Family remembers teen as 'happy soul' who was victim of bullying

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  • rigpa Concord, CA
    Dec. 3, 2012 10:19 a.m.

    See the movie The Bully Project - boy with Asperger's (not explicitly stated but easy to notice) is mercilessly bullied, tells his parents who meet with the school assistant principal who bla bla did nothing. When the child sees no school officials care and the bullying is his reality, he stops telling his parents, etc. Another boy in the film committed suicide - bullied because he was gay. This happened in the Bible belt of America.School staff can "see" bullying if they really want to address it, or ignore it if it's not happening to their own children.

    A big but not the only part of a real, proactive solution is inclusion classrooms - regular and special ed and/or ESL teacher co-teaching using a variety of methods for the diverse learners, and teaching students to appreciate divergent thinking and the learning in very small groups is both more fun and more effective than individually. In these classrooms, every student cares deeply about every other student. A student being bullied cannot relax and open his/her mind to learning in the classroom. Punishment alone does not work, it just pushes the bullying "underground."

  • Lyle Springville, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 9:33 p.m.

    While the point is well-made that we don't know (and probably never will know) if bullying was the direct cause of this boy's suicide, it is clear that it has been the cause of others, and it is a serious problem.

    We have people here with first-hand accounts explaining how the system fails to protect victims of bullying. I hope that school staff and parents can learn from these comments, so this tragedy might knock some positive action loose in the world.

  • BBLVR Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 3:20 p.m.

    Sounds like parents & school officials may have lost interest in this troubled soul. Those who are bullied and those who bully have parents who are not doing their jobs.

  • just-a-fan Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 2:57 p.m.

    I agree with you Coach. Teachers are being forced to be parents in many cases, but without any rights. I could never be in education for that reason.

  • Coach P Provo, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 12:19 p.m.

    Let's do a little math of what Utah public school secondary education teacher is facing.

    Yesterday I taught three classes. I had 120 students on the nose. The total class time just over 260 minutes, just under three hours. This means if I sat down and had a personal conversation with each student I could spend a whopping two minutes and some change with them. Now, I might have to take roll, teach a lesson, hand back work etc. to students. I can be expected to be interrupted by the office 1-2 times per class period.

    As for counselors, the counselors at our school are in charge of 450 or so students each. Much of their duties are changing students' schedules and not so much on counseling on deeper issues.

    Now this doesn't excuse me or them from being aware or acting. But expecting a teacher to know the details of any students life under these circumstances is difficult. Bottom line, even busy parents spend more quality time with their students than a secondary education teacher typically. And with 40 students in a classroom too much emphasis is placed on managing rather than teaching and building relationships.

  • just-a-fan Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 11:06 a.m.

    My youngest son was bullied when he was very young (6 years old) by a set of twins in his neighborhood and LDS ward. This went on until my son was in 8th grade and had taken enough. At a Wed night activity one of these brothers did something that physically hurt my son. My boy turned the tables and beat the snot out of this kid. All of the sudden there was a big meeting about "the situation." You see, we were not one of those families that fit into the "mold." In the meeting I had a few strong but not inappropriate words for the leaders and this young man's father. My son is a senior now, an athlete, eagle scout and great leader and fights to protect those being bullied. As for those who picked on him...they keep a pretty low profile. In short, sometimes you just have to fight back.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 9:06 a.m.

    @Clark Hippo, I understand how you feel, but that is not actually the case. School teachers, administrators, counselors, therapists, police officers, and others spend countless hours each day dealing with the welfare of all students. Bullying is bullying, and when they are aware of it, most adults in the school take immediate action to stop it.

    Of course, there is a passive/aggressive type of bullying that happens in our society, thanks to our modern technologies. I see it even on these comment boards at the Deseret News. Anyone who has different political, religious, or even moral codes than some on here, they are dismissed, belittled, and demeaned. Is there any wonder that childhood and teen bullying still persists when the adults in these children's lives can't even get along with each other?

  • Florien Wineriter Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 8:45 a.m.

    Bullying is a serious social problem in every level of our society.Sportmanship and respect for differences is exemplified daily by our politicians, authorities, sportig events, social web sites, letters to the editor, movies, and video games. This nation need strong examples of ethical behavior and the sptloight of publicity of respectful behavior.It seems to be that we are becomming an uncivlized society in many ways.

  • OneAmerican Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 1, 2012 8:39 a.m.

    Used to be the best way to deal with a bully was to give him the Scott Farcas treatment. (If you don't know Scott Farcas, watch "A Christmas Story.") Now schools (in spite of video cameras available for evidence) have turned to punishing the victims. If there's a fight, both students are disciplined equally rather than digging in and finding out if a student was merely defending themself against a bully. This story indicates that was the case; the victim was punished for defending himself. My son was being bullied on the bus. He came home with a bruise on his forehead. I said "Next time he bothers you, punch him square in the nose with all the energy you can muster." The next time the bully bothered my son, the bully got the Scott Farcas treatment...the bullying ended.

  • concretebo Sandy, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 7:12 a.m.

    This Saddens me so very deeply !! I have 2 kids one whom is in 11th grade and he had a few problems with kids a few years back , the bullying he was dealing with went away due to the kids growing up and finding out that they had alot more in commen than they thought. My second
    is a daughter whom is the most beautiful soul I know inside and out but at the age of 12 . We send our kids to school to get an education not get picked on an we as parents have the resposibility to teach our kids to treat people with respect regardless of religion,sex,body type,race etc.Earlier this year somebody hit my daughter on the head with a book really hard on the bus and we were extremely upset.Called the school and they have video on buses so the kid was found and held accountable.
    The school would not give us his name.Parents teach your kids not to bully and always report it !!!!So Sad to Hear of This Boy Killing Himself A True Tragedy !!!! My Prayers to his loved ones .

  • DeepBreath West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 7:04 a.m.

    I am a middle school teacher and can tell you bullying is addressed and dealt with more than any of you armchair know it alls could ever imagine. I am sick and tired of reading posts from people like "distand thunder" and "Ron Melancon". People like that are absolutely clueless and out of touch. School administrators, teachers, and counselors save far more lives of troubled teens than you'd ever like to admit. There are countless resources and interventions on a daily basis for middle school and high school students. Why is nobody asking the question "why did his parent let him return to school after being sent home with them just 2 hours prior"? Maybe because it's easier for small minded people to blame the school as an easy target then point fingers at parents. The boy was sent home with parents and allowed by the parent to return unsupervised. Whet part of that is okay with you Ron Melancon and Distant Thunder? Let me guess. It's the school's fault for the parent letting the boy return. I should have known!

  • CP Tooele, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 4:36 a.m.

    Being bullied is hard. I was bullied in elementary school by a group of girls. And nothing was ever done about it. It even happened in the classroom and nothing was done about it. I was so grateful when it all stopped in high school. It's sad that this young sad boy decided to end it the way he did..I'm sorry for his family. I pray that they will some how be able to find peace. I hope this is an eye opener for kids who love to bully others and the consequences that can result..and I hope parents will take note and watch their kids and their moods. And if their kids are the bullies..find out why and prevent it from happening.

  • smarty pants Herriman, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 11:48 p.m.

    I grew up in another country, and yes there are bullies everywhere. Here it seems the society keeps alive the labeling of people in many movies, where there is always the 'popular', the 'loser', the 'nerd', the 'fat' kid, the 'weirdo', etc. Just check your movies: High School musical, Mean Girls, Never kissed, Grease, Bring it on, Napoleon Dynamite, and the list goes on and on... It's the theme that exploits the memories of everyone in this country. It seems you cannot be smart and pretty at the same time. In my days in my country, the smart ones were the coolest ones not only because they had good grades, but because they were also good looking. Why this society has to always put the 'smart' person as a 'nerd'. The whole system you have here is the one that makes the whole environment like that. Children grow thinking that they 'need' to be 'popular'. Why!? Stop those movies, stop your way of making children believe there are bullies everywhere. And parents have to be reached so they know their kiddos are being jerks. Make them responsible too.

  • DistantThunder Vincentown, NJ
    Nov. 30, 2012 10:17 p.m.

    Face it - public schools are toxic cesspools. Parents should have a right to choose whatever school they want so their children can feels safe, and be in the best situation possible for them. Parents, not cold calculating bureaucrats should choose. The school says there were no additional reports - well the school should be sued to kingdom come for not pro-actively continuing to check if he was still being bullied. Someone should lose their job over this - then watch how fast the attention to bulling would shift into high gear. Get rid of the whole administration and then watch people put the appropriate attention on bullied kids. These are human beings, not numbers the bureaucrats calculate to see if they will get their money. We are in an abusive relationship with our government and bullying and suicide are only two of the manifestations.

  • donquixote84721 Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 8:29 p.m.

    All that is required for Evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. If the students that knew this Boy was being Bullied, would have publicly stood up for him the bullying would have been stopped.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Nov. 30, 2012 8:08 p.m.

    Bullying has lasted for a long time. I was a victim of this via other girls in my class, particularly in junior high. Now one of them, and I, are friends on facebook. I no longer have any resentments because I understand that the bullying girls had insecurities themselves, and were compensating by victimizing others. However, that does not mean it wasn't horridly painful at the time, and I know very well that teachers and administrators didn't address it because they were too busy trying to solve other problems. Our schools are a mess, which is a reflection of our society being a mess. Self-centeredness, greed, thoughtlessness and many other undesirable traits are too much with us. I have many things to straighten out myself, but I hope I can influence my grandchildren to never be a part of bullying. For the victim is is painful to the very core. I feel so horrible for all bullying victims and their families.

  • JLR Eagle Mountain, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 6:38 p.m.

    A boy who's locker next to mine in Jr High used to punch me and call me names every time we were at the locker together. I told the counselor about it, but they didn't care.

  • Ron Melancon GLEN ALLEN, VA
    Nov. 30, 2012 6:00 p.m.

    It is about time our schools address this instead of what is inside the lunch boxes. It is the failure of school administration to hold teenagers accountable for the relentless bulling they inflict on others.

    It is not fun getting bullied and if everybody knew in the student body and the administration did not know they need to be fired.
    My family will pray for the victims family but the teenagers who are responsible will one day have to come face to face with the higher power.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 5:14 p.m.

    This article brought tears. Even when I was in school over 50 years ago there were bullies. These bullies must be very miserable within themselves to treat others this way. My heart goes out to the family of this young man...the day of accountability will come for those who were responsible for this death...I wouldn't want to be in their shoes.

  • bricha lehi, ut
    Nov. 30, 2012 4:59 p.m.

    Why are we all jumping to conclusions so quickly. I have never read an article say so many times that the school did not know if bullying was an issue. The article also sighted over and over (without specifics thank goodness) that the unfortunate boy had other problems in his life. Obviously if bullying was an issue I hope it is taken care of accordingly, but we can not jump to that conclusion!

  • Cougar10 West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 2:56 p.m.

    It is a sad day for this young man's family, his friends, and the community. Hopefully some better processes can be put in place that give students the opportunity to report bullies more efficiently.

    In an ideal world, this would not happen. Unfortunately, we live in a pretty messed up world with a number of serious issues.

    Thoughts and prayers to the family of this boy.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 12:46 p.m.

    Only certain kids are entitled to be protected from bullies.

    Those who have support from celebrities and activists are the ones who society cares about the most.

    Others kids, depending on their religion or their parent's politics, will not get any help. In fact if anything, society encourages kids to bully them.

    I'll let you guess who I'm talking about.

  • My Mentality SAN CARLOS, CA
    Nov. 30, 2012 12:26 p.m.

    I remember a time in junior high when I turned in a bully for getting into my locker and throwing the contents into some toilets. I knew who it was because I caught him a couple of times trying to jimmy the lock. The bully got two students to testify that he was innocent because they saw someone that looked like me do it. I was forced to apologize. The next day, the bully and two of his friends kicked the snot out of me. I never turned in a bully after that incident.

    School administrators are afraid of bullies and fear their aggressive parents even more. Administrators know that if they suspend a student for bullying, they my have to deal with a law suite that the school district cannot afford. Bullies know this too.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 11:26 a.m.

    "He was nice to everyone, even if sometimes people weren't nice to him," said Bennion ninth-grader Brandon Newby.


    There's something --
    Sounds like he was being bullied to me.

    I can only hope the kids who witnessed it where the one's responsible.