Last week, Amanda Todd, a 15-year old girl from British Columbia, took her own life.
While all suicides should make us stop and consider the enormity of pain and despair that person must’ve been feeling to commit such an act upon themselves, Amanda’s case is especially notable because she’d previously posted a video to YouTube in which she recounted the bullying she had endured since the 7th Grade and the misery of her life in the ensuing years.
I’ve written about bullying before. I’ll say it again now: there is no greater scourge on playgrounds, in locker rooms, on buses, in cafeterias than bullying. It is a vile, vicious form of abuse, and one which we, as a society, seem truly unwilling to seriously, finally bring to an end.
How many more children—yes, children—must kill themselves before we, as adults, do something?
And let’s dispense with the notion right now that “education” or “awareness” will solve this problem. They are the bromides of gutless politicians who wish to appear to be doing something without actually doing anything at all.
Unless or until we admit bullying is far more serious, more deadly than mere playground tom-foolery or Facebook nit-picking “between kids” it will continue—and children will continue to die.
It’s time to bring the full force of the law to bear against these bullies: charge them with murder, with manslaughter; call it what you will, but the words and actions of these morally bankrupt individuals cut so deep, their abuse so perverse and so unending they might as well have killed their victims. After all, they had already crushed their souls, shattered their spirits beyond recognition or repair. Enough with the bully moniker, charge them for who they really are: murderers.
But do not stop with these murderous bullies. Charge the parents, too. Charge them with aiding and abetting their little monsters’ wicked crimes. Bullying, after all, is learned behaviour. Clearly, obviously, they created the conditions in which these children believed it was acceptable to abuse others with wanton disregard. Charge them, too.
And do not stop with the parents, either. Charge those gutless teachers and school administrators who sat idly by while these crimes occur on their watch by those in their care. Charge them with depraved indifference.
Adults must be held accountable, too.
This isn’t a joke anymore. It isn’t a “right of passage,” a bit of rough-housing, a little harmless character building. It’s criminal. And it’s deadly. And it has to stop. Now.