Saturday, December 17, 2011

Never Quit

One of the tools necessary for combating this escalating epidemic of bullying and teen suicides is to report every incident.  If your teen is being victimized by bullying, it is imperative that it's reported immediately.  We've learned that, unfortunately, oft times reporting it to school officials is fruitless.  With the increased and increasing awareness, however, that climate is bound to change.  Regardless, if the immediate school official(s) fail to act, immediately and decisively, then it's important to go over their head and onto the next level of administrators.  Repeat the process as many times as is necessary to get satisfactory results.  If your own child isn't being victimized but you and/or your child knows of someone who IS, it's still just as important.  Adopt a policy of "zero tolerance".

The statistics for gay teen bullying are staggering.  It's reported that 9 out of 10 LGBT teens have been bullied because of their orientation.  Nine out of ten!  The report doesn't even give a statistic for how many of that 90% goes on to commit suicide.  Any number over zero is too many.

But, what if the bullying is occurring at home?  What if the child or teen is being victimized by their own family?  What if the LGBT teen has the misfortune of being born into an intolerant, non-supportive, unaccepting family?  There are ways to deal with that, as well.  Identifying the situation can be hard, but it's doable.  Knowing your teens' friends helps.  Being supportive of an at-risk youth can go a very long way.

Remember what's at stake:  saving young lives.

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