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 training
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 suicide  would 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


William Jackson, M.Ed. Bullying Prevention Speaker

William Jackson, M.Ed. Bullying Prevention Speaker

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