Saturday, December 17, 2011


It seems that most of the things I post are doom and gloom.  Then again, a battlefield is never a very happy place.  So, I love it when I'm able to share some good news, the periodic victory.

In the news just this week is a story about a bullied special needs student in Baltimore.  The parents of that boy can take heart in this story.

Jacob Gentry is and was a special needs student in Tennessee.  He was so badly bullied, he lost an eye to the violence against him.  What was worse, as in far too many cases, the teacher did nothing to intervene.  The school administrators did nothing to make it better.  Well, perhaps this will start making these administrators realize that zero tolerance means zero tolerance.  Failing to intervene or failing to provide a safe place for these teenagers to go to get an education makes the school administrators just as culpable as the actual perpetrators.  A judge in Tennessee ruled this week that the school district was, indeed, as culpable and awarded the boy over a quarter of a million dollars!!!  That won't replace Jacob's vision.  It'll only make a dent into the medical bills and lawyer fees.  But, it sure does send a very clear message that enough really is enough.  Zero tolerance means zero tolerance.


On November 29th, I posted a blog entry about 14-year-old Brittany who'd just attempted suicide and was in ICU.  Brittany not only survived her attempt, she returned to school this past Monday.  And, therein lies the problem.

The bullying returned with her return to school.  More alarming is that the school administrators refuse to do anything to intervene or to end the situation.  REFUSED!!  Brittany snapped at her aggressor(s), and SHE got expelled!!!  There's nothing right with this case.  The aggressor(s) are getting away with nearly causing someone to kill herself.  The Principal is guilty of neglect at the very least.  Zero tolerance.

So, here's a call to action!  Since the school in unable to assist Brittany, perhaps taking the story to the media will make them change their mind.  Here are a few of the media outlets in Brittany's immediate area:  the Huber Heights Courier; WKEF ABC22; WHIO-TV(; and, the online news link

LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD!!!  Let's make sure that Brittany and Crystal Tucker knows that they are not alone in this battle.

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.