In the last four months, I’ve been “one degree” from two young men who chose to take their lives because of bullying.
In both cases, the young men decided to use a permanent solution when life became overwhelming in the face of bullying.
Enough is enough.
It’s time for everyone, adults and students alike, to do something to stop this insidious piece of American culture.
Bullying is not limited to schools. It can take place in the job force among adults, and shoot; it can take place within a dating or married relationship.
There’s an old saying that “stick and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Words have power. They hurt. Often in ways more painful than sticks and stones. Hate-filled words dig into a person’s psyche and never let go.
Today’s social-media culture feeds into the bullying crisis. With the simple push of a button, today’s student can feed a Photoshopped image or a libelous, hate-filled post to Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and more in a matter of seconds.
What was once confined to notes on a page, is now blasted across the Internet with a stroke of a key. Think of it as placing a bully-filled billboard in front of Walmart—for all to see. That’s the power Internet has given to bullying.
Bullying is wrong. It is preventable.
It’s time we as a community stand up and say STOP.
Enough is enough.
Next week, Kirk Smalley, a nationally recognized speaker on the issue, will be in Jay, reminding students, and parents alike, that everyone is somebody—and it’s up to all of us to stand up for the silent victims of bullying. Before it’s too late.
Smalley earned the right to speak his message the hard way. His 11-year-old son, Ty, killed himself, ultimately, in response to two years of bullying.
The meeting will take place at 6 p.m., Monday, June 3, at the Jay Community Center, 439 S. Ninth St., Jay. It’s a joint initiative of Jay CAN and Grove CAN. It’s for anyone, but especially folks in Delaware County who want to do something about bullying.
All joking aside, I’ve heard about the “Berlin Wall” of DelCo that exists along the Zena road. What happens in Jay, stays on one side, what happens in Grove, on the other.
For this meeting, it’s time to breach that barrier.
Smalley’s message isn’t limited to students and adults living in only Jay or Grove. Bullying transcends schools, community, county and state lines.
Unfortunately, it’s an issue reaching epic proportions.
Smalley told me one out of every four students has a plan to kill himself because of bullying.
If you are being bullied, regardless of your age, tell someone you trust. If that person doesn’t take you seriously, tell another person. Keep telling people (including adults) until someone listens.
You are important. You matter. You are somebody.
If you are an adult, and someone tells you they are being bullied, DO SOMETHING. It’s that simple. DO SOMETHING.
We as a community at-large MUST do something to stop the virus spreading among our students.
School may be out, but bullying doesn’t take a holiday. Jay CAN and Grove CAN organizers believe in this issue so much, they found away to bring Smalley to talk to students and parents now, rather than trying to find a date in his international speaking tour next year.
We, as a community, have the opportunity to make a difference.
Enough is enough.
Do something. Make a difference.
Stand up for the silent.
Kaylea M. Hutson is the managing editor of The Grove Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-786-2228. This column originally appeared in the May 31, 2013 issue of The Grove Sun.