Another child committed suicide, another victim of bullying. What do we do about it? Have counselors for the students that knew or contributed to the problem. Have a candlelight vigil for those same kids who refused to even talk to the student as they walked down the hall?
Or are these events for the adults involved in the school system who did not take the time to make this student’s life better?
There were 14 suicides in Syracuse this past year, and countless more attempts.
It’s clear that our anti-bullying programs aren’t working, for students or adults. Sure, they make for a great media and look real good on our resumes, but they do nothing to get at the real problem.
Instead of wearing wristbands or holding vigils, what we really need to do is take a look at the teens who walk down the school halls cringing for the next physical or verbal assault that awaits them.
We need to try to get the message through to our students and ourselves that real change will only come when we include rather than damage and destroy those we come in contact with.
If those kids want to feel better, challenge them to walk down their school halls and reach out with a smile and a kind word to everyone they pass by.
When we see someone being bullied, we need stand up for them. As adults, if you see someone being ostracized or bullied, speak up!
Ask the other students to let them play. If the student comes to you and tells you they are being bullied, believe them.
Try to befriend them yourself, give them shelter in a classroom, or find some other way to help them. That will matter so much more than a thousand vigils that happen when it’s already too late.
Editor’s note: Susan Wardell is the mother of Clipper Staff Writer Jennifer Wardell.