A few weeks ago,
a high school student who lives not too far from our community took his own life.
While none of us can be sure of the reasons for this, I think all of us can
agree that it was disturbing to learn that this young man was ENCOURAGED to
commit suicide by a number of his peers. The evidence of this is very public
because it was published on social media.
this horrific event, former KWWL anchor Amanda Goodman published a blog post
that really “hit home” with me. Amanda
is now the Executive Director of the Family & Children's Council of Black
Hawk County, and she continues her crusade against bullying. Amanda is also a realist. She understands
that bullying is going to happen – it always has – and that there are things we
ALL can do to reduce incidences of bullying.
Because I felt
that Amanda’s blog post was something we all needed to hear, I contacted her
and asked if she would consider being a “guest columnist” by allowing us the permission
to reprint her article in our local paper and on my blog. She was happy to
grant permission. While Amanda isn’t necessarily talking about the specific incident
mentioned above, she makes some good points that I think all of us – especially
parents of young people – need to hear.
Amanda’s blog post with an open mind and a focus on what is best for kids:
A Guest Column by Amanda Goodman
how many messages from parents I have gotten in the past 12 hours. They’re
asking for help…they’re asking me to use my voice to keep talking about the
bullying epidemic…they’re offering to help me in order to finally put an end to
all of this nonsense. But the biggest
thing everyone is asking me is this: Why? Why does this continue to happen?
Not everyone is going to like what I have to
say. And that’s okay. But if you know me, or of me, then you know that I am
unapologetically real. I have zero
minutes in my day to sugarcoat anything…because let’s face it, it just wastes
OK, here it goes: STOP BLAMING TEACHERS FOR ALL
OF THE BULLYING.
This is not like the movies in the 80’s and 90’s
where kids are getting thrown into lockers or meeting out on the playground to
settle the score. It is NOTHING like it
was when we were growing up. Back in the day, Friday was the day everything
came to a head. By the time the weekend was done, everything had blown over.
Now, thanks to social media, Monday is the new
Friday. Things build and build over the weekend…and it all collides just in
time for classes on Monday. Our kids are
bullying and harassing one another from the confines of their bedrooms. Their fingers are assault weapons…typing and
Teachers can NOT be held responsible for
something that is happening in our own homes. Here is the thing: PARENTS, TAKE
BACK YOUR HOUSE. The privacy your child
thinks they deserve? Umm…nope. Your
house, your bills, your rules. Privacy comes when our children are “off our
Stalk them. Know everything they’re texting.
Know everything they are posting. Know
everything they are receiving. Know everything that’s being posted about
them. Follow them on social media. Follow their friends. BE IN THE KNOW. Set a time every night where every damn
device is turned off and turned over to you. Sure, your kids will roll their
eyes at you…they’ll probably call you clingy or annoying. I call it parenting.
Am I a parenting expert? Hell no. Most days I
have no clue what I am doing. But I have been involved in the anti-bullying
movement for QUITE some time now. I’ve
read hundreds and hundreds of messages from bullies and mean girls. I’ve read the diaries of the victims where
they outline the pain. I’ve sat down
with the parents of the victims who told me they had no clue their child was
struggling. I’ve sat down with the parents
of the bullies who were shocked that “little Johnny could do this!” I have been
to the FUNERALS of young children who have killed themselves because they
couldn’t take it.
Let that sink in. FUNERALS of young children…because they
couldn’t take it anymore.
Our kids need to learn empathy. As much as our children know that they are
the center of our world…they need to understand that everything doesn’t revolve
around them. Feelings matter…words hurt…words scar…words kill.
We, as parents, need to take off our
rose-colored glasses and realize that OUR KID could be the mean girl…the bully.
We need to stop feeling thankful that “at least they’re not the one getting
Our kids don’t need to be friends with
everyone. They don’t need to like
everyone. Not everyone is going to like
them. And that’s okay. Because that’s how it works in the real
world. There are several people who I
know who I have no plans to have a pizza party with, hold hands and sing
Kumbaya. It’s about being respectful and
So, to answer the question “Why is this happening?” I believe that answer can be found in our own
I encourage your
feedback on all of my columns, along with any questions you may have. These
SUPERINTENDENT NEWS & VIEWS columns, in addition to my blog and Twitter
postings, are part of my plan for open communication with the community as a
part-time superintendent with duties in another area school district. If you’ve
missed any of my columns or would like to re-read or share them with your
friends and family, you are welcome to visit my blog at http://redhawksupt.blogspot.com/where they are
all posted. You are also welcome to follow me on Twitter (@DavidRobertHill)
where I will occasionally post updates or other information not found on the
Reprinted with permission from Amanda Goodman, Copyright 2017.