There was a girl named Amanda Todd. She was 15. She was tormented by bullies over a really stupid mistake she made with some boys. Unfortunately she couldn’t find enough help to get her through it, and ended her own life. (please read Bully Victim Sends Message to the World – Toronto Sun and watch the video)
One boy stalked her and blackmailed her into doing things that resulted in name calling. Another lied to her, convinced her it was ok to fool around because his girlfriend was out of town, and stood back while his girlfriend then beat her for it. These kids harassed her over her failed attempt to commit suicide, so she tried again.
First, FIFTEEN?? i may have been sheltered as a kid, but there was no way i would even consider showing anyone my special places at freakin 15!! and WOW, how times have changed. When did a taken man (or woman) become fair game to anyone? Don’t people know what it means to be in a relationship anymore? Darn cheaters everywhere. Its like no one really cares anymore, no morals whatsoever … which is perhaps where the bullying issue stems from.
So yes, Amanda was in the wrong for her actions, but im sure she was unbelievably vulnerable at this point. After being stalked and harassed by her tormentors every where she went, there wouldnt have been much left to her. She likely would have believed anything anyone told her.
Second, we are told Amanda had the support of the school and teachers but if this is them helping i’d rather police the school myself and whip the lips off of any kids talking trash to ANYone. I mean, what bully hates you online but is your friend infront of everyone?? yeah – NONE! So they must have been doing something in public too. How did the school sit back on this? Seems the police were involved at some point, but no article really talks about the punishment of the first stalker bully. What happened to setting a precedence – Making the punishment a public scene to deter anyone else from the same crime?
These bullies and their traveling fan party were not from Amanda’s current school so how was their presence – in the middle of the day, in the middle of class – not questioned? When i was in grade 7 ANYone from outside the school was scoped out within seconds of stepping foot on school property, and thus escorted away. Seriously, seconds! Mind you, back then, our issue was child abduction so the teachers were all eyes for strangers. Since bullying is turning into the biggest issue in EVERY school how is it not yet treated with equal attention to strangers stealing kids? Its happening on their OWN school property, with their OWN students causing harm.
I am incredibly thankful that my bullies didn’t take things this far. Perhaps it was simply that things were different back then – Kids weren’t so horribly awful and violent. In my case, kids stood in a stupid circle, saying “do something, do something”. I knew i wasn’t fast enough to avoid a hit, or strong enough to throw the first punch so i took off my glasses and said “ok. go ahead” … but my tormentor did nothing. The name calling and harassment stopped right then and there. So i acted unafraid, and it ended. I dont think bravery would have changed Amanda’s life but maybe it could have helped kill the ego of the horrible girls who were looking for a popularity boost.
I am still stunned that these kids were so bold to first trick a girl into adultery, and then ridicule and beat her for it. Perhaps it’s their lack of maturity that lead them to believe this was an acceptable solution? Or perhaps the way today’s movies create a “cool” bad guy image they wanted to copy. In my opinion though, regardless of whether Amanda wanted to press charges or not, NONE of these kids should get away with what they have done … and how truly evil do you have to be to continue to harassing a kid after they attempted to commit suicide. (and really – how did they get that information anyways?)
Considering bullying is only getting worse, i’m beginning to feel it’s going to “take a community to raise a child”. Yes, we all need to feed our children with positive reinforcement, giving them the strength to protect against the effects of bullies – if you are strong and confident in yourself, no amount of “your stupid” will hurt you. But, we also need to take a stand when inappropriate words are spoken by those who are not our children. If you overheard kids younger than you speaking harshly or rude to one another, would you step in? We are told teachers monitor our children constantly in order to stop inappropriate behavior, but what if they don’t? Do we all just let it slide because its supposed to be their job? I say no. I say lead by example.
This lack of action is actually an issue at my daughter’s school. They say they are working against bullying – trying to stop it from happening, meanwhile kids on the playground speak like filthy adults in a trashy bar. Now, this has never been noted as bully behavior, but i feel we clearly need to look further into the characteristics of a bully to determine where it comes from, and stop it before it starts.
So i will watch where our teachers say they can’t, and step in when i see inappropriate behavior. I will reassure my daughter that bullies torment because they saw it in a movie or even worse, someone is doing it to them. I will teach other kids that many peer pressure situations can actually be viewed as bullying, and help them to become better people too. Furthermore, i will stop sharing my opinion of others (or gossiping) infront of my child. I will lead by example.
So, what will you do?