Bullying in schools and “cyberspace bullying” are on the rise, and the consequences are fatal. The Associated Press recently reported a story about four Ohio teens who took their own lives after being tormented and teased to the point of no return. This small Cleveland suburb has been plagued numerous times, and parents of the victims are devastated and outraged.
The families of the victims, one who was bullied for being gay, one for having a learning disability, and another who was a boy who liked to wear pink, are suing the school district. This was announced after the mother of the most recent casualty, Sladjana Vidovic, decided to sue. Sladjana took her own life by hanging herself. The last words of this innocent 16-year-old were hand written in a note that spoke of her everyday nightmares of being teased for her Croatian accent and called a slut while having food thrown at her.
If you ask me, these so called “bullies,” are cowards with nothing to offer society except the promise to take tax payers’ money while they inevitably rot in a jail cell. This is an outrageous legacy that needs to end. Parents need to get involved and make sure they are there to build their child’s self esteem and take them out of these situations if need be.
Families and parents of these victims all over the country are trying to take a stand in the best ways they know how, first by suing the school districts. In these cases below, it is all they have in the way of seeking some type of justice.
Seth was a 13-year-old boy who attended Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi, Calif.. The teen was found unconscious on Sept. 19 after he tried to hang himself from a tree in his backyard. It was reported that he was teased for years about being gay. He was rushed to the hospital, where he sadly passed away one week later. Seth’s mom, Judy, has pressed charges.
An 18-year-old Rutgers student with a promising future, Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge in September. His roommate secretly taped Clementi in a sexual encounter with another male in his dorm room, and posted it live on the Internet. The students involved in taping and putting up video content of Tyler Clementi were arrested; the family plans on bringing civil charges.
Perhaps the most disturbing of all the recent cases, Megan was terrorized by a grown woman who lived on her same block. Apparently, Lori Drew, the bully in question, did it because her daughter did not get along with Megan. Megan was only 13 years old and was tricked into thinking that Drew was a boy named Josh. Once “Josh” gained her friendship, all through Internet communication, she convinced her that no one liked her and she should kill herself. Unfortunately, Drew was acquitted on all charges in the Meier case. Many people around the world were outraged.
It is unknown if Megan Meier’s family or the other victims families will get some sort of justice through the court system, but I do know this is absolutely an unacceptable tragedy that needs to stop immediately. Talk to your children and tell them that is okay to be themselves, to never be ashamed of who they are. Until we truly learn to be a global society with tolerance and compassion for one another, we are doomed.
Ellen Degeneres sent out a beautiful message to gay teens about suicide; we need more of this from Hollywood. We should take a look in our own backyard, instead of worrying about other countries’ problems; let’s start with fixing our own. This is an epidemic no different than cancer or AIDS. It is killing the spirit and hope of our youth. Lives with so much light and potential have been snuffed out in the name of the “Bully.” How much longer will we continue to let these precious young people down?