Bruce Kugler, a contributing writer for USA Today wrote a very strong article on bullying titled “Bullying in USA: Are we defenseless?” In this straightforward article, Mr. Kugler brings up the latest victims of the bullying issue and asks the question to us all in his article title.
What’s the answer? At one point in the article, his daughter, after he tells her of a recent tragedy tells him that “It’s Not Going To Get Better”, changing the current catch phase of the anti-bullying movement. It is a sad, but honest article of some of the current cases of bullycide and victimization due to bullying.
In the article, Mr. Kugler shares a story of Amanda Cummings, who recently committed suicide due in part to bullying. He shares:
“On Dec. 27, a 15-year-old high school sophomore named Amanda Cummings walked onto the main boulevard in her neighborhood and, according to witnesses, threw herself into the path of an onrushing bus. She died from her injuries six days later. Police say that at the time of the accident, she was carrying a suicide note in her pocket. . .
She had beenbullied relentlessly at her school, mostly by other girls. She had suffered a failed romance that brought her into conflict with a female classmate. She had reportedly sunken into a fog of drugs and alcohol. And most sickeningly, even as she lay dying in the hospital, the bullying continued on her Facebook page. To make matters worse, police investigators have yet to rule the suicide a result of bullying, citing lack of evidence. . .
. . .According to the Children’s Defense Fund, one child or teen in America commits suicide every five hours. Additionally, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 attempts. And a review by Yale University finds that victims of bullying are two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims.”
The article talks further about how his daughter comes in soon after he finds this information out and as he talks to her, he shares her reaction, which as expected is not very positive. The article asks if bullying is a problem without a solution. Is there really any cure to bullying that can be implemented and work?
I have asked this same question and while I believe awareness and good anti-bullying programs are very important and worthwhile, they are NOT a cure. If someone chooses to be a bully, they will find a way to be a bully to someone at some time. And the fallout of someone choosing to bully can have cascading consequences, as the article also points out.
Another recent story, which by far shows the bigger problem with bullying is the recent suicide of Kevin Jacobsen. His story is one that shows just how deep the damage from bullying can go. He wasn’t the bullying victim, but the father of a boy who killed himself due to the bullying he experiences. Mr. Jacobsen lost his 14-year-old son, Kameron, last year due to bullycide. In the following year, Kevin Jacobsen became one of the leading anti-bullying activists, creating an anti-bullying website and appearing with Marlo Thomas to discuss the issue. But his son’s tragedy took a toll on him and his family and he chose to end his own life as well. What can be said here for this tragedy following on the heels of another? What answer is there to this?
Mr. Kugler ends his article with a statement saying his article is without a solution and asks “does anybody have one?” After reading his article, I’ll have to think longer about an answer to his question. What do you think?