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Death By Bullying: Another Teenage Suicide

Death By Bullying: Another Teenage Suicide

Sixteen-year-old Christian Taylor was found hanged in his bedroom on Monday, May 31: Memorial Day, a school holiday, which for most kids means the start of summer.

Taylor was a freshman at Grafton High School in Yorktown, VA. What’s especially tragic about this suicide is that the teenager had complained to school and law enforcement officials about being bullied, but nothing was done to stop his tormentor. According to York-Poquosen Sheriff Sgt. Dennis Ivey, authorities had also looked into complaints by Taylor’s mother, Alise Williams, weeks ago, but turned the matter over to his school after finding no crime had been committed. No action was taken, and Taylor’s tormentor remained at school.

Because of Taylor’s death, Ivey said, authorities are now re-examining the case to see if any laws were broken.

How many lost teenage lives are we going to have to witness before school authorities take this issue seriously? In Massachusetts, less than six months ago, 15-year-old Phoebe Prince hanged herself after being assaulted and bullied by classmates. Currently six teenagers face charges in that case.

And now here’s another one. Teenagers can be both mean and cruel, as well as scared and extremely vulnerable. Above all, they need guidance from adults, even when (maybe especially when) they act as if they hate all authority. Every school has a legal responsibility to deal with bullying that occurs on school property and, in many cases, between school and home.

What happened in Taylor’s case? According to his mom, “Chris was a good kid…. He had the usual teenage problems, the awkwardness and all, but he had a girlfriend and friends and they’re devastated.” She described her son’s bullying as “just a lot of taunting and saying mean stuff” but added that in one instance, his tormentor, a classmate, told her son to “go ahead and commit suicide and get it over with.”

Meanwhile, the bully “is still in school,” said Williams. “They have not suspended him. He has not been expelled. And he doesn’t just target my son, he’s targeted quite a few others.”

As someone who has been teaching teenagers for over twenty years, I know that someone, if not several people, at that high school had to know what was going on, but chose not to see. It’s easy to do, since teachers are all so overworked and pressured these days. But that’s no excuse. Teenagers can be a tough bunch, but it’s also pretty easy to read them.

Bullying is a serious social problem. According to the National School Safety Center, one in seven children becomes a victim of bullying at school. Wake up, schools! Getting good test scores is nice; saving lives is crucial.

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455 comments

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4:23AM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

How easy it is to blame societys failures at raising there children and parents who are to involved in there own lives to pay attention to there kids on bullying,bullying has been around for ever but Americas bad parenting and desertion of its youth is a new and growing problem noone wants to face.

7:33AM PST on Jan 10, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

6:10AM PST on Dec 4, 2011

Thank you for the article. It is sad, when someone is alone. And i hope that other people have someone behaves supportedly towards and who takes them seriously.

Always when i hear about terrible things it makes me sad, and i cannot understand how someone could do something terrible - hurt, rape or kill a person or animal. When i was a child this also happened to me... and surviving this is more terrible than not (parents and other may think different, but a victim?), living with all this pain... living with guilty feelings... full with hate for the own self
No one can understand, because most people cannot imagine this, cannot imagine how much it change. Some of them think, that this would not be so terrible, because all would make some sexual experiences, and so it would not matter if there were some without own interest or wish. This cruel and superficial society makes me sick.

I know that it is not good to wish someone who does terrible things something as a punishment. But when i hear about violent people then i think why are they so "afraid" to go to someone equal and get some hits for their selves. This is a perversion, to think being more a man when beating a woman or a girl. This men are a shame for all normal men.

About me... there is no one who takes me seriously... :( i hate my own life, i wish i would vanish... that no one would have a burden (me) anymore...

Please forgive these sadness

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last

2:02PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy4gGs8_90w should people had made fun of her?

7:07PM PST on Nov 16, 2011

~I've said this all along, that school officials are not doing enough to help the bullying situation!!~This should be very shameful to this community as well in other communities!!~My condolences to the family in their time of sorrow!!!!~

4:17AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

chris was one of the sweetest guys i knew when he was here in texas, i just found out that he commited suicide today. i lost touch with all my friends and when we became friends again they never told me. ive been through every video picture and report of what happened and i cant help but cry. to those who knew chris, they new a guy who they could always trust and count on. i dont understand why a jerk would push him over the edge to the point of suicide. to all of you who didnt know him, the world lost a chance to know the sweetest guy ever. and to those who did know chris, ( this is comming from a girl who has been crying for hours) we should smile cuz we knew him and remember every memory we had with him, and the last thing remember hes in our hearts even if he isnt on our earth. R.I.P. CHRIS WE LOVE AND MISS YOU

8:00PM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

Oh dear, Colleen P. You gave me a great idea. If we should cull the herd, it only makes sense to start with the obnoxious ones. Would you care to volunteer yourself? There's an ice floe out there for you somewhere waiting for you, and fish to clean your bones.

4:06PM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

bullies are disgusting, for whatever reason they are what they are. i have been bullied and it caused me to leave school at 13..i would not wish that despair on any child..or anyone.

@coleen, try not to be ...well ...you.

many of us animal loving people haters actually do care for people. you are way out of line but reading your profile...i fear for your mental stability.

3:55PM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

coleen p

that was a stretch too far, makes you sound a little obsessive.

3:52PM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

Shirley J, Yep I am CALLIN YA OUT, did you bully when you were a kid??? DID wait your not even worth this, there was aLOT MORE than what YOU THINK you know, StFU

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