My Quest To Teach

Bullying and Suicide Prevention in Schools

Bullying and Suicide – More Needs to be Done
Suicide Prevention Weeks Across the Nation
Schools Should be prepared to meet the needs of
students that are scared and feel abandoned.

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 the 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 the atmosphere of schools in the nation; Presidential initiatives, community
summits, parent workshops, teacher trainings and even religious workshops, 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 can been seen as; repeated, continuous, “systematically and
chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students”
State Impact on 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.

If the seriousness of bullying has not been understood, look at the tragedy of Shayne Ijames, committed
suicide and Zachery Gray who 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, they were 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 as a teacher” I should teach her child how to behave and how to act in
school. The social development of children is a parents responsibility…
Sounding The Suicide Alarm in Jacksonville
Laws are enacted, but 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 are growing, bullying should not be present. In a perfect world the issue of bullying and
suicidewould have concrete solutions, consistent parental involvement, mental health specialists involved,
but we like in reality, not a Matrix of alternative realities. The reality is that youth, teens and
young adults are killing themselves as a result of Bullying…

Parents communicate with your children, start the dialogue now, engage and interact so you know what
is going on. Talk to teachers, guidance counselors and administrators.

William Jackson speaking at the Boys and Girls Clubs Keystone
Leadership Conference 2012 Orlando, Florida  and 2014 Jacksonville, Florida

Annual National Suicide Prevention Week Suicidology

William Jackson, M.Ed. Bullying Prevention Speaker

William Jackson, M.Ed. Bullying Prevention Speaker

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