71% of all students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
I woke up this morning and turned on the Today show as I normally do. As I was sipping my morning coffee I was stopped in my tracks when I heard that a TEN year old girl by the name of Ashlynn Conner from central Illinois had hung herself with a scarf in a closet because children at school where bullying her.
I put my coffee down and began to sob. As my husband comforted me, I was flooded with several questions: Why does this happen? Why are people so mean? Why is the world so cruel? What could I have done? I composed myself, and went about my day, which ironically was to teach children. I have worked with children as a day job for the last ten years. I have three younger brothers and I do a lot of babysitting, so I guess it is fair to say I’m an educator.
Before, I sat down to write this blog I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t blaming anyone or anything, suicide is a horrible thing and I would never want to judge a situation that I know little about. I don’t want to glorify this story or condemn it I simply want to tell it. I want children to know that I am here for them and that there is help.
When I was growing up my mom said: nothing is that bad, just tell us and we will figure it out and even at the age of thirty I still heed that advice. There are times when the feeling of giving up is so overwhelming that I want to scream, but yet I persist onward. I have been bullied and I have bullied others, however, as I have grown older, gained more confidence, found lasting love and pursued my goals, those negative and destructive thoughts have subsided. But it has been a long journey.
Lady Gaga says that bullying should be a hate crime. I don’t know if I completely agree with that, because sometimes the bully is also hurting and has nowhere to turn and going to jail may not solve or help anything. However, I believe something should change. More communication? Less pressure? Limited access to things like Facebook and Twitter? More parental involvement? Maybe? Can you ever really tell your child you love them enough…… I don’t know, but at least we can try.
This morning I cried for the bullies and the bullied, and I guess all I wanted to say is that I AM HERE FOR YOU: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can talk, listen, cry, hug, jump, dance, scream, be. I AM HERE FOR YOU.