Beyond Bullying

BY JILLIAN DESOUSA // NOV. 6, 2012 //

When I was in eighth grade, I transferred schools because my family moved to a neighborhood where the school I had been attending for three years was no longer in my district.

Amanda Todd, a teenager from Canada, committed suicide after being bullied. // PHOTO FROM ABCNEWS.COM

The school was going to let me come back because it was my final year, but they could not provide transportation, and my parents and me couldn’t afford to get another car. So I finished out middle school away from my friends, in a new school where I did not know anyone. That alone was scary.

Of course, I was new, and most of my new classmates were curious. While there were people who were nice to me from the start, there were others who were not so nice. At my old school, I was on the receiving end of a few rude comments here and there, but everyone gets that.

This new school was entirely different and worse than I thought possible. I will admit that there were times I came home crying and I hated my parents for making me transfer. But while I was unhappy, I never thought about taking my own life.

Since the case of Phoebe Prince in 2010 and the trial of the six students who repeatedly bullied her to the point she committed suicide, there has been a battle to put an end to bullying. Massachusetts even passed a law on it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop students from bullying other students.

You think those who call themselves your friends are your friends. But if they do bully people, then they should not be your friends.

Last month Amanda Todd came into the public eye via Facebook. She put up YouTube videos of herself singing and received positive comments. Then someone asked her to “flash” them, and she did it.

It was a foolish mistake almost any 15-year-old would make. The bullying escalated when another subscriber blackmailed her. He asked her to put on a “show” for him, or he would release a video he made of her to the rest of the Internet. She refused. That sent off a chain of events that would lead to Amanda attempting to kill herself twice before succeeding on the third try.

Bullying and suicide are closely linked together. One reason teenagers attempt or commit suicide is because they think their peers – sometimes even their own families – don’t understand them or care about them. They honestly believe that suicide is the only way out.

What they don’t understand is that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. There is someone who cares, people who can help.

You can read more information on suicide and suicide prevention online. No one can possibly comprehend what random acts of kindness can do for someone who is so close to falling over the edge.

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