BULLYING AGAIN: I AM AT A LOSS

by michael on January 5, 2012

As Yogi Berra might say, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

I just read this article, “Amanda Diane Cummings Dies After Being Struck By Bus.”  

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/03/amanda-diane-cummings-of-_n_1180889.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl5%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D124847

I confess I am at a loss to grasp the many factors that could have permitted this avoidable horror to occur. See article below.

I write these comments fully aware of the power of hindsight and fully aware of the possibility that the ‘facts’ presented in this story by this writer may be wrong or be incomplete to the degree that the story is deceptively in error or biased or incomplete. These possibilities exist, I admit.

Having acknowledged those variables, I am at a loss to explain why school authorities did not aggressively and affirmatively act to protect Amanda. I am at a loss to fathom why school authorities did not discipline or suspend or press charges against the alleged bullies. Schools  boast their anti bullying credentials. They boast their toughness in policies. Yet, more often than not, they do nothing when something strong needs to be done. Here, I conclude that the school was not serious about stopping bullying. The school appeased rather than protected. Based on the allegations in the article, the school betrayed this child.

If the thefts actually occurred, I am at a loss as to why the police did not investigate the thefts, advise the alleged thieves that they were being observed and that charges would be brought. Or, the police, along with the appropriate prosecutor, should have brought charges against the alleged thieves. I cannot fathom allowing such actions to go without pursuit if my child was being so tormented.

Where were Amanda’s parents? The article does not say.

I am at a loss as to why Amanda did not cancel or de-activate or whatever the action is called to abolish her Facebook account. I am at a loss as to why she continued to provide a forum for her own debasement. I am at a loss as to why  Amanda’s friends did not rally to her support and try to neutralize the villainy of the bullies that posted on  Amanda’s Facebook account.

Having written the above, most of all I am at a loss to understand why such actions…losing a jacket and shoes and a phone and nasty words on a Facebook account…. would cause a young adult to kill herself. I do not understand it.

But, assuming all this is true as to the motivation for jumping in front of a bus, it affirms the validity and importance of my major message to children and to their parents: get stronger. For parents, don’t try to make the world easier for your children. Make them stronger.

If Lady Gaga and her supporting institutions and foundations want to help children in a meaningful way, to actually stop the bullying or to reduce the consequences of the bullying, then invest time and money into programs that make children stronger. If Amanda were able to say “Who cares what they write or do,” she’d be alive today.

Why she could not, I do not understand.

Article:

 

A 15-year old teenager from Staten Island died after being struck by a bus while carrying a suicide note on Monday evening.

NYPD officials say a witness saw Amanda Diane Cummings jump in front of the bus on Hylan Boulevard by Hunter Avenue. She was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital where she was in critical condition and ultimately died from her injuries.

Cummings was a sophomore at New Dorp High School and according to the girl’s uncle, Keith Cummings, she had been bullied by peers.

The relative spoke to the Staten Island Advance on the alleged bullying and said Amanda was tormented after bullies stole her possessions including her jacket, phone, and shoes.

He said they were even posting cruel, inappropriate comments on Amanda’s Facebook wall while in the hospital after being struck by the bus.

The uncle said he would be seeking legal action against the bullies and said, “I’m not going to tolerate this. I’m gonna go full force. Kids can’t do this to each other.”

Amanda’s family described her as a kind teenager who loved animals and enjoyed poetry. A family blog has been created in her memory.

Bullying, specifically cyber-bullying, has been a growing problem for young adults across the nation, as social networking sites become centers of harmful taunting and insults.

In 2010, The New York Times reported that one of out five middle-school students said they had been victims of cyberbullying and while most states have bullying prevention ordinances in place, less than half provide guidance on what should be done about bullying on the internet and electronic communication devices.

Pop superstar Lady Gaga has been an advocate of anti-bullying measures and recently launched the Born This Way foundation with the help of the MacArthur Foundation and Harvard University to highlight “issues like self-confidence, well being, anti-bullying, mentoring, and career development” and help empower young people.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

 

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