Stop Bullying: In Memory of Amanda

I feel compelled today to write about bullying after reading the tragic story of Amanda Todd, a beautiful girl from Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada who committed suicide after being bullied and abused by kids at her school and online by the same kids.

In a desperate cry for help, the 15-year-old girl posted a video on YouTube in which she revealed that boys had taken advantage of her, girls had assaulted her and, after an earlier suicide attempt, bullies allegedly egged her on to try again.  (See the video here.)

When she was encouraged to “flash” herself, the screen image was posted on Facebook as a profile picture by one of the bullies and was spread around by the bullies as yet another means by which to torment the teen who desperately wanted a friend.  I personally think Facebook needs some controls in place to prevent topless photos of children from being circulated in this way.  Obviously that’s just one of the issues in a complex situation.

In a video response to the news of Amanda’s death, British Columbia premier Christy Clark stated, “I just heard about Amanda and I want to say to everyone who loved her, to all her family and friends, how sorry I am for her loss.  No one deserves to be bullied. No one earns it, no one asks for it, it isn’t a rite of passage. Bullying has to stop.”

I couldn’t agree more with the premier.  Bullying needs to stop.  As a child I too was stalked and bullied so I can relate to the pain of such a crime. Similar to Amanda, the situation was simply diminished by adults familiar with the abusive situations.

Adults need to take bullying seriously.  In many cases the assaults, threats, and other actions are criminal activities, yet schools and many parents (I’m certainly not pointing a finger at Amanda’s parents here to whom I extend my sincerest sympathies) chalk it up to “kids being kids.”  Regardless the age of offenders involved in bullying, many of the actions constitute criminal activities and should be treated as such. Assaults, child porn, torture, or other forms of bullying that occur need to be taken seriously and charges need to be laid.

After watching videos and reading articles linked to Amanda Todd’s tragic death and the circumstances which led to it, I was also struck by how seemingly cold and uncompassionate the administrators at the school appeared.  It’s not sufficient to say that there are supports in place and it’s certainly not sufficient to address these issues on paper—in documents that can’t replace real live human intervention.  Obviously there are many schools facing the issues around bullying and I’m sure some of them are handling the situation well.  Perhaps other schools can learn from them.

But, schools are not the only ones to put an end to bullying.  Parents can get involved and help to put an end to bullying.  I recall my own pleas for help to stop ongoing emotional and verbal abuse.  It’s never just “kids just being kids.”

There are no simple answers when in it comes to bullying.  In memory of Amanda Todd, whose bullying ended only with her own death, let’s make a commitment to put an end to bullying before it destroys the precious lives of more children.  If you see bullying, get involved, make your voice heard.  Kids, even teenagers, are still just kids.  They need adult intervention when they are being assaulted, harassed, or emotionally or verbally abused. If you suspect your child is a bully, you need to act now to put an end to his or her damaging and abusive behavior.  And, just as important, reach out to a child who is friendless and in need of support.  Your friendship could save a life.

In memory of Amanda, please commit to end bullying now.

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Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Michelle, for Sharing this!

Christine Stewart

It is infuriating that kids (and teachers , as Misty said) are getting away with bullying and schools are doing little to stop it. If I had a kid in school that was being bullied, I'd home school or even risk truancy to protect my child from all those a**holes out there...

Misty Lemons
Past Member 2 years ago

And It's Not Just Children Bullying Children Anymore. It's Teachers Bullying Children And Other Authority Figures In Schools. Very Heartbreaking For The Children And Their Parents. My Child's School Recently Put In A New Policy In Place That Double Punishes Children. Which Makes Zero Sense. Even Criminals Aren't Punished Twice For Their Crimes. Why Pick On Children? I Created A Petition And Will Present It To The School Board Asking Them To Redact Their New Policy. Please, Help Me Help These Children By Signing. Thank You.

Sue R.
Sue R.3 years ago

Kid are so cruel. I remember being bullied. The teachers and parents said it was part of growing up. It's sad and only becoming worse.

Lisa W.
Lisa W.3 years ago

so sad!!!! Just don't join facebook at a young age, it should be banned or unadvised for those under 16, who are too impressionable and still can be too easily bullied by online peer pressure!!!

Stella Gamboni
Stella Gamboni3 years ago

There is a very thoughtful article about this very subject on Womankind at:

Terry V.
Terry V.3 years ago

STOP using the word bullying. It is NOT working.

Kids are being verbally, mentally, emotionally, and phyically ABUSED/ASSALTED

Sue H.
Sue H.3 years ago

Sadly, parents can't be around every time a child is cruel to another, either in person or via the internet. But parents and teachers can and should be talking about this with children. Re-affirm the golden rule.?

Rosa mc
Lydia Mcintyre3 years ago

Unfortunately, bullying has become quite a popular thing for insecure people in both kids and adults.
It's also terrible that the internet and social networks have made it easier to harass and bother the bully's intended target.:(

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim3 years ago

Bullying has caused so many young to people misery, to an extent where they even decide to end their lives. It's very sad to hear about cases like that and I'm appalled at the amount of bullying that's happening everywhere. Kids are not aware how their actions and words can affect another person. They should be taught about these issues in school.