Bullying and Harassment: Not at Our School

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This September a nauseating invasion of privacy and case of harassment led to the suicide of a freshman named Tyler Clementi at Rutgers University. Tyler’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, set up a webcam which live-streamed Tyler partaking in a “sexual encounter” with another male to anyone who “dared to iChat” with him. Ravi originally posted on his Twitter, “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into Molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.” Tyler, who was allegedly not yet comfortable about being open with his sexuality, then went on to jump off the George Washington Bridge, instantly killing himself. Tyler was clearly victimized, bullied, and harassed through his roommate’s evident invasion of his privacy.

However, this is not just about Tyler Clementi’s tragic suicide; it is about something much bigger. In the past year the media has picked up more stories of teen suicides from accounts of bullying and harassment than ever before. Another big story was that of Phoebe Prince, a fifteen year-old girl who killed herself nine months ago as a result of being taunted by her classmates. Every single day teenagers, just like the ones we pass here in our hallways, are committing suicide as a result of being bullied and harassed based on who they are. Every single day these teens experience feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, and isolation. Harassment is preventing these young adults from simply living their lives. A person should not have to die just to bring attention to this matter. As students, faculty, and staff we need to be mindful of these horrifying situations, and we need to step up to make sure South High School is not the home of bullying or harassment in any form. We need to make sure a tragedy of this magnitude does not happen at our school. Students should be embraced for who they are, not tormented.

To all my fellow students, I hope this story is in the back of your head the next time you talk bad about someone, whether behind his or her back or to his or her face. I hope you think about your actions before you laugh at someone, tease them, or do anything else to make an individual feel victimized. When we were younger, we were taught that time-old saying: “sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt us.” However, by now we should be grown up enough to realize that that is a complete and utter lie; words hurt. If we could all just respect our peers and embrace them for who they are, we would not have to be reading tragic stories of teen suicide in the media. This story is a prime example that we all need to wake up and face the fact that what we may view as pranks or harmless teasing can have enough impact to end a person’s life forever.





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JTJ411 said...
Oct. 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm
I know someone who wanted to kill a person because he was being teased. I have been teased before, but never to the point to I wanted to kill myself. I felt really bad for him and encourged him to kill anyone. Now he is the top of his class, and the person that bullied him failed twice. He repeatly called him a nerd, and now he wont be able to graduate with his right class. What goes aroung comes around right?
 
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