I wanted him to go ahead and get it done on Friday night. He did half of it and decided he was done and going to go to his room to read. This prompted me telling him to go back and finish, as well as Erikka – all to no avail. He ignored us both, saying that he could do it the next day. I finally got to the point where I had had enough, so I went into his room and took his Kindle away (new birthday gift – possibly a big mistake on my part). Let’s just say that he wasn’t happy. He blew up! He started yelling and screaming at me, and I just kept telling him that he couldn’t read on the Kindle until he decided to finish his homework, whenever that was. He yelled some more, started crying, and finally told me that he hated me. Oh my. He hated me. I felt that pain in my heart that I did not remember experiencing before. Had Nicholas told me that he hated me? I couldn’t remember. I turned around and walked out, went to the kitchen and told Erikka what he had said. I almost cried. But instead, I turned around and announced that I was going back in, to take something else away. Well, THAT turned things a little uglier for a few minutes. I walked in and proceeded to take away his other big-ticket birthday item: the new, red guitar. Ohhhhh the screaming! He then started ripping the pictures off of his wall – that HE had drawn. I looked at him and said, “um, this doesn’t hurt ME you know. You are the one who worked hard on those drawings. And you are the one who will have to pick up the trash and throw them away.” I didn’t know what else to do or say, so I left again, handing off the guitar to be stashed.

But ever since I picked him up yesterday afternoon, he has been great.  Very loving, very huggy, done his homework, doing what he is supposed to do.  I’m telling you, the mood swings are CRA~ZY!  There is no way that I could have been like that at twelve years old!  My mama would have snatched every hair out of my head!  I’m already a little scared of when Harrison gets hormones…yikes!  But I have survived one kid telling me that they hate me, so I guess I’m a little ahead of the game, eh?

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Mom, I Want a Facebook Page

So last week I wrote about our struggles that we have been having with Noah and his schoolwork.  That same day that my blog went live, he had a terrible day that poured over into his afternoon at home, and on into the evening and night.  He was in a foul mood, and I didn’t help matters by making him sit at the dining table working on assignments that he was missing in one of his classes – by God he was NOT going to take any more zeroes on my watch!  The evening dragged on, and his mood deteriorated.  I kept asking him what was wrong, and his attitude just got worse, until finally he was in tears – only I didn’t know why.  Bedtime of 9 PM came and went, and he still sat, crying, at the dining room table.  By 9:30 PM, I think he was done with his work, but still crying, so I finally told him to just go to bed.  I asked him, again, what was wrong, but only got tears.  So I told him again that if he wasn’t going to tell me what the problem was, then he needed to just go on to bed, and I got up and went back into the den with Erikka.

A few minutes later, he came into the den and, still crying, sat down beside me and just melted down.  My eyes got big as he leaned on my arm and sobbed; so I knew that this was more than just our crackdown on him for his schoolwork.  After a few minutes, when he settled down a bit, he finally got it out that he was tired of being picked on and pushed around by kids at school.  We asked if he meant in the hallway, in classrooms, or after school outside.  He said sometimes in the hallway, in several classes, and sometimes after school.  Now, I knew that he had been made fun of since elementary school for being smart, for wearing glasses, for having a big overbite.  We, all of his parents collectively, have told him to pay no mind to those who make fun of him for being smart, because when he is finished with school, it is unlikely that he will see a majority of them again in the future.  So okay, now I am going to have to go back up to the school and make ANOTHER report of bullying going on.  I have absolutely NO tolerance for bullying, so I’m not one of these parents who will say, “Oh just ignore it and walk another way.”  Aw hell no!  Stop it from happening!  Anyway, I digress.  Back to the tearful chat.  Noah continued, after telling us he was tired of being picked on and pushed around.  He said that in one particular class, there is this “kid” who threatens to hurt him regularly, and tries to trip him every day when they are walking out of the classroom.  This “kid”?  A GIRL.  Oh yeah, that makes it worse.  When he got to telling us about what this girl has been doing, he got all worked up again.  He seemed absolutely distraught to tell us that earlier that same day, the girl had taunted him…about ME.  Ohhhhhh.  Erikka and I glanced over his weeping head, and I thought, “Ah.  Well it has finally happened.”  I instantly went back to when it happened to Nicholas, but he was in high school, so the redneck who did it to him had a pretty classless name for me.  So now Noah has had it happen to him, and I braced myself for it.  I said, “OK son.  What did she call me?”  But he wouldn’t answer.  “Did she call me a dyke?”  No.  “Did she call me a lesbo?  Lezzy?”  No.  I was trying to avoid the worse ones, like what the kid had said to Nicholas.  “Noah, did she call me a….lesbian?”  Yes.  He looked mortified.  I had to keep myself from laughing.  “Um, Noah.  Do you know what that word means?”  Yes.  It means I am married to a woman instead of a man.  “Noah, it isn’t a bad word.  It isn’t an ugly word or ugly name that she called me.  It is what I am.  Now, she, I am sure, meant it to be ugly and was trying to be ugly, but you should not take it as such.”  I asked him how he responded, which is also important, and he said he just told her that she “crossed the line.”  We said that it was a very good response, rather than being hateful in return, or starting a confrontation – neither of which would make her see her wrongdoing.  I told him that I would take care of it as best I can, considering that I couldn’t go to the school and thump the ignorant little twit in the head!  We went on to explain to him about bullying, and that he cannot respond to other people’s bullying behavior by acting the same way.  I told him that if she says anything about me again, or about our family, that he needs to respond with, “Hey, you’re crossing a line.  That is my family you’re talking about, and I don’t make cracks about YOUR family.  How would you like it if I started saying things about YOUR mother?”  By a little after 10 PM, he had calmed down and was ready to go to bed.  He seemed a bit better, having gotten it off of his chest, and awoke in an entirely different frame of mind, I think.

Who would want to bully THIS cute kid???

Who would want to bully THIS cute kid???

I got up the next day, and after seeing Noah off to school, I called the teacher of the class that he shares with this girl.  After I explained to her what Noah had told me, she seemed appalled that this had happened in her classroom, under her nose, and she had not seen or heard any of it.  She said that she had gone through the same thing with her own two boys, where kids were saying the same thing to them about her.  I’m not sure if she was saying, in a roundabout way that she is also a lesbian, but it doesn’t matter; she sympathized and wanted me to know that she found it to be unacceptable behavior.  She said that she was going to have a “character development” lesson in class to address bullying and judging each other, and make sure that they all knew that it wouldn’t be tolerated.  She also said that she was going to mention it to the sixth grade counselor, and give her the heads up that I would be calling.  Apparently she did, because at the end of the day Noah told me that the counselor called him in to discuss what had happened – which made me nervous since I didn’t get a chance to talk to her first.  How was I to know whether or not this counselor would have a personal view about families like ours that would NOT help our boy?  Fortunately, he said that she told him that he needed to ignore this girl’s meanness, because there are all kinds of families, and that his is perfectly okay, because everybody can love whomever they want to.  Bravo Ms. Counselor!!  And thank you, thank you, thank you!  She also told him that when they return to school after Spring Break, she intended to have a word with the girl, and put some fear into her….hahahaha.  Hopefully it will be a good “come to Jesus” meeting – oh to be fly on the wall in her office THAT day!

* * * * *

This morning Noah told me that he wanted a Facebook page.  My reaction?  HA!  Hell no.  No way.  No Facebook page until you are in high school.  He asked why, and I had to explain to him that as much as he hates being bullied at school for being smart, or because of me, that it is worse when you have a Facebook page.  I told him that kids now will not only bully each other at school, but that it doesn’t end there; they do it online, on Facebook, on instant messaging – and they do it meaner in the faceless arena of the Internet.  As I said before, I have NO tolerance for bullying.  I have seen kids do it unmercifully to each other, and as time goes on, it gets worse and worse.  Kids are now killing themselves because of bullying that has happened to them.  Some of those kids are gay and being bullied because of that; but others AREN’T gay, and still being bullied to death!

This is the link to a blog I wrote a year ago, last March, about bullying (in case you are interested):

https://domesticdyke.com/2011/03/07/how-many-bullies-will-it-take

If you, or someone that you know, is being bullied, don’t sit by and wait for it to get better.  Do something.  Call someone.  Step in and say something to the bully, if you must.  Don’t let someone that you love, or even someone that you remotely tolerate, be a victim of bullying.  If they won’t listen to you, then direct them to someone that they might listen to.  The Trevor Project is a great resource for crisis and suicide prevention, particularly among LGBT youth.  Too many lives have been lost as a result of bullying.  We must ALL do our part to prevent even one more.

http://thetrevorproject.org

The Trevor Lifeline
(866) 4-U-TREVOR
(866) 488-7386
Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
All calls are toll-free and confidential.

Remembering Today & Tomorrow….and Always

I went back through some of my older blogs/notes to find this one that I wrote two years ago.  May we always remember all of the lives that were lost to deranged mental illness and hate.

* * * * *

Today marks some anniversaries that I am sure most of us would rather forget. As I was watching a recorded show, ironically about the dangers of cults and extremists, it just so happened that one of the cults and their horrible, tragic end was today.

April 19, 1993 – the Branch Davidian compound, Mt. Carmel, in Waco, Texas was burned to the ground. David Koresh, the cult leader, and 73 others died that day.

April 19, 1995 – Timothy McVeigh sets a bomb at the Murrah Federal Bldg. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There were 168 adults and children killed that day – many lives were terrorized as a result of huge amounts of hate. McVeigh has since been executed by lethal injection.

April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School school shootings; 13 students/teachers killed, plus the suicides of the two shooters. (this tragedy took place, purposely, on the date of Adolf Hitler’s birthday)

And let’s not forget the latest April tragedy, whose anniversary was a few days ago:

April 16, 2007 – There were 33 college students killed at Virginia Tech University, including the lone shooter.

One of the darkest calendar weeks of the entire year. There has been a lot of death and destruction surrounding the dates in this 4 day span. Just remembering and thinking about all of those who lost their lives and the families that were left behind to cope with it. The least we could do is to never forget, right?

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – The Ultimate Form of Bullying

(reposted from October 21, 2010)

“Our Founding Fathers would shudder to see how easily forces outside the mainstream now seem to effortlessly push some Senate leaders toward conduct the American people don’t want from their elected leaders: Abusing power. Inserting the government into our private lives. Injecting religion into debates about public policy. Jumping through hoops to ingratiate themselves to their party’s base, while step by step, day by day, real problems that keep American families up at night fall by the wayside here in Washington.” ~ Senator John Kerry

Yes, our Founding Fathers did not come to this land, establish a government, and create a new way of life out from under the religious tyranny of Britain just to have a separate tyranny rear its ugly head and root itself into its citizens lives today.  It hasn’t been THAT long since they came here, in order to form a “more perfect union.”  A more perfect union??  HA.  This country is so divided, so split over issues that are personal and private, that for any government leader to even utter the words “a more perfect union” has become a slap in the face and an insult to the fomer.

In the last few years, the government has decided that it needs to insert itself into the private, personal, and intimate lives of its citizens.  Some states have passed laws “allowing” same-sex marriage.  Allowing?  How is THAT right?  How is THAT equal?  How is THAT fair?  These states have passed laws allowing it.  But then, those states had whiney-baby citizens rise up and declare that it is “abnormal,” or “an abomination,” or “sinful, evil.”  The state’s government leaders can’t have that, so they allow those who don’t like it to vote on it.  That person down the street was now given the power and authority to vote and make decisions for MY personal life; for YOUR personal life.  How is THAT right?  How is THAT equal?  How is THAT fair?  Rights are granted; rights are taken away; trials occur; appeals are launched; rights are granted again.  Why?  Like Senator Kerry said:  “Inserting the government into our private lives. Injecting religion into debates about public policy.”

There is the Defense of Marriage Act, aka DOMA.  There is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, aka ENDA.  And there is Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, aka DADT.  The Defense of Marriage Act is a federal bill that declares that marriage is officially between one man and one woman.  ENDA is a proposed bill that would prevent discrimination against LGBT community members from employers who currently have the right to terminate any employee for being gay.  Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a policy that was initiated during President Bill Clinton’s tenure, which basically says that the government/military can’t, or won’t, probe into a recruit’s private life to ascertain if they are gay/lesbian or not – as long as the soldier promises not “to tell.”  Absolutely disgusting policies, every single one of them.

A week or so ago, a federal judge issued an order declaring that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is unconstitutional and ordered the military to cease enforcing it immediately.  Finally!  Someone with some authority recognizes that when the Founding Fathers said “all men are created equal,” that they REALLY meant that.  Yes, they would shudder indeed at the blatant abuse of power and bullying that comes from our highest ranking government and military leaders.  Everyone knows what I am talking about, and anybody that tries to refute it either has their head in the sand or a stick up their ass…or both.

In the dictionary, “BULLY” is defined as:

  • Noun:  a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people
  • Verb:  to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer
  • Verb:  to be loudly arrogant and overbearing
  • Synonyms:  browbeat, coerce; terrorize, tyrannize

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is the ultimate form of bullying in our country.  As a whole, the military and government who sit in positions of power and make decisions that are supposedly based on the best interest of the citizens of this country are the very ones who are executing acts of bullying on a day-to-day basis.  “A blustering, quarrelsom, overbearing person [or entity, such as the military, Congress, Senate, House of Reps, and executive branch] who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people [that would be citizens affected by unequal treatment, laws, and policies; as well as soldiers/cadets who are treated as second-class citizens].”  Am I blowing anything out of proportion here?  I’m sure that many conservatives would somehow try to disagree with me, but the truth is that the military, Pentagon, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and ultimately the president are all full-participating bullies in today’s society.  The very people who will wear purple, create PSA’s to say that they are “anti-bullying” and support programs at schools to end bullying and suicide, and proclaim to the world publicly the horrors of bullying….these are the ones that are discharging soldiers under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, NOT ending DOMA, NOT creating ENDA, and NOT allowing for same-sex marriage in every U.S. state.  The synonyms list “coerce, terrorize, and tyrannize” as verbs that can be interchanged for “bullying” – sounds like some political leaders that have come through the most highest ranking of positions within our own government.  And why, WHY, would supposedly fair-minded individuals in a free enterprise society continue to stand by policies that do not treat every citizen the same?  WHY would a man, a leader, who had to fight to get where he is, at great odds, continue to stand behind these policies?  Because he can.  Because he is one of the bullies.

This morning in USA Today, an article appeared that was titled, “Obama Still Caught in the Middle  on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  WHAT???  Really???  How in the hell is he caught in the middle?  It is an unconstitutional and unequal policy.  End of story.  First the judge orders the military to end it, and blocked the government’s request for a stay; then another judge, another player in the large scale bullying, blocked the first judge’s initial order.  President Obama says, out of one side of his mouth, that he wants to get rid of the policy; while out of the other side of his mouth he is backing his Justice Department, who want to continue to enforce it.  Apparently, just last week, Obama is quoted by USA Today as saying:  “And so we are moving in the direction of ending this policy. It has to be done in a way that is orderly, because we are involved in a war right now. But this is not a question of whether the policy will end. This policy will end, and it will end on my watch. But I do have an obligation to make sure that I am following some of the rules. I can’t simply ignore laws that are out there. I’ve got to work to make sure that they are changed.”  This was last week.  But a year ago in Washington, D.C., the president stood before hundreds at a huge dinner hosted by the Human Rights Campaign, and again declared himself to be a “fierce advocate” for the LGBT community, and that he WOULD end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  We have heard this from him repeatedly, with little to no action behind it.  He has disappointed us.  He has not kept his words, both to the community nor the soldiers who have been discharged unjustly and undeservedly.  He has let hundreds of thousands of his supporters down.  He has abused and ultimately damaged our trust in him.

He has become one of them….the bullies that are commonly known as “Big Brother.”

How Many Bullies Will it Take?

(reposted from September 28, 2010)

Today I read an article about a boy in Ohio who was beaten by bullies to the point of having a broken arm – because he is a cheerleader.  Tyler Wilson is eleven years old, and wanted to join the cheerleading squad with hopes of someday being a male cheerleader at the collegiate level.  He has been bullied, teased, taunted, and now beaten up, simply for being a cheerleader.  But bravo to Tyler for not giving in to the uneducated and neandrathal mentality of those boys, because he says he isn’t going to quit the squad.  The saddest part?  Somewhere along the way, the bullies had to have been taught that this kind of behavior is acceptable, and that picking on those who are different is perfectly alright.  Hopefully Tyler can hold each and every one of them – and their families – personally accountable for their actions, and hopefully there will be consequences for them.  One can hope.

Shortly after reading that story, I then read another news story that didn’t end quite as well as it did for Tyler.  Last week in Cypress, a suburb of Houston, a 13-year old boy named Asher Brown killed himself because of incessant bullying by kids at his school.  He put a GUN TO HIS HEAD – because kids in his school tormented him because he was smaller than them, because of his religion, and because they said he was gay.  And no one wants to take responsibility – not teachers, administrators, counselors.  School officials say that they never had any reports of bullying, while Asher’s parents said they repeatedly made phone calls to counselors and assistant principals.  How in the hell can people get phone calls, people who are in positions of authority and trust over our children, and NOT follow up on them???  Apparently the morning that he killed himself, Asher told his step-father that he was gay; and fortunately, he was not met with condemnation or judgment at all.  But unfortunately, these ignorant children who Asher went to school with had not been taught of tolerance and acceptance for everyone.  This family will now have to bury their child and say goodbye to him forever because of the cruelty of other people’s children.  How is that ever okay?  How many kids have to endure being bullied because of ridiculous things like their size/stature, their sexuality (regardless of what it is), their religion???  Kids don’t just grow up to be bullies – they can’t possibly.  There has to be some kind of influence that says to them that using violence and cruelty will somehow move them ahead in life.

I have been on the lookout for bullies for a long time.  My oldest son went to school, when he was young, with several boys who were bigger than he, more athletic than he, and more popular than he was.  He was bullied physically in the second grade, and his dad & I told him to defend himself before walking away and telling a teacher if something should happen.  Sure enough it did, and he almost got suspended for defending himself, because of the “zero tolerance” rules within our school district.  If he HAD gotten suspended, I would have been okay with it as long as the boy who instigated it was punished as well.  But that was a long time ago.  Things have changed dramatically.  The bullying has gotten tremendously worse.  The consequences for those who bully seems to be slight, if not non-existent.  The effects on those who are bullied seems to be deeper and more damaging than ever before, and the result trend seems to be getting more and more catastrophic.  My youngest son has been bullied because he wears glasses, and because he has a pretty large overbite.  He finally told me about a particular boy who makes fun of him for those things, as well as making fun of his friends.  He told me that this kid makes fun and taunts everyone, and it makes him very stressed – did I mention that my son is in the 5th grade???  Ten years old, and having to deal with stress caused from another ten year old kid.  I was furious.  I told him that bullying is not acceptable by any means, and if this kid utters another word to him that is over the line, we will be visiting the principal (I will forego the teacher and the counselor and go straight to the top).  But this is how I HAVE to be!  Why can I not just “wait and see” and hope that it all works out?  Because kids are dropping like flies, and they’re getting younger and younger.  During the last school year, at a school about 2 miles from here, a nine year old boy named Montana Lance killed himself by hanging in the nurse’s office.  Yes, NINE years old.  Some reports were that he was bullied; others say it is unknown why he did it.  Curiously enough, the school district to this day has no comment to make about the events of what happened that day.

But this is just a few of the bullying incidents that ended up in the news.  Once I started looking for these stories, I started finding others.  And then another, and another, and still more.  Look at some of the stories that I found, and the ages of these kids:

  • Oct. 2003:  Ryan Halligan (age 13), Vermont – hung himself in his bathroom.  He had been bullied by classmates at school, as well as cyberbullied online, with taunts of being gay.
  • Oct. 2004:  Corrine Wilson (age 13), Texas – single gunshot to the head.  She had been called fat, frizzy haired, ugly; the bullies told her they wished she was dead and that she should just go home and kill herself.
  • Dec. 2005:  Kristina Calco (age 15), Michigan – hung herself.  She was teased and bullied from 7th grade on, but never told on her bullies.
  • April 2009:  Miranda Larnerd (age 14), New York – hung herself from a ladder.  Said in her suicide note that “for every good person in my life, there were 10 more to bring me down every day.”
  • April 2009:  Carl Walker-Hoover (age 11), Massachusetts – hung himself.  He was apparently taunted daily by schoolmates about being gay, despite the fact that he did not identify himself as such.
  • April 2009:  Jaheem Herrera (age 11), Georgia – hung himself by belt in his closet.  He complained about being called gay, ugly and “the virgin” because he was from the Virgin Islands.
  • May 2009:  Daniel Mendez (age 16), California – self-inflicted gunshot wound.  His parents have filed a $3 million lawsuit against his Orange County school district, because they say that administrators failed for years to step in after their son complained for non-stop bullying.
  • June 2009:  Iain Steele (age 15), Illinois – hung himself in his basement.  He was shoved into lockers, made fun of on Facebook for liking heavy metal music, and told by one bully that they wished he would just kill himself.
  • Sept. 2009:  Hunter Layland (age 15), Texas – shot himself.  He had been in a car accident as a toddler, leaving him with a hearing problem and scarring on part of his face.  His bullies made fun of the way he looked and even told him once, “If I had a face like yours I’d shoot myself.”
  • Oct. 2009:  Tyler Long (age 17), Georgia – hung himself with belt in his closet.  He had a form of autism called Asberger’s, and was humiliated by classmates for years.  Some of his torment included being spit on and chased, pushed down stairs and beaten up, being called gay, and told “I can’t wait until you are six feet under.”
  • late 2009:  Hope Whitsell (age 13), Florida – hung herself in her bedroom.  She made the mistake of sending topless photos of herself to a boy’s cell phone; they were then circulated and she was harassed as a result.
  • Jan. 2010:  Phoebe Prince (age 15), Massachusetts – hung herself in stairwell.  She was constantly bullied and taunted; nine teenagers were indicted for various criminal charges related to Phoebe’s death.
  • March 2010:  Kimberly Linczeski (age 12), Michigan – died by self-asphyxiation.  She had been teased, taunted, bullied, and even hit by a classmate and never fought back.  The one day she hit back, she was sent to the principal’s office and her father had to come get her from school – she killed herself later that day.
  • March 2010:  Alexis Pilkington (age 17), New York – cause of death not found.  She was a soccer star who was cyberbullied on Facebook and Formspring, even after her death.
  • March 2010:  Jon Carmichael (age 13), Texas – hung himself in a barn near his home.  He was small for his age, and was bullied constantly for being short.
  • May 2010:  Christian Taylor (age 16), Virginia – hung himself in his closet.  He was bullied at school for months, and even told by one of the bullies that he should just go ahead and commit suicide.
  • July 2010:  Justin Aaberg (age 15), Minnesota – hung himself.  He had come out as gay at 13 years old, but still endured anti-gay bullying.  His school district, in order to “respect all of their families,” has asked the teachers to be neutral in response to anti-gay bullying, rather than address it.
  • Sept. 2010:  Billy Lucas (age 15), Indiana – hung himself in his family’s barn.  He had been suspended from school the day of his death for fighting back against his bullies, who called him gay and told him to go hang himself.

I know this is long, but like I said, when I went looking into one, I would find another, and another.  And while this blog is long and infuriating when looking at all of the young lives that were lost, there are so many more that we never hear about and are never reported on the news.  Why???  Why are school districts turning their heads?  Is investigating reports of bullying just too daunting?  Why are school districts trying to take a neutral approach??  Because they are afraid of offending someone?  Really???  Who gives a shit if someone gets offended!?  The schools that we send our kids to every day are supposed to be a safe environment for them, not a place for endless torment, ridicule, and cruelty that are permitted by teachers, counselors, and administrators.

Remember that whole “It Takes a Village” thing that Hilary talked about years ago?  Well, like it or not, like HER or not, she had it right.  It’s our job to not only look out for our own children, but for all of the other children that are out there.  They all deserve a fighting chance to get through school with hope for a future.  All of these children had their future snuffed out by their own hand because they had lost that hope.  MY child will not be a contributor in taking away any other child’s hope.  Will yours?

* just after I finished this blog and published it, I logged on to discover that another has been added to the unfortunate list.

  • Sept. 28, 2010:  Seth Walsh (age 13), California – hung himself by a tree branch; lived on life support for 10 days before dying.  He was openly gay and teased/bullied relentlessly, ultimately having to leave public school for independent study.  Police say that they cannot prosecute the students involved because bullying is not a criminal act.
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