Cade Poulos, 13, Death by Suicide
The question “WHEN WILL THIS END” comes to mind. The story was all over the news today: “A 13-year-old student dies…at Oklahoma School”. That 13-year-old had a name. And, his name was Cade Poulos.
School Superintendent Ann Caine, who oversees the district about 70 miles west of Tulsa, said there weren’t any reports that the teen had been bullied. “There is no indication that that’s what occurred,” Caine said. She said the teen was a good student who got along with other kids.
Yet, and once again, people closer to the situation had something completely different to say. This is what one person had to say on the facebook memorial page set up just today in Cade’s honor:
He was bullied. The school & children at the school confirmed he WAS bullied.
Said yet another one:
Kids from his school are saying he was bullied. I am sure they know way more about it than the school records.
“I am sure they know way more about it than the school records.” And, that’s the point. Why is it so easy for them to wash their hands of the bullying menace when we’re seeing so many young people end their lives and so many people close to the victim states emphatically that there was bullying involved? Shouldn’t they, at the very least, look deeply into the bullying aspect of it first and foremost? I say yes. I say that when a bright, outwardly happy 13-year-old goes to school and ends his life in front of his other schoolmates, that 13-year-old was doing more than ending his life. He was sending a message. And, he chose that stage for his final act for a reason. That, to me anyway, is just common sense.
Now, I’m nowhere close to the situation. Was bullying the only factor that led Cade Poulos to end his life in front of his schoolmates today? I don’t know that answer. In fact, we may never know that answer. Was bullying a factor at all in his decision? My answer, and my opinion, is a definitive yes. I think back to Andy Williams and the Santee High School shooting in 2001. There comes a point when enough is enough. They can’t take any more of the torment. They snap. And, you have what we witnessed today. I can’t accept, on any level, that these school officials actually believe that bullying has nothing to do with many of these teen suicides.
Cade Poulos’ suicide brings the total for this new school year up to 14, that I know of! The school year is only a month old!! That’s a pace of, roughly, one every 2.something days. Do the math. At that pace, how many will that total reach by school year’s end. Answer: a totally unacceptable total. Then, ask yourself these questions: What response would we be seeing if someone was going into the schools and killing a student once every 2.something days? What would the response be if another kid was dying every 2.something days after eating a cafeteria lunch? I’ll tell you: we’d see widespread panic, a full 5-alarm blaze. New emergency legislations would be passed and enforced. Extra funding would be made available to combat the epidemic. Task forces would be in place to tackle the issue. And, they wouldn’t dare stop until the epidemic was a thing of the past. So, then, the question is: “Why aren’t they treating bullying and teen suicides with that same level of intensity?” “Why does it seem that the officials who can make a difference are racing to the nearest sink to wash their hands of the situation?” Answering those questions will drastically lower the teen suicide rate, especially when it involves bullying. Answering and rectifying. I don’t care how one looks at it, how one tries to rationalize it, what’s going on right now is 100% unacceptable and preventable.
Instead of it getting better, we’re seeing family after grief-stricken family have to bury their young, school-aged child because of suicide. We’re seeing friends of the victims left with a lifetime of deep-rooted sorrow that they couldn’t do anything to help their friend. We’re seeing communities completely devastated by the unspeakable happening right there in their backyard. One of the members of the facebook blog page had this to say today:
You see it on tv and think “oh wow that is sad”, and think it would never happen in your town. Well, this morning here in Stillwater, Oklahoma, a 13 yr old named Cade Poulos shot himself at the local Jr. High. Sources say he was bullied to the point that he couldn’t take it anymore. RIP Cade, your life was over before you even got a chance to live it. When will we say enough is enough and teach our children to love, not hate.
Indeed, Rich, when will we…teach our youth to love, not hate. That’s the question.
Saying how sorry I am that the Poulos family is going through this seems…empty. Their grief at this moment is unimaginable. And, to you, Cade Poulos, may you now rest in peace. They can’t torment you anymore.
Written by Ron Kemp
September 27, 2012 at 1:56 am
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