We must end bullying in our schools

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Good morning:

(H/T to ay2z for the link to the video)

Time to recognize that bullying is a national problem and should no longer be tolerated.

A little over a year ago, Melinda Coleman was forced to move her family out of Maryville, Missouri after her 14-year old daughter was sexually assaulted by a popular 17-year-old boy who is a member of an influential family. After the boy was arrested and charged, she was fired without explanation and her daughter was subjected to a campaign of vicious and relentless hatred that forced the family to move . Charges against the boy were dropped without explanation and the family’s empty home was burned to the ground. The daughter has twice attempted suicide since the assault.

Last month 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death from a tower at an abandoned cement plant in Polk County, Florida after being subjected to a campaign of vicious and relentless hatred by two jealous girls and their friends.

Although little is known regarding what prompted the shooting yesterday at the middle school in Sparks, Nevada, one student who knew the shooter has identified retaliation for bullying as a possible motive. CNN reports:

“He was really a nice kid,” schoolmate Amaya Newton said. “He would make you smile when you were having bad day.”

But for whatever reason, the boy, whom authorities have not identified, took his parents’ handgun to school, a federal law enforcement source said.

“I believe it was because I saw him getting bullied a couple of times, and I think he took out his bullying,” Amaya said.

Bullying is not confined to immature teenagers who believe it’s cool to be cruel. Crane and I have been subjected to bullying because we dared to seek justice for Trayvon Martin and I am certain that what we have been subjected to pales in comparison to what Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin have endured.

We understand how a victim of bullying can be driven to suicide or to lash out with a gun.

A person has to be self-confident and comfortable in their own skin to resist the urge to strike back at the haters. For some, suicide becomes the only way to find peace.


No doubt some people will react to this latest school shooting by blaming the shooter’s parents for not securing the gun. Others will argue for effective gun control. Still others will insist that the solution to school shootings is more guns.

The arguments are well known to us, but none of them are working because the shootings continue and nothing is changing.

CNN has the nationwide tally on school shootings since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Last week, a student at an Austin, Texas, high school killed himself in front of other students.

In August, a student at a high school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, shot and wounded another student in the neck.

Another shooting took place at an Atlanta middle school in January, though no one was hit.

That same month, a California high school student wounded two people, one seriously.

The Nevada shooting comes almost a year after a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, igniting nationwide debate over gun violence and school safety.

I believe we need to look beneath the surface to identify why students take guns to school, and if we do that, I believe we will find that bullying is a significant cause.

We may not be able to change the law to realize effective gun control in our lifetimes, but we ought to be able to significantly reduce bullying.


29 Responses to We must end bullying in our schools

  1. ay2z says:

    tonight’s news, rally held for the Missouri rape victim, and the case was reopened yesterday with a special prosecutor.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Wow. The expression “Hurt people hurt people” comes to mind.

  3. Xena says:

    Vivian Vosburg, the stepmother of 14 yr old Guadalupe Shaw charged with felony stalking causing Rebecca Sedwick to commit suicide, has been arrested on charges unrelated to the cyber-bullying case. She is charged with two counts of child abuse and four counts of child neglect, based on a video posted on Youtube and Facebook.

    “The video was of two juvenile subjects fighting, an adult female punching the fighting juveniles and screaming profanities, and several other juveniles shouting profanities and moving around in what appears to be a bedroom of a residence. A total of six juveniles ranging in ages from 9 to 14 were observed in the video,” officials said.

    According to the sheriff’s office, Vosburg admitted that she is the woman in the video, and admitted punching one of the juveniles in the face with a fist and punching the second juvenile several times on the back of the head and between his shoulders.

    Here is the video.

  4. Xena says:

    NBC News has learned that Baez will represent Katelyn Roman, the 12-year-old charged with aggravated stalking in the Rebecca Sedwick case. Sedwick jumped to her death after what her mother calls relentless cyberbullying.


    I wonder if he is doing it in competition with O’Mara writing a bill to hold parents accountable?

  5. bettykath says:

    I worked for awhile as a substitute teacher in middle school and high school. One boy was complaining in class about others picking on him. They were gay bashing. I reported this to the principal. His response, “well, is he gay?” as if it’s ok to gay bash someone if they are gay. I told him I didn’t know and I didn’t see that as relevant. Nothing was done. Later in the week I was pushed by a senior (a star basketball player). I reported this as well. The concern was whether or not he swore at me. Whatt? He pushed me. Nothing was done. That was my last day as a sub, my choice.

    I interviewed with a principal for the job of producing the school bulletin at another school. At the end of the interview I told him that I wasn’t interested in the job. He didn’t ask why. My reason: he was one of the jackass administrators that shouldn’t be in the school system. We wouldn’t have gotten along at all and I just didn’t need the work that bad. My assessment is that he would be one of the bullies rather than someone who would take a bully to task.

  6. lurker says:

    I cannot speculate on the relationship between school shootings and bullying. But I do know that school bullying is real. I would also suggest that it is social, rather than individual, in nature. While certain individuals may be more inclined to take advantage than others, their power really derives from the acceptance (and sometimes support) of others. Some schools do far more than accept bullying. Some actually teach it, though in subtle ways and no one is likely to recognize, let alone admit it. I remember reading somewhere once that the biggest trouble-makers on school staff are the special education teachers. They are also the ones who get the room in the basement with no windows, the mismatched and left-over chairs and desks and the students that nobody else wants to teach. One way that our schools teach that bullying–or exclusion–is OK.

    Another way of teaching that some folks are all right but others deserve mistreatment comes up at times in sports. Not too long ago it was reported that a high school in my state was accused of using cheers at a football game that relied on demographic slurs. And there were adults who either defended it, thought it was no big deal, or simply shrugged their shoulders–can’t do anything about it since we don’t really know who was doing the yelling.

    And we dare not even think about the way in which we raise some kids to go to the schools with all the latest bells and whistles–in the belief that somehow they have earned it, or are more deserving, than the kids who get old buildings, persistent rumors or reality of unsafe environments and all kinds of other chaos.

    I have seen some of these hypersheltered kids grow up to pass on to their own kids a set of values based on getting into the right social circles, and protecting some perceived right that they have to overlook any other kid in the believe that they have their own social set to belong to.

    The effective “anti-bullying” programs are those who actually tackle the social structure of a school, teaching children to include others without regard for “liking,” but simply because we are all in it together and it sucks to be the left-over and left-out kid. In my experience, the kids pick it up pretty quickly. It’s the adults who fight against it.

  7. A second witness confirms that the shooter’s motive was revenge:

    “He pointed to us and he said, ‘You ruined my life and now I’m going to ruin yours,'” said Alfrancis de Vera, a student at Sparks Middle School.

  8. towerflower says:

    We truly live in a different world then when we were kids. I was bullied/made fun of when I was in school. I was a late bloomer and the teasing continued from middle to high school. Back then you mostly faced it while in school and while at home you could avoid those you knew didn’t like you. The phone in the home was normally only one and it was attached to the wall and another child rarely took their bullying to that means.

    I would tell myself that those who picked on me didn’t care and that their involvement in my life was only for 6 hours a day and after high school I would never have to see any of those faces again.

    Today’s environment is always in your face. Internet social sites, cell phones with instant texting, phones with cameras to take embarrassing situations immediately to youtube for the world to now see, etc. Now a child today has no escape unless the family takes things back to the 70’s with no internet access and a cell phone that can only make calls.

    The children of today are facing enhanced problems that we never could imagine. But aside from the obvious mental illness shootings that took place in the recent past what causes a child to find a gun and take it to school? We had the guns when we were that age and this didn’t happen. Guns were easily accessible then too, with few laws about securing them. It wouldn’t be unusual to see a shotgun in a rack inside a pickup truck.

    IMO I blame video games and slasher movies. We have desensitized the youth of today to death and violence. We have gone from Hitchcock and his assumption of violence to scare you to slasher/gore films that teens will flock to. We have Grand Theft Auto, Call to Duty, etc. where walking up to a person in a game and killing them will give you points. I also blame us parents for allowing their child to play those games or see those movies.

  9. neveragain says:

    Question…..what if this bullying is taking place out of school…….you can’t arrest and charge a 10 and 11 year old fir tormenting another kid…….you can’t disipline another person’s kid….I’m guessing it’s up to the parent to arrange for young siblings and cousins to beat up the bully…..what else can u do??

    • There is no quick fix.

      The art of maintaining a tranquil mind under pressure and managing emotions is at least as important as any subject in the traditional curriculum.

      Everyone needs an established big-brother or big-sister relationship to turn to when the bullies come out.

    • dianetrotter says:

      Most of the bullying takes place on campus at that age. That is when there are repeated contacts that provide opportunity to bully. At my school, students caught bullying must sign a written warning stating that they will be expelled for bullying. The point is that it MUST be reported. No one should beat anyone up.

  10. Two sides to a story says:

    Our society places value on individual “rights” over the common good. This misplaced value system also encourages “attitude.” The necessity of putting others before oneself and of keeping attitude in check is seen as weak or religious and all these aspects are reflected in popular media.

    I still think that strong gun control is best and for the common good. It can’t solve this problem alone, but coupled with a change in paradigm in which we raise our villages’ children to care for others as they care for themselves will go a long way to reducing fatalities.

  11. neveragain says:

    Hey I just read on yahoo that the man who wrote the N_word on a redlobter reciept is now sueing…..he is claiming that he did not write it and that his personal information which was on the reciept was publicized……..he is stating also that anothe reason for suing is that he is being bullued and harrased over the internet…even recieving death threats

    • neveragain says:

      Its the internet man…if you are being bullied by people you know over the internette then I can understand because you will see these people on person…but strangers bullying on the internette could be leaving in another country pretending to be US citizens….people just acting rediculiculous behind a computer…while they may be the most proper acting individual in person

  12. neveragain says:

    This is my last comment I swear…THE SCHOOL OFFICIALS…should make it their point of duty to inform the kids what bullying is….talk about it during assembly on a regular basis and make the kids know that it will not be tolerated…and encourage those that are being bullied to speak up…..and oroper investigation must be done……kids fight, kids get into disagreement, that normal…but bullying and tormenting another person’s life should be dealt with swiftly…..

  13. neveragain says:

    Your 3 and four and even 5 year old cannot explain to you what is going on at a daycare center, I have seen kids being unfairly treated …please look out for signals from your kids and don’t trust the workers and the owners no matter how nice they are to your kid in your presence…..yes it starts at that early age…the kids develops a HELPLESS ATTITUDE at a young age…..I am being unfairly treated and I am totally helpless there is nothing I can do about it

  14. neveragain says:

    People I’m warning u..please tell your kids please don’t take bullshit from no one not even ADULTS….put the adultz in their place if they are not being fair…I see adults treating kids unfairly and the kids are sopposed to obey or else they will be labelled as being rude or disrespectful

  15. neveragain says:

    The bullied ones need to be educated to…people take advantage of nice individuals…if you are a selfish individual they will respect you…it’s like they say dogs smell fear..the way you act can encourage others to bully u……look at the way your child interacts with others and let them no that it is alright to say no to others, to stop it and quickly and sharply try to put an end to others who are trying to take advantage of their generousty….tell them what behavoirs they should not tollerate from others or if they do it will inly escalate

  16. neveragain says:

    I saw how my neice never punished her kids when they hit other kids…..her kid loved hitting..he was about 3 years old and he was a good fighter and she was proud of that….he would fight with and beat kids that were much bigger than him…if they were stronger than him he would head but tgem in their chest or head…I saw him headbut a little girl once,the girl started crying and he was never punished…he headbutt another girl who was taller than him…his head could only reach her chest so he head but her in the chest…his mother was proud that he won the fight against a bigger kid…I did not see the fight…she told me about it…….but I saw a liitle girl punch him in his face once and he ran to her crying and she was very angry…she allowed her son to hit the girl…I did not know she would have done that or I would have gotten up sooner to prevent it….

    • That’s grossly irresponsible parenting, IMO.

      If a parent believes a child should know how to defend herself or himself, teach the child self-defense.

      Aikido is a Japanese martial art devoted entirely to defensive moves when attacked.

      Never encourage aggressive physical behavior.

  17. neveragain says:

    Hey those in authority blame/treat the one being bullied like they are too weak and maybe therefore deserves to be bullied…one has to be able to defend themselves and you can’t go reporting or arresting anyone who insults you, curse at you, critisize u or calls you a bad name, but when it turns into CONSTANT TORMENTING AND HARRASMENT, then then those in authority need to step in……..most of these bullies are either abused at their homes or they are encouraged to bully others by there parents….parents please tell your kids to treat others like they would want to be treated…..teach also to stand up for themselves against others,

  18. Mental illness, particularly psychotic delusions, also is a significant cause of mass shootings as Aaron Alexis demonstrated when he killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

    James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado (dressed as the Joker at the Batman premiere) and Jared Loughner in Tucson, Arizona (shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords) are other examples. Obviously, we have to improve our mental health system instead of blaming the mentally ill for what they do.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      I blieve that any time someone harms another, there is at the very least, some mild mental illness happening. And of course we know that in many cases, there is or was a verifiable clinical illness.

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