Bullied to Death: The Conversation No One Is Having

A local sixth-grader took his own life after being bullied. He is no longer a sensitive smart boy, he has become a statistic. He was a good kid, but now he is a painful memory. He was an active member of his Church, but now he is a vacant seat in a pew. This kid might have changed the world one day. But now we will never know. He was bullied to death.

I was bullied damn near to death. I made three serious suicide attempts in Junior High School. It was that bad. I was pushed, shoved, punched, hit, and sexually harassed.

Bullying in schools must stop
Panic! By Sri Lankan artist Sujith Rathnayake

And I’m going to say something incredibly unpopular here.

The adults in the school system were aware of it, and they did nothing. Teachers saw what was going on, they heard the jeers and sexually explicit remarks that were yelled across assemblies. Bus drivers saw me shoved and hit, they saw my possessions ripped out of my hands. Lunch ladies saw food thrown on me. And they did nothing.

And you know what? I believe that the school administrators probably saw this boy being bullied. And guess what I think they did? Right. Nothing.

I know that schoolkids now sit through assemblies on bullying…but kids are still bullied, kids are still committing suicide because of bullying. And with the internet, public humiliation has become a spectator sport. It is high time we put a stop to institutional cruelty.

It is time to punish the bullies. It is time to punish school administrators who sit idly by and let the students in their care be bullied to death. It is time to arrest and prosecute bullies as criminals. Before another kid dies.

It is time to let people like me run school assemblies on bullying. People who will stand up and say, “I was bullied damn near to death in school and over thirty years later I still struggle with it. And I challenge school administrators to make the schools safe.”

Honestly it is time that some teachers, bus drivers, lunchroom attendants, and administrators lose their jobs. It is time they were prosecuted for willfully endangering a minor. Because they do. Our children, our most precious and vulnerable national resource are being bullied to death while they are in the care of these people. These school officials would probably do less harm if they drove drunk. (Of course I do not advocate drunk driving, but I’m just saying)

Bullying is not an invisible crime. Kids are not very subtle. They pick on the kid that seems weakest, the kid that seems slowest, the kid that seems poorest. Is it too much to expect that these kids be protected from bullies? I really don’t think so.

There is behavior that is commonplace in schools which would get you fired in the workplace. Let that sink in a moment. Ask yourself why nobody does anything before there is another child dead by their own hand. Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2013 CDC WISQARS)Each day in our nation there are an average of over 5,400 suicide attempts by young people grades 7-12. An incredible number of young people, that is to say, schoolkids, are attempting suicide. And a lot of those attempts are successful.

Think back to your own school days. Did you ever attend an assembly that changed your behavior? What’s that? No? Right the fuck on. But for most school districts, the only anti-bullying program is an assembly. And the behavior of the bullies is unsurprisingly not changing.

The question is how many kids have to die of bullying before real laws with real teeth are enacted to protect them? Too many have died already. And the school personnel do nothing. Nothing.

And I am just one tiny voice on a blog that very few people will ever see. I’m screaming into a void. But I’m screaming. Maybe you could scream too.