This will be the first of a series of posts discussing bullying. Unfortunately for the victims bullying often goes unnoticed until it is too late. It is a nearly silent crime against another person. Children who bully are not generally doing it where they will get caught, and when there is an adult present they do it in a sneaky way that prevents them from getting identified as the bully.
Having been the victim of bullying for many years when I was in school, I vowed that when I became a teacher I would not put up with it in my classroom. Now, after hearing about recent bullying incidents at schools, I have decided to try and take a stand. I have heard too many stories about kids who get tormented and called names simply because they are not with the so-called “in crowd” or have some type of disability that isolates them from the rest of their peers.
In the last three months, there have been two teens commit suicide because they were bullied. Back in September 2011, 14 year old Jamey Rodemeyer of Buffalo, New York was one of these teens. His death, resulted in CNN and other news agencies across North America to do special reports on the problem of bullying among teens. In October 2011, CNN did yet another ped,a one-month long series on bullying to address the issue. Not that it helped because just last week, 15 year old Chantal Larose of Quebec also committed suicide because she too was tormented and harassed in the schoolyard. These two kids did not even get a chance to experience life and all it has to offer, and should not have had to end their lives prematurely simply because they were bullied.
Clearly, there is something that needs to be done. When I heard these kids’ stories and how they could not go on any further because of the pain of getting up every morning only to be put down constantly by their peers, my heart wanted to reach out. I can feel their pain. I was in their shoes many times over, and also had moments where I could not bear to get up in the morning and go to school, because I knew the day was going to be miserable, and I was going be ridiculed and insulted from the time I got on the bus in the morning till the time I got off the bus in the evening. I completely understand what they are going through, and how they could consider suicide an option. There came a point when I was in junior high that I also tried to end it all in the way that they did.
I have been focusing my efforts in recent weeks to researching bulling and why it happens. What causes kids like Jamey and Chantel decide to end their life? In the coming posts I will be presenting the facts about bullying in hopes that I can make a difference.
My work here will be in conjunction with a few of my students who have agreed to help develop a campaign on anti-bullying.