I am continually saddened to hear about teens who get to a point in their lives where they feel that suicide is the only way out of the bullying they are facing at school and among fellow teens.
In the last two years alone news stories about dozens of young people choosing death over relentless bullying have been reported. There are probably dozens more that haven’t been.
Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old student at Rutgers University, Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old who moved to the U.S. after growing up in Ireland, 13-year-old Asher Brown and 13-year-old Seth Walsh. There was also 13-year-old Rachel Ehmke and 15-year-old Billy Lupus.
Each of these kids were bullied for different reasons including homosexuality and other students making up stories accusing these kids of being “sluts”.
No matter the reason, bullying is not OK and only shows ignorance and insecurity on the part of the bully. Peer pressure adds to the bullying when the bully pressures their friends to play along. I can’t imagine being bullied to the point of wanting to die but it happens every day in this country alone.
The statistics are sad and appalling.
• Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost seven percent have attempted it.
• Bully victims are between two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University.
• A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.
• 10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above.
• According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying.
The Lake Stevens School District has a strict no bullying policy and will enforce that policy if they become aware of any bullying. However, most students don’t report it because of fear of retaliation. Therefore, teaching our kids how harsh the consequences of bullying can be begins at home.
Parents must teach their kids tolerance of everyone, especially those who may be different than they are. Hatred and ignorance begins in the home and if we hear our kids talking intolerantly about others it is our job to stop it and correct their thinking.
If we feel that our kids are being bullied we need to talk to them and then talk to our schools to find out how to go about stopping it. Police may even have to get involved at some point.
It’s hard enough to be a teenager, add Facebook, Twitter and even texting and email and the vehicles of bullying can be overwhelming.
Parents, check your kid’s phones, Facebook, Twitter and email accounts. Keep them safe and make sure they are not the bully. It would be devastating to lose a child here in Lake Stevens because we didn’t do enough to save them.