Suicide, Bullies, and Depression
Making a Difference

by Samantha (age 14) - Gravitate Middle School - Michigan

Jared High was an extremely nice kid. He had lots of friends and a good heart. But, he was bullied. He was very depressed from being targeted by the school bully, and one day decided he couldn't take it anymore, so he shot himself and was killed instantly.

There is a name for kids and teens who commit suicide because of being bullied, like Jared: It's called Bullycide. Did you know that 1out of 4 kids is bullied? Or that 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month? That's outrageous. Nobody deserves to be bullied, and most people know this, but did they ever actually stop and defend someone being bullied for a ridiculous reason, like not dressing the "right way" or not being good at sports, or being the intelligent student of the school? Not likely. That happens to everyone; they see someone getting picked on and don't try to stop it.

The schools aren't doing much to help either. Over 6 million boys and 4 million girls are involved in physical fights every year on school grounds, and I guess that's not too hard to believe, because every 7 minutes, on some part of school grounds, a child or teenager is bullied, and the chances of adult intervention is only 4% and student intervention is 11%, while the chances of no intervention is 85%.

The point here is that bullying does kill people, and nobody seems to realize that. Sisters Samantha and Michaela Kendal were both so taunted about being overweight that they went on a hunger strike, and they both died. Twelve year old Stephen Woodhall hanged himself with his brother's tie, because he'd rather kill himself than face another day of being pushed around and taunted by bullies. Not too long ago, actually only in September of 1997 in England, 13 year old Kelly Yeomans took a fatal overdose of drugs after months and months of being tormented. Her bullies were given the terrible punishment... of being slapped on the wrist.

No, bullying doesn't always lead to suicide, but a lot of it leads to fighting, and fighting can also kill people, like twelve year old Debbie Shaw's fight, when she agreed to a challenge from anonymous girls to end her victimization by fighting the school bully. Debbie died of her injuries. 1 out of 3 students has heard, more than once, another student threaten to kill someone. I know I've heard that before, and now I also know that people do take that threat and make it reality, so I try my best to stick up for anyone I see being bullied. It doesn't seem like much, but you may mean the world to someone who may have been at home testing knives in their kitchen to see if they were sharp enough to kill them, or if they were planning to load a gun as soon as they got home and bring it to school the next day for self defense, or if they're just someone who thought nobody would ever say something and they'd never have a real friend.

Bullying also interrupts people's lives in ways that I can't believe; it makes them miss a lot of school, or miss out on going anywhere at all because they're so afraid of bullies. People say it will get better after grade school, because bullies supposedly get over their obsession to hurt people for stupid reasons. Well if that is true, then please tell me how, according to a poll, teens ages 12-17 believe violence and bullying has increased in their schools since elementary school.

Why do bullies constantly put people down and abuse them in such a way?

I didn't know until I found a study on Family First, which showed the top 5 reasons as to why a bully might become a bully:

1) They might just be angry and in need of someone to take their frustration out on.
2) Someone might have bullied them in the past.
3) They have low self esteem, and think controlling someone might make them feel better about themselves.
4) I hate to say this one, because I watch violence on TV., and listen to violent music, but maybe the bully was exposed to too much of it and thought they would be cool if they hurt someone just like the good guy in the movie or the rapper in the song.
5) Maybe their parents spoiled them to death, making them think they can get away with anything, including bullying.
Speaking of parents, where exactly are they in a situation like bullying?  They have a huge influence on their kids, and although we as kids resent them once in awhile, we know deep down they want to help us.

I'm lucky enough to have parents that I can talk to, and they've always reminded me to show compassion towards others with a quote: "Be more kind than necessary." When I was little, I never understood it, but now that I'm a teenager and see people being picked on every day, I try my best to act upon that quote. I know I've bullied someone in the past, and so has everyone else in this room, maybe not physically, but I know we definitely must have hurt their feelings. I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad, because 1 out of 5 kids say they've bullied someone in the past as well. I know now that nobody I've hurt deserved that, and maybe I can't make that up to them, but I can jump in and stick up for someone who's being bullied by someone else.

Everybody should be respected, and everyone is equal. I'm tired of walking into school day after day and seeing someone being bullied. It just isn't right, and although I haven't changed the world and eliminated bullying entirely, maybe I had some effect on people with this speech. As I close, I want those who believe they can't do anything about bullying to remember this: A lot of people think that there's no hope for bullied kids, or maybe that we're just growing up, but making a difference is about believing when you have nothing to believe in, so make that difference.

HEAR JARED'S VOICE - PLAY - From an interview with Pasco School District investigators concerning the assault.  This is a recording of a recording and it isn't real clear, but worth the download effort.  Jared had a real mellow voice.     Note: If you have a slow load wav, wait for it to load entirely and then play again from the start.   5 minutes long.

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