Putting Education Reform To The Test

Teen’s Suicide Has Florida Lawmaker Seeking Action For Victims Of Bullying


Lennon Baldwin

The repercussions of bullying recently hit home for a Florida legislator.  A family friend committed suicide, and classmates say it followed repeated harassment.

Port Richey Republican Representative John Legg was moved enough by the tragedy to send a letter to Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson.  He wrote about 15-year-old Lennon Baldwin, who “committed suicide last week as a result of being harassed at school.”

Legg, a father of five who is also an administrator and teacher, asked Robinson for assistance dealing with what he said is a growing problem everywhere: school bullying and harassment. He wrote, “Bullying in our schools, regardless of whether it is occurring online or in the classroom, is becoming more and more prevalent. A great deal of discussion has taken place in recent years in an attempt to put an end to bullying. Yet, the problem still persists.”

Lennon Baldwin was a high school freshman. Investigators are trying to determine whether bullying led to his suicide. The prosecutor in Morris County, NJ is asking anyone with information about why Baldwin killed himself to contact law enforcement.

At Baldwin’s funeral, his father told mourners, “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 federal government recently unveiled its new and improved website, www.stopbullying.gov. It covers a range of topics, from cyber bullying to anti-bullying laws around the country. For those who want more information, countless websites are devoted to the topic, like this one from education.com and this list from the Florida Department of Education.

In his letter, Rep. Legg told Commissioner Robinson he wants to help create a safe environment for students and establish a mechanism so that students who feel threatened can get assistance and treatment, if needed. “No child should feel this threatened anywhere,” he wrote.


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