Bullying Kills: Another Child Dead

A few days after writing last week’s post about my own bullying story, this article  from the Huffington Post pops up. This article is about another tragic death caused by bullying. Joel Morales is  only 12 years old before he tragically took his own life. Another young life ended that made headlines. What makes this bullying story the most egregious is that the bullies tormented this kid about his father dying. Really?! Nothing seems to be off limits to the likes of bullies. UGH!

Reading this story made me very angry. So, instead of just one post about my bullying story we’re going to have a series. So, some of the Backwood humor and book fun may be on hold for a little while or I may post on an odd day until I do this poignant series.

I have thought of some strong feelings and analogies to post later on. I can’t be silent any longer about this issue. Something has got to be said. Somebody’s gotta speak up. It’s time for the isolation and loneliness for for bullying victims to be understood because I was one. How many more kids are gonna die before someone says something or does something about it? No, Mr. President, we don’t need bigger government to intercede in our schools and workplaces. We need a means to take action and people with backbones, but that’s another post.

Dealing with the death of a parent is tough enough on its own. Dealing with bullying is tough enough, but putting them together is too much for any 12 year old. Why is someone’s parent dying something that’s funny and somehow a joking matter? The kid needed support by his peers not mockery. I may not have dealt with a death of a parent, but I have dealt with the deaths of loved ones. I have also dealt with a suicide of an aunt and that can feel surreal. Now, it’s not said how Joel’s father died, but I can relate to Joel’s  mother to somewhat of an extent, but not completely.

Patterns from My Life and His

From this article I was able to see parallels from other aspects of bullying that I didn’t share in the last post.  My father wasn’t dead, but he was gone at work most of the time. There’s the only difference.

  • They’re Everywhere: In this article young Joel seemed to never escape the bullying no matter where he went. The taunt seemed to spread to each and every new place like a disease. It seemed like all the bullies in the world were telepathically linked. Nowadays that’s due to social media, but when I was 12 it seemed like a freak of nature. They seem like gremlins; throw water on them and they multiply.
  • The Lying in Wait: This is the biggie similarity in our lives. We seem to try to avoid the bullies in any way we can, but we can’t. They follow us. They stalk us. We try to leave last, and they stay and wait for us. They hunt us down so they can abuse us some more. They head us off at the next corner. It’s just like it will never end–there is no escape.
  • Alone: It seems like no one will help me. They’re all against me. Everybody hates me. Nobody understands me.  Nobody cares about my pain. Why do they torment me? I’m just a normal kid, so why can’t I fit in? These are thought and questions of an isolated person. When the battle becomes to fierce too fight on your own; you want someone to help you–anyone, but they rarely come or not at all.
  • Adults Seem to Fail Us: I will probably have a separate post about this. Aside from some parents, adults don’t really do anything to stop the bullying or don’t handle it effectively. Very few actually get anywhere  at all. If there is any relief it’s usually short lived, and once the bullying starts back, it’s worse than ever before. Some adults seem like they don’t want to deal with the problem at all. Joel’s mother tried her very best to remove him, but she couldn’t since the bullies were like a pack of velociraptors on the hunt. When Joel killed himself, she felt like she failed him and in essence she nearly took her own life. An entire family nearly wiped out. Parents can’t be there 24/7 and they seem to blame themselves for the bullying and/or the outcome thereof. When I talk about my bullying trials, my parents feel responsible, but there wasn’t much else they could have possibly done. There is no intercession on our, the victims, and our parents’ behalf. That is one of the main problems of why bullying is such a rampant problem. Of course, there are some adults that participate in the bullying of a child which is totally unacceptable.

How Bullies Hunt for Us

There were times if I wondered if my life and death analogy about bullying was a bit to extreme or exaggerated  in the past. Now, after reading stories like these, no it isn’t. Some bullies probably actually commit murder. Others kill us with their words to inflict psychological and emotional wounds.  Some beat us physically, and others do both. “Sticks and stones…,” is so untrue and a load of malarkey. The person who came up with that rhyme probably wasn’t bullied. If anyone has ever suffered emotional or psychological trauma, they can verify that it takes longer and more therapy to heal than any physical trauma.

A lot of times people just shrug and say “that’s just harmless fun,” or “they’re just being kids”. Harmless fun doesn’t cause kids to contemplate taking their own life or causes social or emotional problems for the victims. Harmless fun doesn’t turn people into hermits. Before these stories ever came about how many kids killed themselves back in my day because of bullying? My parents’? My grandparents’? Is there a way to know since the news traveled slower? There is a line between fun and abuse. I know where that line is. Ragging someone about their dead parent or calling them stupid and ugly when they are not until they isolate themselves or kill themselves is not ‘harmless fun’. The line has been crossed.

Just because someone doesn’t  like themselves, or they’re mad at the world doesn’t give them the right to make everyone else or a person their personal punching bag or scapegoat.

In closing, if I had dealt with the exact same thing that poor Joel did, would I have duplicated his fate? I would say no. I have a stronger will to survive, but I would have probably become a complete hermit and a very angry child. I wouldn’t be back to school. I would have refused to go back; I would probably skip; I would have walked home from school to avoid the bullying. I probably would have made my parents homeschool me for the rest of my career.


About AK Taylor

Genre crossing YA author who began writing novels at 16. I enjoy outdoor activities, beekeeping, rock collecting, coin collecting, writing, drawing. Book Website: www.neikos5landadventure.net Twitter: @A_K_Taylor Facebook: Amanda Haulk Taylor/A.K. Taylor's Books page
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7 Responses to Bullying Kills: Another Child Dead

  1. lwreyes says:

    This is so sad. I was bullied and witnessed bullying as a child, but I also bullied my brothers at home. I see the same pattern in my children. They get bullied at school then come home and bully each other. I will not tolerate that kind of behavior and never let it go. I pulled my kids out of school because of bullying. I now homeschool. One of my sons was bullied by students AND the teachers. They’d probably call it teasing, but it did a lot of damage to him. Unfortunately, bullies are kids, too, and are often acting out of their own pain and fears. I think throwing so many kids into school together and having adults who don’t take bullying seriously and really have no way to deal with it effectively is ridiculous. I will never put my kids back into that situation.

    • Hello. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting and sharing your thoughts and stories. I suppose it is constructive to teach where the line is between teasing and bullying. If someone is teasing and someone’s feelings get hurt then usually someone will apologize. Teasing doesn’t damage people. Bullying will always exist, but building support for victims and not letting it run amok is what’s important. I think there is much more homeschooling going on because of bullying. As far as the piece about bullying your siblings, most of the time siblings grow out of it and it is called “sibling rivalry”.

      • Frit says:

        This issue absolutely has to be addssreed. I am a school counselor and verbal bullying is the same as emotional abuse and can have long lasting effect on kids. Parents need to talk to teachers at the school, let them know it’s happening, and then teachers are legally obligated to help make it stop. Ideally, they help kids work it out and address it so they learn to deal with people who bully, but at the elementary and middle school age, kids are not developmentally ready or able to make it stop on their own in appropriate ways. The best way to get bullying to stop is to find out who the bully’s friends are, and get them to say enough is enough. Once the bully loses the support of his friends, he loses his power. Ignoring it generally only makes it worse because the bully knows the kid isn’t going to tell anyone and just makes them a bigger target. Stan, as someone who deals with bullies and bullied kids, I’m suggesting strongly that you tell someone, and sooner rather than later. Also, this will help your kid to know that you are on his side and are fighting to protect both him and his feelings. If he’s telling you about it, he’s asking for help.

    • Keila says:

      Children and young adults see a world in the media where buynillg and name calling is the norm, where that passes for objective reporting and public discourse. They may hear their own parents express themselves in ways that are mostly name calling where they are repeating this norm without even realizing it. What is buynillg a deeper symptom of? What might be causing it? In what way is it reflecting on us as adults? Where are we failing in not seeing this and understanding it from a macro and micro perspective? In what ways do we intervene with the bullies so that more kids who might otherwise choose to bully get a very clear message about the actions that will be taken if they make that choice? If a bully is not stopped when he or she is a child or young adult they will probably go on to bully spouses, family members, colleagues, their own children. A self-perpetuating cycle that we all share responsibility for stopping. What are our most effective actions as adults when we see other adults buynillg anyone? My heart goes out to any child who is victimized by this destructive behavior. This is a collective responsibility and an important reminder for us to let the children and young adults in our lives know about this issue ahead of time so they are know they will be protected and it’s not their fault.Thank you, Lily, for your reminder, for your voice in advocacy for those who can’t advocate for themselves.

    • Jose says:

      I was bullied to the point of cranyirg a baseball bat in my bag to fend off groups of attackers who would follow me home daily from school even though they lived no where near me. My name was “faggot”. I was punched in the face minutes before English class and after jumping over two rows of desks to get away from the much larger and older assailant was sent to the principal’s office for “creating a ruckus” and getting punched was probably my fault It continued from the time I was in 6th grade until the end of my junior year when finally the bullies graduated and my athletic accomplishments began to outweigh the fact that I shaved my legs for swimming.I carried all of my books in my bookbag and wore my jacket all day long at school to avoid having to spend any more time than required exposed in the hallways. I used the bathroom right before I left for school in the morning and as soon as I came home. Sometimes, if I was certain no one was waiting around the bend in a car to beat the shit out of me, I had to stop and pee in the woods halfway between my school and the house because I just couldn’t make it. Several times kids would pile up in a group outside my classes and wait to beat the living shit out of me as I walked out the door. The teachers rarely did anything but shoot me pitiful glances. Only twice did they ever ask the kids outside to leave. They just moved around the corner and into the stairwell and waited there instead.I know about bullying and I will plan for my child to be much better prepared than I was and I will do everything to go about this in a much better way than my parents did. My parents did little to help except offer words of encouragement. On one particularly scary day my father took off work and showed up ready to protect me. The kids kept their distance and he spent the entire ride home screaming at me for, “wasting his fucking time.”Bullying sucks.

  2. Sankar says:

    I agree 100% with Nicole on this one. I have 5 children myslef and as the school year started this year we have already had altercations and this is how we have handled it with the non-physical situations if you teach you children to be the bigger person and just smile and walk away the bullies will eventually give up. Yes I understand that children of this age dont exactly understand the concept of be the bigger person, but its always a good lesson to try and teach them. As parents we always wanna go there and defend our children but thats something that we have to work on and realize that these ARE CHILDREN we are dealing with. Now, Stan something I had to realize is I had to reassure my children that THEY were doing nothing wrong and Im sure that you have already realized this but its always nice to hear it from another parent dealing with the same situation. Now being a mother of 4 boys and 1 girl I realize that my chances of not going to the pricipals office at least once a week is slim but I know that my kids are good kids and the lessons I attempt to teach soak in little by little. Good Luck with your kido Stan and I hope the situation gets better ..

  3. Thanks everyone for sharing their thoughts and stories. It is a big problem that affects lots of people!

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