William D. Jackson; Deaths from Bullying… : ThyBlackMan.com

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William D. Jackson; Deaths from Bullying…

October 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Education, Misc., News, Opinion, Relationships, Weekly Columns

(ThyBlackMan.com) Tragic Events
There are tragic stories of young people like 15 year old Phoebe Prince who have taken their lives because of bullying. Even Iain Steele a 15 year old that lived in Chicago and had a promising future in high school and Carl Walker-Hoover 11 years old, even though he was a Boy Scout and football player. The Springfield, Mass., young man was ruthlessly teased and harassed. He was even active in his church, but was affected by bullying to the point where he committed suicide. Bullying crosses race, gender and cultural lines. Carl was African American. The list tragically grows for teens and young people that are attempting suicide and even tragic the ones that are successful.

Enduring the torment, embarrassment of being harassed in an atmosphere where Phoebe should have been protected, nurtured and safe. She was a high school student in South Hadley, Mass. Instead of expectations of a great year in high school she was tormented verbally and online (cyberbullying).

She is not the only story; there are growing stories of students from elementary, middle and high school who experience various levels of bullying, harassment and torment at the amusement of others.

The most notable is that of Jeffrey Johnston, who took his life in 2004 after being bullied. Jeffery a 15-year-old boy committed suicide after being bullied, including Internet bullying (cyberbullying).

His tragic story has resulted in the “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act” (Fla. Stat. section 1006.147).

Statistics from Health Resources and Services Administration estimates that up to 25 percent of American students are bullied and the numbers are rising. School is supposed to be a safe haven, but according to Jonathan Cohen,  President of the Center for Social and Emotional Education(http://schoolclimate.org/), more than 160,000 American students stay home from school on any given day because they’re afraid of being bullied. Jonathan Cohen, “Bullying undermines the ability for children in grades K-12 to learn and develop in healthy ways.” Bullying has been noticed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and will for the first time include a section
on bullying in its official policy statement on the pediatrician’s role in preventing youth violence.

What is bullying?
Many parents do not understand the complexity of bullying. State statutes defines bullying as systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress through teasing, social exclusion, threats, intimidation; stalking, physical violence, theft, sexual, religious or racial harassment, public humiliation, or destruction of property. This includes harassment of LGBT
students who face taunting, discrimination and even death threats. These just like any other group of young people have dreams and aspirations of contributing to their communities, having families, careers and enjoying life.

These expectations of life are sometimes questioned when they are bullied
and tormented by those who are ignorant to the lives of others. “From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America” (2010) students across the country said their peers were most often bullied because of their appearance, but the next top reason was because of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression.

Even some churches which claim to accept all of God’s children bully LGBT students by creating atmospheres where young people feel unwelcomed by verbal nuances and subliminal messages which demean, embarrass and ostracize. The issue of bullying has grown to where “Sesame Street” has even created a bullying prevention program. Children as young as three years old have displayed bullying characteristics in school and in their communities.

Laws and Acts
Because of the increases in bullying behaviors schools districts, law enforcement and legislatures of various states have enacted Acts and Laws as protection against these actions. Mentioned above; the “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act” (Fla. Stat. section 1006.147). Debbie Johnston the mother of Jeffrey stated, “Everybody is recognizing that bullying isn’t a rite of passage, it’s not a part of childhood, and it doesn’t build character.”As a result of Jefferies death the Act “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act” was created. The Act requires districts to adopt new anti-bullying policies and spells out that those policies must address “cyberbullying“; taunts and harassing messages delivered by computer, cell phone or other technologies. Schools on a local level are taking serious bullying after several unfortunate instances that were reported in local and national media outlets of violence.

Schools are required to investigate any reports of bullying, including cyberbullying and notify all parents to be more involved. There are even forms that are created to report bullying, by name or anonymously. Parents should check with school guidance counselors for more information about intervention, prevention and proactive strategies.

The unfortunate truth is that only a small number of incidents are reported to school officials, teachers, administrators and even parents. Many schools have their own police force, but still there is a great hesitancy to report cases of bullying or harassment. Students are scared because of retribution from increased bullying and the torment of other family members that may be drawn into these actions.

It is now a matter of life and death that students get past “snitching” and alert parents, teachers, and even law enforcement officials.

Empowering Families
The quote; “It takes a village to raise children” has been stated several times by Mrs. Hillary Clinton during her bid for the Democratic nomination in 2008. Truer words have not been spoken about raising children in the twenty and twenty-first century. The White House in 2010 and 2011 has held a Bullying Prevention Conference for parents and children. The Yale School of Medicine conducted analysis of the link between childhood bullying and suicide in 37 studies from 13 countries, finding both bullies and their victims were at high risk of contemplating suicide.

All this information is interconnected to empower families with education. Children are exposed to many challenges, but schools should be a safe haven, a refuge from bullying, harassment, discrimination, physical and emotional harm.  The results of bullying last a life time of emotional turmoil that parents must address. Below are resources to aid parents in helping them to deal with bullying if their children are exposed, experiencing or involved in bullying. 

Conclusion
Parents need to be more informed, involved and proactive. Checking their children’s online activities, cell phone records and talk to teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators. The unfortunate reality is children and teens will not tell their parents about being bullied especially boys because they do not want to be labeled as “soft“. There is a “code” among young people that they abide by because they feel no one is listening to them or taking them seriously.

Stated by Cheryl Williams an LPN of over 20 years in Jacksonville, Florida and mother of three adult men. She states that, “the underlying stress and anxiety from bullying lasts a life time. It can lead to personality disorders, emotional instability, drug/substance abuse, unhealthy dietary changes and to the extreme suicidal thoughts and actions.” Parents start listening and watching for unspoken signs of behavioral change and emotional instability. Be proactive to the issue of bullying and harassment, talk to your children every
day about their day, their friends, and their emotional and mental stability. Importantly follow your instincts as a parent.

Bullying Resources:
Sesame Street
http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/topics/bullying

Stop Bullying Now
Interactive Cartoons for Kids
http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/kids/

Bullying.org
See, read, and hear the impact that bullying has had on people’s lives.
http://www.bullying.org

PBS Parents Information
Bullying Education
http://www.pbs.org/parents/search/results.html?restrict=parents&q=Bulling

Education.com
This is an interactive quiz on bullying
http://www.education.com/quiz/bullying-myths/

Youth Violence Statistics
http://youthviolence.edschool.virginia.edu/violence-in-schools/national-statistics.html

Bully Police
http://bullypolice.org/

Sexting – A Brief Guide for Educators and Parents
http://cyberbullying.us/blog/sexting-a-brief-guide-for-educators-and-parents.html

Sexting Policies in Schools
http://cyberbullying.us/blog/sexting-policies-in-schools.html

Staff Writer; William D. Jackson

Consulted with Cheryl Williams, LPN

Find out more about this talented writer over at; OCS For Education.

Also check out; http://www.About.Me/WilliamDJackson

 


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Comments

6 Responses to “William D. Jackson; Deaths from Bullying…”
  1. Thank you for your feedback about the Bullying blog. Bullying is becoming increasingly vicious. The involvement by parents, teachers and administrators needs to be consistant. Boys, girls and the educational environment are affected.
    No child should go to school scared..

    Wm

  2. toomanygrandkids says:

    me then I’m against you, which makes us enemies. I’m the type of woman who doesn’t mind getting along with people but if they’re the gotta-keep-drama-in-my-life or gotta-keep-bullshit-going that means they are definitely troublemakers.

    For whatever the reasons, and there’s many, bullies feel a sense of entitlement or they it excites them to have a”gang” to help bring misery to others. Sorta like follow the leader. And leaders seek control.

    There was a program “Gangster Girls” that was aired some years back. An older female was interviewed and she stated that she went around making others miserable because she was miserable. Her family was poor and they couldn’t afford food or pay bills and there was always fighting going on and that caused her not only misery but she was also angry. Shows that kids don’t know shit. Her and her family will never be the only poor people. There are plenty of poor people. She and her family aren’t the only ones who had/have trouble making ends meet. But bullies are selfish, narcissistic, and own very few brain cells.

    Their way(s) of thinking remains with them staight into old age. They’re most ignorant at this stage because even though they are elderly, they are just as immature as kids.

  3. toomanygrandkids says:

    I hate bullies. I was bullied as a child but most times when I’d fight/argue back, I’d get detention or suspension depending on the situation. Didn’t matter that I stood up for myself though. Bullies are cowards who crave attention. They can’t fight nor can they fight one-on-one. They need a gang. The purpose of a bullying is for the bully to bask in the thrill of convincing others to do things they would never do by themselves. Plenty of times, I would see a bully alone and she/he wouldn’t say a word. I’d be thinking to approach them but decided against it.

    IDK if anyone knows it or not, but young bullies have help being bullies other than their kids the kids they hang with.

    Older people instigate the actions of a bully without being seen or heard. Young bullies protect the older instigator by not telling on them. The older person will instructor the bully to “not mention my name” or “don’t tell my involvement.”

    I put bullies in the same category as gang members. When the majority of young bullies get older, they’ll become gang members so they can keep doing what they know how to do best: bullying. Some never grow up and out of bullying because its better/easier to remain the same than change. Changing one’s self means admitting to wrongdoing. I’ve got so many older relatives who still exert bully-type behavior. And since they’re right about everything and they do/have done no wrong, its really to late for them to change themselves.

    I really have no choice but to stay far away from them or deal with ‘em at a couple of arms length. I don’t believe in that “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” No way do I want an old bully close to me. Oh yeah, I think of bullies as enemies. If bullies/enemies/gang members were in my personal space everyday then I’d be arguing and fighting everyday because ignorant folks, no matter their age, feel as though they can say anything to you. I don’t think so. Family ot not, if you’re against

  4. Shawn says:

    I doubt bullying is on the rise or that kids are meaner. I think it much more likely that we are raising a weaker generation who is unable to deal with small slights. Our focus on high self esteem has left us defenseless to other peoples opinions to provide inner justification. Children used to be taught “sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you”, now children as young as 3 are being labeled bullies.

  5. Patsy says:

    This article is great and informative!

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