By Valerie D. Lockhart
SUN EXECUTIVE EDITOR
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a classic nursery rhyme. But, today words not only hurt – they kill.
For 14-year-old Amanda, words caused her to send a gruesome message to her tormenters. She hung herself from a tree in front of her school bus stop. As the bus pulled up, students saw her lifeless body swinging from a branch.
“Why did I deserve this pain?…Have you ever thought about what you said to me? huh… maybe not! because you killed me every day…. You told me so much that I started believing it. And I was stupid for doing that. Every morning, day, night I look in the mirror and cry, and replay the harmful words in my head. P.S. it’s bullying that killed me. Please get justice,” she wrote in a suicide note.
Bullycide may include:
§ Being constantly physically and emotionally bullied
§ Experiencing constant physical and emotional pain
§ Having to continually relive an embarrassing moment over and over that is regularly brought up peers as a method of torment
§ Being the victim of bullying by an authority figure like a parent, teacher, coach or other adult
§ When the victim of bullying has no other friends to rely on for support or encouragement while being bullied regularly.
Wallethub.com ranks Michigan as number one in bullying incidents throughout the country, which was followed by Louisiana in second place.
The Center for Disease Control reports that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. About 4,400 youth take their lives each year.
Ashley Cardona was among the victims in 2014. The 12-year-old was constantly teased about being tall and having a noticeable scar on her face. Each day in school, classmates would yell out, “Gorilla Scarface!” When she could no longer bear the abuse, she took to Instagram and left a simple message before killing herself writing, “I’m just not okay.”
It’s not okay to bully as well. To increase awareness of bullying and bullycide, October is designated as National Bully Prevention Month.
“October is a time when educators, students, parents, and community members can unite to share their support for the important issue of bullying prevention,” said Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “Together, we can make our schools and communities safer.”
Bullying can be prevented by simply speaking up against the behavior. The Youth Voice Project noted how bullying decreased 57 percent, when a peer intervened on behalf of a bullied student.
Other ways to stop bullying Include:
• Improving student supervision.
• Using school rules and behavior management methods throughout the school to address bullying.
• Implementing and enforcing a whole-school bullying prevention policy.
• Encouraging cooperation between school staff, parents, and other professionals.
“No words can explain what I feel like right now or how I felt,” said Ashley’s mother. “I just don’t have a child anymore.”
And, so no parent has to experience the death of a child as a result of bullycide, officials urge students and their parents to remember, “Words don’t just hurt. They kill.”
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traced to 21-year-old
* Health employee linked to giving
gang private patient information
* State police and DEA take back
drugs, Oct. 22
* DMCU donates 3,400 pounds of
food to Gleaners
* City of Detroit provides free
exams and glasses to students
* Da Rumor Mill