Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Payton Ruth Anne Richardson Was Only 12-Year-Old

What's really heartbreaking is that, during a time when there is such a strong, positive movement going on worldwide, we're still having young people end their lives.  Sunday, February 12, 2012, 12-year-old Payton Ruth Anne Richardson ended her young life.  Her friends say, for sure, that it was due to bullying.  The school superintendent says "there was no indication of bullying".  With the climate being what it is around the world right now, that's exactly what one would expect him to say.  I, for one, would have to believe those close to her before believing the paid official.  Whatever happened, the outcome is the tragic same.  This beautiful 12-year-old child is gone.

Immediately, one of her friends posted a video on youtube both as a tribute to her fallen friend and as a social message that's been resonating around the globe for the past few months:  STOP BULLYING!!!  It's heartwarming to know that this was done by our future, the ones who will be leading our country, and world!, soon enough.  I'm beginning to think that THEY get it better than a lot of our adults do, and that's a frightening reality.  I strongly encourage you to not just watch this video, but share it as well.  The message is powerful as it is coming from a close friend of someone who has just left this world.
YOU can prevent bullying.  Don't sit around and watch it happen.  TAKE ACTION!!!
The message can't be any clearer.

To be sure, much is being done right now.  I can attest to the fact that there are people all around the globe doing huge and wonderful things as means to an end, with that "end" being the eradication of bullying and bullycide.  However, until we've actually seen the end of it, much more still needs to be done.  We need more people doing their part to bring this to an end.  We need everyone working in concert, with one crystal-clear goal:  TO END BULLYCIDES...once and for all.  We need to continue to reach out, but that's not enough, either.  We also need to keep the pressure on every school district, and every politician, to implement stronger anti-bullying measures AND enforce them.  Until this ends, we need to be vigilant.

In the meantime, we need to know, immediately!, where to go to get the resources needed if we're "in the moment" or if we suspect that bullying is taking place.  As Kim Towne said TAKE ACTION!!!

Here's a list of resources to keep handy:

STOP Teenage Suicide
WHOF's Suicide Support
ABC:  Anti-Bullying Coalition
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Befrienders
How To Identify and Deal With Bullying (pdf)

To the family and friends of Payton Ruth Anne Richardson, my heart goes out to you.  I wish you peace and comfort in what is sure to be the most heartwrenching time of your lives.  May you now be at peace, Payton.

30 comments:

  1. My deepest condolences to those she left behind. Her parents must not be allowed to think this is all their fault (but, speaking as a parent, I know they will think it is); this is the fault of the bullies & the school that did nothing to stop them.

    Here's the link to the principal of the school where she went:

    http://www.chetek.k12.wi.us/middleschool/middleschoolstaff.cfm?dosearch=1&lastname=&firstname=&positiontitle=prin&groupid=&maxrows=50&sortby=lastname&search=Search

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  2. To be honest, one of the reasons many adults don't see or understand bullying (especially in their children... you've heard the excuses, right? Oh, he's just being an exuberant boy.. whatever) is that many of them were bullies themselves. How can you see something as dangerous or wrong when you participated in the same activities as a child? It's just harmless, right? No one I knew ever committed suicide. Kids are just way too sensitive these days. They're just being kids!

    In addition, so much bullying isn't actually done at schools these days... or even if it is, it isn't done inside the awareness bubble of the teachers or administrators. Kids inherently understand that schools are understaffed, and teachers overburdened, that they can find places. Pushing kids into lockers, knocking them down in hallways, dumping kids into trash cans, they're done in places where the bullies know there aren't any adults watching. The bullied kids are too intimidated and embarrassed to go to teachers and 'rat the kids out' unless they have a particularly strong bond with one of them. The kids who see the bullying need to step up and stop it or report it. We all need to be teaching our children this -- there is NO excuse to stand by and allow another human being to be teased, picked on or bullied in any way.

    I couldn't imagine losing my son or daughter to suicide caused by bullying. My heart goes out to this girl's family.

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  3. Thank you for this blog!!!!!
    How anyone can see this and STILL spout homophobia will puzzle and sadden (and infuriate) me forever!!
    WHOF is an awesome page! The L project are BEAUTIFUL people! I love you, one and all!!!

    Just another straight guy who has no patients for HATE!!!!!

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  4. Martin M Bartelt, SwitzerlandFebruary 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Thank you for taking action! Everybody can do something!

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  5. It's amazing that it’s the year 2012... And we STILL have people in this world that HATE others for a lot of INSANE reasons!! I don’t understand this hatred for others because of the color of their skin, if they are male or female, their religion or who they chose to love in this world... Why so much hate? It’s very sad that people choose to say and do HORRIBLE things to people because they are NOT like them.. or have the same beliefs as they do... It’s VERY hard to understand! I never will... I keep saying to people.. if there comes a day I understand and accept these horrible things that people do... It’s time for me to NO longer be around... I am straight.... I cannot hate someone for being different than I am...

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  6. My daughter attended the same school as Payton for some time. She was bullied. A girl took her school picture, drew on it and wrote profanities. She then sent it as a text message to everyone in the middle and high school. I went to the school and was told there was nothing that could be done since they couldn't verifiy that it had happened at school. My daughter was 13 and moritifed. The mother of the girl who doctored the pic and forwarded it told me that "kids will be kids" and laughed it off. Really? Parents need to be held responsible for their children as well....in my experience bullying is a learned behavior.

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  7. I just don't know what to do about bullying. I was bullied as a kid and teenager and therefore, when I see it now, I usually wind up stepping in and getting told by other adults that I'm behaving inappropriately by butting in and telling the bully off. I just don't get it.

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  8. The emotional burden of hate and embarrassment caused by bullying can leave scars for life - it's been 11 years hence and every time I see one of the faces of my tormentors, deep inside me, I feel like I could pry their eyes out with a crowbar. And every time they did it to me, I'd think, "What kind of parents does this person have?" I agree with anon in that parents who ignore their child's bullying were bullies themselves. They need to be forced to see that it is NOT just a big game, that everything will turn out fine. To Payton's parents, THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. When I was an 11-year old kid, I never spoke to my parents about it. I was too afraid, I was too embarrassed.

    Rest, child, and may you find peace in whatever waits for us beyond the veil.

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  9. Schools will never fess up to bullying happening in their walls, or even if they do know, they will deny it The reason they do so, is because they know that there runs a strong possibility of legal action taken against the school, therefore they deny any shape or form within the walls (i apologize for the lack of punctuation and whatnot, this laptop im on is missing a few keys)

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  10. Hi Ron - I just wanted to say I'm impressed with your ongoing efforts to raise the awareness and profile of these sorts of death. It has become a north american trajedy; in your country; in Canada; and particularly on our aboriginal reserves. I share the other respondents concerns regarding inaction on the part of school staff and administration. Whether its bullying / intimidation alone or has a homophobia slant to it, none of it can be acceptable or appropriate or tolerated. Every school should have programs presented periodically (age appropriate) to 'out' the problem and get all sides talking - solution based ones. Keep up the good works.

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  11. I think many of us that grew up 20-30 years ago didn't recognize that some of our actions were actually bullying heck we did't stand over anyone an force lunch money....and that is what WAS thought of as bullying and as is with so many "pack" activities it is just so much easiers to go along than to go against the grain. I have two boys just a little younger thatn Payton and have talked to them about the effects of words and actions. I really worry that when kids take so much more to heart in these days that the mentality of the past is still prevailing...That needs to stop NOW parents need to start realizing that the little picks they use to do were wrong and hopefully they didn't cause this kind of tragic end. But lets learn and help our kids learn. Those that dissmiss this as "We did it and turned out ok" may be suprised someday when it is their child on the other end of it. GOD don't let this go without a strong lesson learned and behaviors changed on all ends parents and kids take heed! And to those of you kids being bullyed PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE realize there are other outs than this! DONT LET THE BULLIES WIN you can get through anything you are our future try to get through what I know is a REALLY TOUGH time.

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  12. i think the teachers and the school administration are responsible for payton taking her own life. all i can say is shame on you. theres been so much denial from the schools as far bullying goes when infact there is a huge problem here. i have been keeping up on the bullying that goes on in schools and i think its astounding on the number of children that are going through this. in fact bullying is the topic on a lot of talk shows these days. you wouldnt believe how many schools dont take responsibility, its horrible. no wonder many kids dont want to go to school. all i can say is im glad my kids are out of middle and high school.

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  13. I only hear about American kids in their teens or younger, being bullied because they're gay but don't think it's happened here in Canada. Canada is...a far more open-minded country despite their Conservative Prime Minister.

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    1. It happens everywhere. It happens in Canada, too. I personally know of a couple of instances, involving the same teen. I will say, though, that it does seem to be more prevalent in this country. We have a very mean-spirited culture that breeds hatred at least as much as it does love and tolerance. Sad but true.

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  14. This is a joke. The "close friend" who posted the youtube video didn't even go to Payton's school, had moved away 3 years earlier. Payton was well liked at school, according to her friends she had a strong personality, but a rough home life. I agree bullying is tragic, but I think the true issue is being hidden in this specific incident. I am sick that the school is being blamed for this tragedy!

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    1. The girl who made the video said in the interview that they didn't go to the same school. "The freshman who made the video for Payton says they didn't go to the same school, but were close friends outside of the classroom. She says she sees bullying a lot and that's why she felt she needed to do something. In less than a day her video has more than a thousand views with the focus of remembering her friend while putting a stop to bullying."

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    2. i was that girl who made that video.. just because we didn't go to the same school, doesn't mean we didn't know each other.. & no, i've lived in the same town since i was in 4th grade..

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    3. Kimberly, understanding why people find it necessary to make comments like that, about things they don't even know, will always be a mystery. The video you made for Payton was wonderful. Hope you are well. Ron

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  15. i was her bestfriend untill 4th grade. she did have a rough home life. but she loved her mom. her moms ex-boyfriends parents lived next door to me and she would practiclty be there everyday. it was DEFINETALLY not because of her home life...it was some gurl at school. because i know what goes on in her pretty little head about gurls. SHE HATES THEM. i still love her with all my heart and cry whenever i drive past her house...rip babygurl<3

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  16. I personally knew Payton.. She was my best friend in 6th grade. We had our share of problems as all friends have.. The one decision I will regret for the rest of my life.. She texted me February 11th. She asked to talk about everything on her mind.. And I thought.. She can wait, then the next day, I tried to send her a message and I found all the posts on her wall.. RIP Payton.. We will miss you.. I didnt know what to think.. All I knew is I could never just text her back.. I could never fix what I did wrong.. I doubt I could ever say sorry to her enough. All I had to do was just reply to that one message and she might have still been here. I know her too well.. She would have listened to me, she had before. She just needed someone to care and I wasnt there. That I will forever regret.

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    1. Hello. Your comment was truly heartbreaking to me, so I posted it on the facebook blog page so that others could read it and offer you some support. And, they were quick to respond. I will repost all of them here for you to read for yourself. I hope this helps you some.

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    2. Sharon Lyons StClair This is so sad. All the children wanting to end their lives. Heartbreak is not a strong enough word. To Payton's friend, Please forgive yourself as you are much to young to carry this quilt. You must talk to a caring adult about how you are feeling.

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    3. Rebecca - Dear Payton's friend, Please don't blame yourself.. <3 <3.. You can talk to her parents... It will help ease the pain that you are feeling.. Being there for and with her family will help you & Payton's parents...

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    4. Dawn - Dear Paytons Friend, I'm 41 yrs old and just experienced what you are going through a couple of monnths ago. Her name is Kayela and she was a beautiful, caring, kind hearted 16 yr old who took her life. I saw her the day she committed suicide in the hospital on life support. Not a single day goes by that i don't think of the "what ifs". Please my dear don't feel like its ur fault. All you can do now is remember her. Tell her story, it may help someone else. I was very angry and lost. So i started posting things about Kayela. It has helped me a lot. I also support stop bullying programs. You need to talk to someone so you can grieve also. If you ever want an ear to listen to you you may contact me here....hang in there dear. It does get better love....♥

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    5. Kelly - Dear Payton's Friend, I know that your regret and self blame are only part of the battle that you are fighting right now. Payton knows that you love her and how you are feeling and I know that she does not feel any thing but love and admiration for you. I truly believe that you can and will pull through this. There are many things that Payton will not get to do in her life that you will... Do it for her and most of all do each of these great things for yourself. See the amazing sights, fall in love, go to college... Live your dreams knowing that she will be there with you every step of the way. Please talk to someone- I know that is so scary but I promise it will help so much. I say this knowing because I went through what you are going through. It is a dark and lonely place but what you can't see is all the people who love and care about you are in the shadows - call out to them. I promise they will help you.

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    6. Deb - Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you...this was a totally senseless tragedy that has a rolling impact on all who knew and loved her. Please accept my hugs and caring for you.

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    7. Anderia - i didn't know Payton but i work with an aunt of her friends and the hurt that was caused after she did this and the hurt that she suffered was and is so immense! she did nothing to deserve it, sadly this happens in quite a few places in wisconsin. small minds breed small minded children. im so sorry to her friend i cant imagine what you are still going through! if you see this and ever want to talk im here for you!

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    8. Tammy - Love will conquer hate!!!!!! Good will always triumph over evil !!! I believe that with all my heart and soul. I buried 3 of my 4 brothers, and I still believe it!! It will get better, I'm do sorry for your loss.

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    9. My name is Nick hix and i did not know payton but o went to CWHS and was bullied when we went to the principal Larry Zeman ( still works there) he said it was my fault. So i beleive that al brown is lying about them not knowing anythin about het being bullied. Now i am a united states marine, and i have been away for a year thats why im just learning of this u can find me on face book if there is ever anything u need. Semper fidelis.

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  17. I have a story I would like to share with you. I am a mother of a 6 year old boy, and he just started out his second year at a catholic eduction school. My son loves school! Half through David's semester of kindergarten his teacher informs Chris and I that David has been having problems with another child in the classroom. His teacher goes on and tells us David has been getting into fist fights and pushing match with another child. My son was being bullied by another child and I and my husband had no clue this behavior was going on. Both of the children have strong personalities, but still. The school counselor was aware of this and when I wrote her an email stating she can not take my son out of the classroom unless I am notified first. She said," We are Friendship intervening" and leaving the word BULLING out of the situation. As a teacher, I am trained to look for theses behavior and be aware of these things. I totally over looked this in my own son. It is really easy to miss. I try really hard to keep a open mind and open communication with my son.

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