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BullyCide, Bullying and Cyberbullying

CyberbullyingSAFER SCHOOLS NEWS-VOL. 125

BullyCide

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Three students, ages 15, 13 and 12, bullied relentlessly until they stopped it by Bullycide, because they could take no more.

  • Amanda Todd, age 15, a Vancouver-area teenager posted a story to YouTube about being cyber-bullied, was found dead a month later in Coquitlam, Canada. Authorities believe she committed suicide.
  • Steven Urry, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after being tormented by bullies.
  • Daniel Scruggs, age 12, died by his own hand after deciding this was better than going back to the place of torment, the public school. After the Christmas break, Daniel’s sister went to the closet, where he sleep due to intense fears, to get him up for school. She found him dead, hanging by a tie.

All three and countless others are bullied and cyberbullied until they decide the only way to stop it, since they believe no one will stop it, is to take their own life – “Bullycide“.

It is amazing the number of people and the amount of resources that become available after their deaths compared to the involvement while they were still with us.

Recent history of lawsuits resulting from uncontrolled bullying within a school have gone in favor of the plaintiffs. Most are settled out of court as a way to hold the settlements down and to keep certain aspects of the proceedings private.  Even if the school, school officials or individuals (bulliers’ parents) prevail, it will cost them to defend this case. It has obviously cost these families much more than can be calculated.

The larger issue should be what are we all going to change about how we interact with young people to prevent this tragedy from being repeated.

Suicide claims more lives under the age of 25 than any other form of death except automobile accidents.

There is a tendency to brush this aside because these deaths were the conscious decision of the ones who died. But we must ask ourselves how they arrived at such a decision and what role did we play in their decision making process.

Although many miles away from these events and never having met any of the people mentioned, this author still ponders whether there was anything else that could have been done to prevent these deaths.

  • Would one more training on suicide prevention or bullying prevention have gotten the needed resources to those who could have intervened. You see, in most cases of suicide there was not a single event or single person who forced the decision.
  • However, in many cases of those who thought about suicide but changed their minds, they report that a single person reached out at the right moment with the right words or actions that turned the tide.

We will never know if there was such a person in these lives at home, school, church or else where. Perhaps a teacher, coach, janitor or bus driver who could have placed a hand on their shoulder, looked past their issues (if any) and told told them, I will do what needs to be done to stop it and it will be OK.

Perhaps there is an Amanda, Steven, or Daniel in your school, church, club or neighborhood and perhaps you are that one person who can connect with him or her and turn the tide that is carrying them to destruction. Never look for confirmation. Do not expect positive feedback. Just do it!!

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