Bullying and Suicides
William Jackson, M.Edu.
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”
State Impact of Bullying
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 shame in our educational system that must be addressed
by parents, administrators and teachers. To many children feel “Invisible” when they have problems
In this blog is a passionate plea for parents to listen to their children, take the time to be parents.
Invisibility of Being Bullied
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
Sounding The Suicide 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
What “Bullying” Means in Florida Schools
Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition
Florida Department of Education