A recent story in the news got my undivided attention and wrankled my ire. The story was regarding two young girls — a 12 year-old and 14-year-old, to be exact— who bullied a classmate until she committed suicide.
One of the bullies even wrote on her Facebook how she was glad the suicide victim was dead. THAT got my attention. I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world the victim had done to rate such scorn from two girls who had once been her friends.
Police allege that both girls have thus far demonstrated no remorse over their actions nor the death of their victim. They estimate that as many as 15 girls participated in the bullying for months online.
My question: Where were the parents of the instigators when the abuse was taking place?
According to investigators, at least one set of parents WAS AWARE of what their golden angel was up to and chose not to step in to stop it. That left me perplexed. Why would any parent condone such behavior in their child and allow it to escalate to the point the victim commits suicide? It is a question that has investigators scratching their collective head as well and even considering charging the parents.
I say if the allegations made against this set of parents are true, then throw the book at them. I am amazed at the lackadaisical attitude that this set of parents had towards this situation and utter lack of concern. Their excuse? “I check my daughter’s account every time she logs on and I see what she posts.” Hmmmmmmm.
Parents, it’s time to stop trying to be your child’s best buddy, and instead be the parent. Take charge of the situation and demand your child take responsibility when they have hurt someone or brought harm to someone.
Part of the problem with these children today is the fact they have no rules and structure. Children crave rules and they need structure and routines. They need to know that there are consequences when they break a rule. They need to understand that fights and bullying over boyfriends or girl friends is not acceptable, ever.
I have to wonder just what motivated these girls and what they have been exposed to in their short lives for them to become so hardened and so cruel that they would have no feelings at all for being the root cause of the death of a classmate.
Bullying is no longer confined to the classroom. It is no longer a bunch of harsh words or maybe a black eye and then its over. Bullying today is nonstop at home via the social media, email and cell phone and in the classroom. Those who are being singled out as victims for abuse today feel that there is no escape from the now constant torment except to kill themselves. So what message do we as a society send those who are the instigators when we as parents look the other way.
Bullying shouldn’t be tolerated on any level and there should be swift punishment for those who choose to engage in such activity. For the victims, bullying leaves lifelong scars and painful memories.
The conscious decision to torture someone until they take their own life is one that I find hard to fathom. I don’t understand that level of rage and/or hate. Maybe it is because I have always tried to find constructive and positive ways for dealing with those types of folks by ignoring them.
For the victims, it is hard to rebuild their self confidence and self esteem after being attacked so viciously for so long.
It is past time that we as a community stop being a willing ally by looking the other way, and we start being pro-active by standing up as a community and saying no more bullying.
— Erin Smith is a staff writer for the Bladen Journal. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 910-862-4163 or on Twitter @ErynnSmith.