"Bullycide in America" is the name of Brenda High's book. I met Brenda several months ago at a speaker's conference and I've kept in touch with her since then. I have it here in my office. The stories she shares are dreadful.
What's even more dreadful is that nearly every day now, we could add another chapter. Today, I learned of two more. One recent, one back in March.
Scott Walz was due to graduate high school tomorrow. Dave Savini of CBS2 in Chicago will be doing a special on him, his life, and his tragic bullying death tonight. There's an entire Facebook community dedicated to him -- I joined today.
Christian Taylor's bullycide was just within the last week. I'm due to be the guest panelist at a live WebCast sponsored by DailyPress tomorrow at noon ET. If you'd like to participate, here is the link. It's important to do everything we can to raise awareness and build momentum to put a stop to this senseless loss of life.
But, I have to be honest...I'm getting tired. Tired of the daily dose of death. Tired of people's lack of outrage. Tired of hearing, "we can't afford to do more" or "it's just not in the budget" from schools and other organizations who are experiencing bullying every day, in every city and state.
And the endless discussions about how tougher laws are going to help. Or a stricter "policy." Gosh, folks, do you really BELIEVE that? Do you believe we can dictate and legislate our way into a kinder, gentler community? I wrote about this a while back but today I encountered another person who seriously thinks we have to pass laws and make bullying a crime.
It is...already, in 43 states. Did that save Scott Walz? Or Christian Taylor?
I keep getting encouragement from folks who know my mission to keep up the fight, "keep doing what you're doing." I try, but sometimes it's like throwing rocks in the Grand Canyon. Nothing will change until people stop talking about how needed real solutions are, or how great it is that I'm doing what I"m doing, and they start taking action. And, I don't mean another nifty policy or strongly-worded law. I mean doing something to improve the character and interpersonal abilities of our kids and youth, not just once during a rally or assembly, but continuously, constantly, consistently. "Better culture" has to be something we work on all day, every day, at the same time we teach them academics; we have to teach them how to get along, to consider each others' feelings, to treat each other with respect.
And, yes, I believe we have to teach it 'cause it's painfully, fatally clear that they're not getting it any other way.
Please, let me wake up tomorrow and not see another report of another child who ended his or her life because they didn't see any other way to get past this. These are our children, people. They don't deserve this. Scott Walz deserved to throw his mortarboard in the air tomorrow and whoop and holler and celebrate with the rest of his senior class. Instead, he may become another chapter in Brenda's next book.