Bullying and the Schools who Look the Other Way

So this happened:
Bullied boy dies when life support was pulled

I cannot be the only one whose heart breaks when something like this happens. This has become an epidemic. Actually, this has been an epidemic for some time. I can remember a fool on the bus throwing gum in my hair on the day of the science fair. I had no idea what happened until a good friend pulled me aside. She spent the next 40 minutes carefully pulling all the junk out of my hair, in the hopes that we’d be done before the judges got to our aisle.

Kids have always been mean. Odds are, they will always be mean. However, that does not mean that grown-ups (supposed grown-ups) should turn their backs on these kids and expect the problems to solve themselves. They won’t.

My older was being bullied. The school’s solution? Mediation sessions with the kids doing the bullying. Because they expected that to help. A few weeks later, I was called to the school to pick up my kid. He had told his friends that he wanted to kill himself. He’d even thought out ways to do it. How could this have happened? How did I miss it? I don’t know what I could have done to fix it–I’d sent countless emails to the school. I filled out dozens of “bullying/harassment” forms. Nothing. The kid doing most of the bullying? He’d been tormenting other kids all year.

And then my boy just couldn’t take it anymore. Fortunately for us, he reached out to friends who he thought “wouldn’t care” to let someone know. So we spent 8 hours in an emergency room, waiting for the doctors to release him. They originally wanted to admit him to the psych ward at the hospital–a psych ward with both adults and teenagers living in the same spaces. How is that an acceptable option? It’s not. You know what else in unacceptable? Our insurance was not accepted by any of the programs the doctors recommended that we use. Other, local professionals did not have openings for WEEKS. How is this acceptable? Finally, through the magic of coincidence, an acquaintance of ours just happened to know someone who just happened to have had a cancellation that night and could squeeze him in. Thank goodness for the occasional happy coincidence–even if they only sort of accept our insurance.

Now, my boy can get the medical help he needs. How long before the stigma of mental health and support goes away?

My heart goes out to all families who are going through the pain of trying to save a bullied child.



What happens when I realize that I’m the jerk? Driving around, listening to my little radio (that only gets 3-4 stations since someone snapped off my antennae. I keep thinking that I’m going to remove the little piece of antenna still stuck in the base, and then put a new one in, but that hasn’t happened yet…) and getting a bit grumpy at a song that was playing; it sounded a wee bit smarmy–very better-than-thou and ha-ha-ha-look-how-much-more-fabulous-my-life-is-than-yours. That nonsense makes me unhappy. And I had expected better from that particular singer, too. (Oh, Martina–you let me down!)

As that mess of grouchy thoughts randomly imbued with “Love’s the only house big enough for all the pain in the world”–which is really kind of incongruous, considering she’s talking about–at one point–seeing an ex and rambling on about how much better her life is than his, etc. All those crotchety thoughts were still tumbling around in my brain when a song came on about a woman’s always being her ex’s last call–a play on words, as the ex-in-question is generally at a bar, getting drunk off Johnny Red and having no one to take him home at Last Call at the bar.

Listening to the emotion in her voice–how much she had put into leaving him alone so she could move on, no matter what–I started thinking about who I had dated in the past who could cause me that kind of heartbreak once it was all over.

Sadly, there really weren’t that many.

I was accused, by one particularly nasty former boyfriend, of cheating him out of time and love. I am frightfully easy to guilt-trip, and many dastardly folk have used that to their evil advantage, and that statement caught me smack between the eyes. Which of course made me angry. (Fair warning: Cause me intentional pain at your peril.) His statement was unfair, and he made it following a long line of unfair statements. He wanted a verbal punching bag that day, and I fit the bill. I haven’t spoken to him since, so at least that psychic/emotional/soul vampire is forever out of my life.

But his words stuck in my head (guilt is what I do, you see), and today they mixed it up with the words of the songs and the feelings those songs inspired in me. I spent a good deal of time considering the implications of all that. The conclusions I came to were, at times, disconcerting. I can’t think of many people whom I have loved enough to really feel much of anything when they leave. I make them go away, and they are all-but-dead to me. The one who was so hateful to me that day is no longer one for whom I will leave the house in the dark to rescue. I tried.

Does that make me a jerk? There are others whom I have loved so deeply that I would still rescue them were they to need me. Does that ameliorate it?