From the moment we begin trying to think of names for our first unborn child, we consider the societal aspect of bullying. It is a huge fear for every parent that their child will be bullied at school and too often we see the devastating effect bullying can have on children and their families.
Tragically last week another beautiful soul took their own life after being bullied to a point where they could no longer cope. Ronin Shimizu, only twelve years old, could no longer handle being bullied for what he loved to do and sadly this week his parents found him deceased, victim of an apparent suicide.
We try to teach our kids that they can do and be whatever they choose if they want it badly enough and they work hard enough, we also teach them that if they enjoy something they should do it, regardless of what anyone says. These were also strong lessons for Ronin and he learnt them well, when he decided he wanted to become a cheerleader for his school team, he did just that.
Ronin was the only male cheerleader on his middle school team and his team mates describe him as sweet, happy, bright, charming and so nice. He was just a little boy doing something he loved, but bullies don’t care if you love something or not. Relentless teasing, name calling and insults followed Ronin everywhere he went with the bullying both online and at school for over a year, before his mother decided to home school him.
It’s reported the family had complained several times about the treatment their son was receiving and a spokesperson for the school district has acknowledged they had raised the issue several times and said the matters had been “handled”. Clearly nothing had been handled if this poor boy reached a point where suicide became a viable option for him.
This is certainly not the first time this has happened either, it is becoming a regular occurrence now to hear of yet another young person that has been bullied so badly that they have resorted to suicide. Or even worse they have turned their anguish at being bullied on others and tried to take someone, anyone down with them.
What has happened to us a society that we have children driving other children to kill themselves? What has happened to the children doing the bullying in the first place to make them so angry that they feel the need to attack others in any way they can? And how can we ever fix the problem?
I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, all I know is as a mother of children not old enough to go to school yet I am terrified for them in years to come, as the problem only seems to escalate with time. I was bullied as a child and it has left scars that will never quite heal, I fear for my sons, but all I can do is mould them into good people. I can only ensure my son is never the bully.
Have your children ever been bullied? How did you deal with it and do you think the school did enough to fix the problem?