When a child faces bullying to the degree that he feels, at age 13, the only thing he can do is commit suicide, something’s very wrong with us.
Bullying is a problem we’ve faced for generations and probably always will.
Even an Olympic athlete like Gabby Douglas isn’t immune from bullying — in that case it was cyberbulling. But as her critics attacked, her supporters, at least, rallied for her.
But not everyone who finds themselves victims of bullying has that kind of support.
The parents of a 13-year-old say he hung himself in the attic of their home because he had been relentlessly bullied at his Brooklyn school. The boy left a handwritten note explaining five boys had been bullying, and said he told teachers but they did “nothing.”
A spokesperson for the diocese said “school administrators never turned a blind eye or a deaf ear to Daniel’s complaints, and repeatedly provided counseling and support.”
That’s the part that stopped me. If school administrators had to repeatedly provide “counseling and support,” then presumably they knew something was very wrong. Why didn’t they do more?
It’s bad enough that there are kids who seem to somehow be brought up to lack the basic compassion for others around them that allows them to believe bullying others is acceptable in the first place.
But once a child tells a teacher that he’s a victim of that kind of behavior, why isn’t there a plan to deal with it?
Assuming the boy’s claims are true, we’re lead to what should be an obvious question for school leaders: Did they think this kid they kept counseling was making up the problem?
If their hands were tied in terms of what kind of discipline they might have at their disposal, that’s a problem we need to tackle: when a child gets mistreated so hard that he would entertain, even for a moment, the idea of suicide, something needs to be done.
And those in positions of authority need the ability to actually do something.
The teen’s father sent a message to the parents of the children he said bullied his son:
“To the parents of the boys that tormented my son, all I have to say is I hope you never have to feel what my family is going through right now. You get to hold your children every night and day for the rest of your lives and their natural lives. I don’t get that anymore. Your little monsters took that from me and my wife.”
I hope this suicide will be the last one ever caused by bullying, and that any other little “monsters” out there rethink their treatment of other people.
Unforunately, I don’t think that will happen.