Bullying and Suicides | Community Spirit

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Bullying and Suicides
Bullying and Suicides

Sunday, September 09, 2012 begins Suicide Prevention Week
The stress of a new school year is magnified by pressures of
the unknown, the unknown of whether a student will be safe
in the hallways of schools. Students struggle if it will be safe
to go to the bathroom or even lunchroom at school. Students
wonder will they be bullied at the bus stop, will they be taunted,
teased and attacked for no sensible reason other than they
are just there.

Bullying has changed atmospheres of schools in the nation;
Presidential initiatives, community summits, parent workshops,
teacher trainings and even religious workshops are not being
held, bullying has been recognized as a serious issue in public,
private and charter schools of this nation.

Bullying does not discriminate by color, race, age, sex, religion,
how physically strong a person is, how popular or how athletic.
Bullying does not care about political affiliations, socio-economic
status or what type of Jordan’s, Nikes or other shoe wear is worn.

What "Bullying" means; repeated, continuous, “systematically
and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress
on one or more students”

Parents, Teachers and even Clergy should understand and recognize
that bullying is not a rite of passage, or a way of acceptance.
Bullying takes the form of: Teasing, Social Exclusion,
Threats, Intimidation, Stalking, Physical Violence, Theft,
Sexual Taunting, Religious, or Racial Harassment, and
Public Humiliation.

Students are subjected to these conditions and in some ways
worse. This is not a third world situation; it is a national she
in our educational system that must be
addressed by parents, administrators and teachers.
To many children feel “Invisible” when they have
problems and concerns.

In this blog is a passionate plea for parents to listen to their
children, take the time to be parents.

Invisibility of Being Bullied

If the seriousness of bullying has not been understood, look at
the tragedy of Shayne Ijames, committed suicide and
Zachery Gray attempted suicide even though he had a girlfriend
and was popular. His attempt left him paralyzed, and his note
shows the reality of how many teens feel.
“To all my friends and teachers… Don’t take my death and spread
rumors about me just know you can’t always push someone around.
But also please remember me for who i was not what you thought
i was.
Love always. Zachery Gray. Class of 2012.”

These are just a few of the stories found, locally “one in eight
high school students in Jacksonville have tried to take their life”
Topher Sanders.
This information should not be limited to just a story, but the reality
of life. Shauna Terrell a Jacksonville teen attempted to kill herself
three times by the time she was 13. She was a subject of a
Times-Union story titled: “Deciding to Live”. The reality of bullying
and suicide is real, not a made for TV movie or Reality TV series.

Parents, proactively communicate with your children. Don’t wait for
your children to start the conversation, because in most cases they
will not. Stated by the father of Lennon Baldwin, a high school
freshman that committed suicide, “Whatever you’re involved in, there
is nothing that you can’t go to your parents with…Your parents
are your anchor. They brought you into this world to defend and
protect you. Trust in your parents, and their unconditional love.”

The correlation of bullying and suicide has been documented and
studied. Statistically suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in
Florida (2010), the tenth in the United States (2008), the twenty
fourth worldwide (2002) information from the Florida Suicide
Prevention Coalition.

The alarm has been sounded for our nation not just Jacksonville,
schools need help in addressing bullying and the potential of
suicide; schools cannot do it by themselves, established to
educate, not teach societal morals and values.
Parents should be involved with their children, proactive and
serious in their support in keeping schools safe. It is my hope
that parents do not make this an issue that teachers and
schools must handle alone.  The first teacher, role model,
and value (morals) maker are parents.

I hope parents do not have the same mentality that a parent
threw in my face that “because I make so much money” I should
teach her child how to behave and how to act in school. Teachers
are certified to teach, educate and prepare a future work force.

Sounding the Alarm

Education about bullying and suicide for youth and teens is
needed. Parents take responsibility for your children’s actions
and hold them accountable. One suicide death is unacceptable
and the numbers showing are growing. The dialogue is growing
and attention is there, but engagement and dialogue needs
to be increased. Parents start the conversation with your
children if you have not done so already.

This week is the 38th Annual National Suicide Prevention Week
Sunday September 9th to Friday September15th, 2012


Zachery Gray Story

What "Bullying" Means in Florida Schools


Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition

Shauna Terrell

Stop Bullying

Florida Department of Education

Arlington Businesses