Putting Education Reform To The Test

Feedback Loop: Sounding Off About Bullies

Courtesy of Sheri Leitch

Shayne Ijames, 13, committed suicide in Port St. Lucie on May 2, 2012. The family suspects he was bullied after a text message came in on his phone that said, "happy funeral."

This week’s story about a pair of brothers who felt bullied in their schools sounded familiar to a few StateImpact Florida readers.

Parents said they had pulled their children from school because of a threat or fear of bullying. Adults said the story took them right back to school hallways where they were treated similarly to Austin Beaucage.

Former Student said, in his or her experience, bullying was not taken seriously in Florida’s rural schools:

Growing up as the only Indian kid in a small Florida town (Class of 2000), I’m really sad to see that nothing has changed.  I will never forget the first (and only) time I went for help to school administrator because two kids were bullying me.

His response “Are you sure it was those two boys?  I know their parents!”.

Alonso Menendez said his experience with bullying taught him a lesson: Reporting it only leads to more trouble:

sad to see things have not changed here in florida since i was in high school 30 years ago. i was bullied on a daily basis. i remember going to the principal back in 7th grade and the result was that both of us got in trouble and i was told to try to get along. after which the bullying got worse because i went to the principal. what i learned is that i can’t count on anyone to help me but myself and the system was not there to help me but rather bury the problem so it could be ignored. i never reported another incident again, despite the fact that the bullying continued until i got into college.

Wiicki said bullying is one reason why he or she “unschools” and teaches the kids at home:

NOTE TO PARENTS:  If your child isn’t enjoying his/her school experience, GET THEM OUT OF THERE!  Chances are, things aren’t as pretty as the schools would have you believe.  Education isn’t nearly is difficult to obtain as the schools would love you to believe.  There are tons of free resources available and happy children learn more, at a faster rate.  There is NOTHING that the school system provides that can’t be provided in a far healthier environment.

And finally, Guest chided us for an omission:

As a mental health professional and school district administrator,  I am disappointed that NPR ran a story about a youth suicide without
providing any referral information, such as 1-800-SUICIDE, for people in crisis.

I implore any student who is having a problem with bullying or other peer behaviors to reach out to an adult at school AND an adult at home.  If the first person you tell doesn’t help you, tell someone else!  If you are feeling depressed, please talk to someone like a parent, school counselor, psychologist, social worker, or nurse.  There IS help available and it DOES get better.

Thanks for reading and please keep the opinions coming.

Reader reaction is an important part of building StateImpact Florida’s education coverage. Feedback Loop will be a regular feature highlighting your questions, criticisms and comments.


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