Last week, Tim and Tracey Rodemeyer of Buffalo, New York, buried their 14-year-old son, Jamey. The week before that, 14-year-old Kameron Jacobson was laid to rest in Orange County, New Jersey. Both teenagers committed suicide because the pain and humiliation from being bullied by their classmates had become too much to live with.
Bullying has become . If you don't believe me and think these are just isolated cases, do a Google search and enter "." If you plow through all the statistics and obituaries, you might come across a story that will knock the air out of you. Paige Moravetz and Haylee Fentress, both 14-year old Minnesota middle school students, made a suicide pact and killed themselves during a sleepover last April. Haylee had been bullied incessantly about her weight and red hair and they agreed to leave this world together.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
20 percent of students in middle and high school are involved in
bullying. Bullying is nothing new, it has been around since the beginning of time. Jesus Christ was bullied on the way to his death, wasn't he? African-Americans were on the wrong end of bullying for what seemed liked forever. People of Islamic and Arab decent in this country have been the victims of racial profiling since 9/11, often bullied by police officers filled with hate.
become like a California wildfire: out of control with the ability to
cause severe damage. But unlike a long, sustained blaze, the
damage can be instant and burned into a child's psyche forever,
or as long as they can bear it. Being mocked and made fun
of in chatrooms, e-mails, and unflattering photos put in cyberspace
for the the world to see, caused so much pain for kids like Jamey
Rodemeyer and Kameron Jacobson, they took their own lives.
Who is responsible for all this bullying and its prevention? In a word, everyone. Parents, teachers, school admistrators, legislators,
law enforcement officials, you and me. It's going to take it and prevent the next
No kid wants to run to a teacher to rat out a classmate for fear
of being ostracized or retribution. Bullied kids don't want to run
to the police because the process can be intimidating. Tormented
kids don't want to run to their parents because they might be too
embarrassed to tell them their child is getting picked on.
As tough at it is, parents have to monitor their kids' use of the
Internet and social media networks. They need to explain the consequences
of cyber-bullying sooner, sooner rather than later. School administrators need to take bullying seriously. It's not just "kids being kids". This is beyond
dangerous and students must know that it won't be tolerated. Tougher laws
need to be enacted and enforced. If it takes a kid to be made an example
of, so be it. There are parents around their country who will never get
their kids back, taken from them by something that
could've been easily prevented and that is unnecessarily tragic.