Bullied To Death
People try to say suicide is the most cowardly act a man could ever commit. I don’t think that’s true at all. What’s cowardly is treating a man so badly that he wants to commit suicide.~ Tommy Tran
If you’ve spent any amount of time talking to me, you already know how I feel about bullying. Too many children are suffering and for what reason? Watching the news over the last couple years has become a heartbreaking affair. How many children have to die before people will start stepping up and addressing this epidemic? Take a minute today to remember those children.
A couple years ago my younger son was viciously bullied. Some over his name and size. But mostly? Because of his special needs sister. I was consistent with reporting incidents to the teachers and office staff. The final straw for me was the day he came home with a bruise in the center of his chest where this boy had punched him! Keep in mind, at almost 11 years old, he had just passed 60lbs.
I immediately went into “mama bear” mode. A meeting was called with the other boys parents. He was placed on a 0% Tolerance Probation. If he even shot my son a dirty look he would be expelled and charged under Florida’s Anti-Bullying Laws.
Jeffery Johnston’s mother fought for 3 years to see the law passed after her 15-year old son killed himself. When this bill passed into law in 2008, 35 states encourage schools to spell out anti-bullying policies. Florida was the second state to penalize schools that don’t comply.
Under the law, Florida schools will also have to follow up on reports of bullying by contacting the parents of all students involved, including the bullies. David Tirella, an attorney who campaigned for the Jeff Johnston bill, said threatening to hold back funds from schools was a final resort.
In our situation, the school made a conscious effort to keep the boys separated and we had no further altercations. I know that is not always the case and my heart breaks for the children and families that suffer from this. I previously wrote about a local school event called Re-Do Day. I think activities like that one are an invaluable tool to help bring our children closer together.
In more recent years my son went through another round of bullying. Again, it had a lot to do with the reasons as before. He small stature always makes him an easy target. I took him out of public school for two years and now he will be going back this fall. I truly hope high school is a better experience for him. He is a very bright, curious, and motivated student, but these qualities can be quickly and easily overshadowed by bullying.
Until next time, scribe happy and stay sassy,