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22 October 2013

Until teachers and admins speak up, bullying of teens won't ever end

The Canessa Commentary

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – It continues to happen.

A teen gets bullied. The bullying teens get away with it. The bullied teen sees no way out, and commits suicide. The latest example happened here just a few days ago.

But there’s a twist this time – the mother of one of the girls accused of being a bully has herself been arrested. And it’s about damn time.

I’ve shared this story before, but it’s worth sharing over and over. One of the reasons I no longer teach is because of several cases of bullying I saw whilst a teacher that were ignored by my administrators.

The kid who was being bullied was picked on mercilessly. He was called every name in the book, but the predominant names included “fag,” “faggot,” and “homo.”

The kid, no question, was a little feminine. But he was a decent kid nonetheless. He’d never so much as harm a fly. But for whatever reason, his classmates found it necessary to pick on him day in and day out.

I brought this to the attention of the school’s leadership (for privacy’s sake, I won’t mention the school or admins by name). Not once did any administrator take noticeable action. Not once. And the bullying would continue for quite a while – that is, of course, until I finally took it into my own hands and contacted the kid’s parents.

It blew my mind that in the 2000s, it was possible that high-school administrators would totally ignore bullying of any kind. But it indeed happened – and it sickened me to no avail…

I will never understand why it is that happened. I still don’t understand how some of my colleagues would not only tolerate the bullying, they’d sometimes join in. Maybe it was to gain acceptance from the students. Maybe my colleagues were bullied themselves.

But more times than not, I’ve noticed one of the biggest reasons bullying still exists in schools to this day is because the people who run schools often simply allow it to happen.

Not even these stories we see in the news are enough to get them to intervene.

It reminds me of the documentary “Bully.” One of the administrators was so oblivious to bullying that took place right before her very eyes, it blew my mind that any parent would ever let their child enter that school – ever. At all.

Until administrators and teachers are willing to stand up, this cycle is never going to end. Ever. And we’re going to continue to see, every single week, more stories of young people who kill themselves because the very people entrusted to care for these kids are failing miserably.

This is not a blanket condemnation. It’s a simple reality that entirely too many adults are willing to allow this culture to exist in schools. I’m not holding my breath in anticipation of this changing anytime soon.

And that, my friends, is the saddest part of bullying period.

If just one administrator or teacher who normally remains quiet would change their mind and stand up for the bullied kid, perhaps we’d see fewer cases suicides among teens.

This day must come soon.

Not one more child should ever have to contemplate suicide. Ever.

Sadly, we’re far away from the day when this will be eradicated.

I pray I get to see that day, nonetheless.


  1. Bullying is pervasive in our society and the fault of not taking action does not fall upon a "profession" alone, e.g. teachers. As you state, the fault falls upon people who do nothing. Those of us "in the fight" stay "in the fight" to make a incident at a time. We can't give up! Your friend, DL