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Let's work together against bullying and help bring the teen suicide rate down to zero

Duncan Ballard, 14: Family Says Suicide Was Due to Bullying

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On New Year’s Day, 14-year-old Duncan Ballard ended his life.  The family of the eighth-grader says that his suicide was the result of bullying.

Duncan Alexander BallardIt’s hard to imagine that, in the year 2013, with all of the glory of the Internet and the “Information Age”, non-stop 24/7 news outlets, and social networks that, at times, supersedes the news outlets, that we are still trying to figure out how to put an end to the bullying that is causing teens to end their lives.  It been said here to the point of repetitiveness that anyone, anyone!!, who doesn’t know by now that bullying is at the root of far-too-many teen suicides either has their head buried (fill in your own expression completion), or they just flat-out don’t care.  Either case is problematic.

Stories continue to pour in, on a daily basis, to the facebook blog page telling about being bullied, sometimes severely so.  And, almost always, the stories are pretty much the same:  They’re getting bullied at school; the teachers/school administrators pretty much turn a blind eye and do nothing; depression is followed by self-harm (in one way or another).  And, sadly, sometimes it comes to this.  Yet, even when it does come to this, STILL nothing is done.  It’s as if today’s youth are expendable.  They’re not.  Not by a long shot.

Duncan’s family described him as different, loving, smart.  Creative.  He was a songwriter and liked to write and sing his songs.  He was also, they say, being “picked on” both at school and at home by his peers.  New Year’s Day, he reached his breaking point.  He went to the upstairs of his family’s house and ended his life.

As for the responses from both the school administration and the Marion police department, you can recite their answers from memory.  It doesn’t change much.

So, then, what IS the answer?  How do we even begin to get across to these young schoolyard bullies that their behavior is a.) unacceptable; and, b.) causing severe harm and even death?  How do we get them to care!!??  How do we get the officials to change their mindset and approach when it comes to bullying?  How do we get them to care!?  And, how do we get the bullying victims, themselves, to understand that they’re stronger than they realize, that this incredibly cruel and sometimes even criminal behavior they’re enduring now will definitely pass?  It’s unfortunate that in 2013 there are still so many unanswered questions.  It’s even more unfortunate that there are still young people who are ending their lives because of the actions of a few, actions that there are no repercussions for!!!!  

Duncan Ballard should still be here, writing and singing his songs.  Putting smiles on people’s faces, and in their hearts.  Instead, some mean-spirited, perhaps even hateful kids chose him to pick on, to exercise their own low self-esteem on.  They pushed him to the end of his young rope.  Worse, there will be no consequences for their actions.  Count on it.  And, before you naysayers chime in with the “nobody-made-him-end-his-life; he-chose-to-do-that” rhetoric, save it for some of the parents of some of these young suicide victims where bullying was involved.  I’m certain they’d have a thing or two to say to you about it.

Rest in peace, Duncan.  I sure wish I could’ve heard some of your music.

********************SUICIDE IS NEVER THE ANSWER!!!  TALK TO SOMEONE!!!********************

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THE TREVOR PROJECT

SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: the blog page

 

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9 Responses

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  1. What IS the answer is someone, me included, keep trying to
    bring it out to the public that the NCLB law is causing this to
    happen in schools. They need to know the ‘stipulation’ within NCLB
    law that causes this. The public education system, including ALL of
    them.. teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members,
    etc are a DIRECT cause of this mess.
    ________________________________

    Sherry Hollis

    January 27, 2013 at 10:00 am

  2. rip Dunncan
    its time we have stronger laws against bullying. i believe if someone bullies a person and that person commits suicide then that bully should be charged with manslauder. its the only way we are going to stop bullying is to hold them respossible for their actions.
    And i know there will be some people on here that ssid no one made him do it. thats just not true everyone is different while one person may survive bullying some ele cant.

    larry fletcher

    January 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm

  3. rip Dunncan
    its time we have stronger laws against bullying. i believe if someone bullies a person and that person commits suicide then that bully should be charged with manslauder. its the only way we are going to stop bullying is to hold them respossible for their actions.
    And i know there will be some people on here that ssid no one made him do it. thats just not true everyone is different while one person
    may survive bullying some ele cant.

    larry fletcher

    January 27, 2013 at 1:27 pm

  4. New laws are not the answer. Teaching kids the Golden Rule and then modeling that principle is the answer. Creating environments where bullying and intimidation is unacceptable is the answer. Blaming schools is also not the answer. Bullying and preventing bullying is EVERYONE’S responsibility. If you see it or hear it, address it. If you are a bystander, you are part of the problem. Doing the right thing is the hardest thing to do but there is power in numbers. If we all stand against it, we take away the bully’s power.

    Lynette

    January 27, 2013 at 4:21 pm

  5. Duncan was a great kid, he loved to sing. He sang all the time…it got aggravating sometimes..but oh how i would love to hear it again. he was in choir, He was very intelligent. He was a deep thinker and a deep feeler. Things that went over other kids heads, he understood the seriousness and the heart of the matter. Kids picked on him about his weight…he wasnt fat..just a little chubby..5’6″ and 165lbs is not “fat” He was ADD/ADHD and because of that he would ask the teacher to repeat things..they teased him about that. Eventually he began lashing out at those he perceived as picking on him. He believed that deep down bullys are cowards. But words DO hurt..and Duncan was the type of child to take those words to heart, when he failed at something it made him believe that maybe he was a nobody loser like people told him he was. We tried to instill in him that it was his differences that made him special, but in this day and age..people dont respect each others differences..they spotlight them and make you feel less than for it. They teased him because he sang everywhere he went. They called him Donut, which made him so angry..and they would do it so that he would eventually yell at them to shut up…getting HIM in trouble with the teacher..who of course couldnt do anything because they didnt hear the other kids goading him. He was deliberately tripped coming into history class and fell…the other kids laughed at him until he cried and ran out..and he never told us any of this was going on. It wasnt until after his suicide that some of his friends told us what life was like for him at school. He did have a group of friends that he had connected with..and that gave him great joy..but apparently not enough. On New Year’s night, he got in trouble over some dirty dishes..and we had an arguement. not a huge one…just a normal ” you have to do your chores better” one…. about an hour and a half later..he went into my husbands and my bedroom and shot himself. His younger sister and I were the ones to find him, and the horror of that haunts me and will haunt me forever. There is a huge hole in our hearts and souls. Life will never be the same.
    We will love him and miss him every minute of ever day for the rest of our lives.
    Mamma loves you Duncan. I’m so sorry.

    Robin Ballard

    February 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    • Robin – My son is also being bullied at school. We thought it was just Middle School but now it is happening in High School. Two weeks ago he got beat up very bad. We have filed assault charges but the abuser will be back at school tomorow. My heart breaks for you and will pray for your family. It is tragic that children cannot go to school without being mentally tortured! The schools really do nothing, they actually protect the bully. My family’s heart has been broken by mean, horrible kids. They have ruined my son’s school years and he will carry this forever! The damage is done.

      Pam Holderfield

      April 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm

  6. Robin, when you’re ready, will you please join us on the facebook blog page? I think it would be a good source of support for you. Your story will help others, also. There are other parents on the page who have lost their child to suicide because of bullying. http://www.facebook.com/bloggingforchange.

    Ron Kemp

    February 22, 2013 at 4:50 am


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