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Bullying is Bullsh*t

By on October 5, 2011

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and the fact our nation has designated a entire month to preventing this despicable behavior reflects on the severity of the problem. Bullying kills.

In 2009, 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover hanged himself after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. Carl was a bright and kind junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts and did not identify as gay.

So when any 11-year-old feels so unsafe in a school setting or elsewhere and believes ending his life is the only real escape from being taunted and bullied, we simply are not protecting children.  And there is a big difference between “kids being kids” and bullying.

Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior that is intentional, hurtful, (physical and psychological), and/or threatening and persistent (repeated). There is an imbalance of strength (power and dominance).

Boys and girls have many similarities when it comes to being the “aggressor” but there are some
distinct characteristics we found among boy bullies.

Boys who Bully:

  • Generally bully both boys and girls across the board.
  • Are likely to use more direct behaviors (physical and verbal bullying) than girls do.
  • Boys may use more physical aggression than girls but more research is needed to verify this
    assertion based on current research.
  • Boys are just as likely as girls to use social and emotional taunting.

Another vulnerable 11-year-old child, Celina Okwuone hanged herself in her bedroom closest. She was found by her parents with a belt wrapped around her neck. Her diary indicated she was bullied by her classmates at St. Anatasia Catholic School. She left behind a series of dark and disturbing diary entries and, on her cellphone, a string of text messages from children who jeered at her weight or her taste in music or labeled her “ugly,” “blacky” or “b—-.”

Dr. Celestine Okwuone, a Florida physician and his wife, Ileana, described their daughter as a sensitive and vibrant child who wanted nothing more than to fit in. The little girl took her life in May 2010.

People protect people. It’s the way it’s always has been and will be! Check in with your kids and be aware of what’s happening among your children’s peer group. Most states have laws to address bullying, harassment, and hazing. And if bullying is happening to you, your child, or even someone you know there is help available. Call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if it gets to be too much, SPEAK UP, REACH OUT, ASK FOR HELP.

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