It’s been hard to make sense of what happened in our neighboring South Hadley where it appears now (after our district attorney levied criminal charges) that a group of popular high school kids targeted a girl from Ireland to the point where she took her own life a few months ago.
It’s sad all around, really. Sad that the girl had no concept of where to turn to for help. Sad that any kids could act that way towards another (verbal, emotional, physical abuse). Sad that this went on too long in a school where teachers should have seen the signs (I’ll withhold judgment since we really don’t know that whole story). Sad that online sites like Facebook and others were used as part of the bullying. Just sad all around.
The headlines on our local paper were blaring about the criminal charges against the high school bullies whose actions led to the death of a classmate. The charges include some counts of rape. It’s one of the only days that I consciously hid the front page of the newspaper from my own children. We’ve talked about the situation in that neighboring town, and we’ve talked about bullying (we’ve had our share of both sides of that coin here), and we’ve talked about an appropriate response. I am not putting my head in the sand, but I am not ready to talk about rape charges, either.
I noticed on Twitter that Kathy Schrock had started to compile some resources for dealing with bullying and cyberbullying issues, and I appreciated that and I wanted to share it out, too. I do talk to my students about this issue and we have some pretty far-ranging talks about how words have power, for good or bad.
This resource by Kathy comes as our state is moving towards enacting a law against bullying which is far-reaching in scope. (Kathy works on the other side of the state). I’m not sure if the law will be effective. The way to stop such action is at the moment it happens, but it may spur administrators to be more pro-active in education around the issues of bullying. Certainly the death of this girl has opened up a lot of eyes.
I hope I never see headlines like the ones I have been seeing, ever again.