Hailey Petee, 11: Bullying leads to suicide
It’s really not getting any better. This one is as painful as they come. Hailey Petee was 11-years-old. Eleven years old! The preteen girl from London, Ohio ended her life over the weekend. Her lifeless body was found by her mother very early Sunday morning.I don’t even know where to start.
It is reported that the London, Ohio school district is very proactive when it comes to bullying. In fact, officials as well as Hailey’s mother have said that the bullying she endured didn’t occur in school or on the school grounds. Rather, she was apparently severely bullied by middle-schoolers while riding her school bus. Her mother explains that Hailey was tormented by these middle-schoolers on the school bus as well as around town. It became so bad, they had to change Hailey’s bus route to avoid them. Further, she was also restricted on where she could go around town, and with whom. “She couldn’t even go to the park anymore”, says her grieving mother. Apparently, even that wasn’t enough.
One of the bullies was an adult, a “neighborhood woman who had a daughter Hailey’s age”:
A neighborhood woman who has a daughter Hailey’s age was charged in October with disorderly conduct and telephone harassment. According to the police report, she had been yelling and cursing at Hailey when she saw the girl outside, and she had been taunting the family on Facebook. (The Columbus Dispatch)
Hailey Petee reportedly hated to wear the thick-framed glasses she was forced to wear in order to see. They were a source of her harassment. She was a very pretty young lady, glasses or no.
So, now what? Here’s a case where the parents were proactive and did what any good parent would do to protect the welfare of their child. It wasn’t enough. The school system at least appears to be one of the few proactive systems that actually takes bullying very seriously and takes action when they hear of incidences of bullying. It wasn’t enough!
Increasingly, people seem to be coming to the realization that one step that has to be implemented is there absolutely has to be some sort accountability placed on these people who are determined to wreak havoc on other people’s lives. They know what they’re doing is wrong! They know what they’re doing is malicious! They know that bullying is leading some to suicide! Yet, the continue to do it anyway! Why? Well, there’s no one right answer; however, there are a few that comes immediately to mind:
- they know that there will be no consequences;
- they just don’t care;
- no one is taking the time to teach them any better;
- their older role models (parents, older siblings, older friends) are showing them, by example, that it’s okay to be a bullying. It doesn’t matter what you do or say to another human being, even if it mean they end up committing suicide.
Dispute any one of those, and I’ll tell you you’re not paying attention to what’s going on. It’s really that simple. We are a society in great turmoil. It’s hard to convince young people that bullying is wrong when they continuously see adults in their lives do it. Role models. Parents. Teachers, in some cases. Politicians. Religious leaders. Look around you!! There are great examples of “it’s okay to bully others” in our faces every single day…by adults! I’ll continue to say this until I’m blue in the face that in order to address this epidemic, what must start with the adults. Period. There is just no other way out of this.
Even on the facebook blog page, a page that is dedicated to a.) this blog; and, b.) raising anti-bullying awareness, it’s split 60/40, with the 40% being of the “suck-it-up-and-grow-a-backbone” mentality. That gives you a snapshot of how deep-rooted this problem is. How can we begin to work on teaching these young people that bullying is just plain wrong, how can we think about saving these young people from ending their lives, if we can’t come together, ourselves, as adults, on finding a solution? Meanwhile, the young people are watching…and, listening. And, we’re continuing to see the sad results of our indecisiveness. WE need to figure this out!
I often get the argument “I was bullied when I was in school, but I didn’t kill myself! There’s always been bullying. These kids today are just soft.” Someone posted a similar comment last night. My response is worth repeating here:
Yes, make no mistake: bullying has ALWAYS been around…in one form or another. Here’s the difference with today’s kids, and bullying. You and I couldn’t send texts; you and I couldn’t tweet; you and I didn’t have facebook; there was no Ask.fm. WE DIDN’T HAVE THE INTERNET! The Internet has changed EVERYTHING!!! For starters, yes, today’s youth’s coping skills aren’t what ours were back then. You know why? Because they don’t get enough opportunity to interact, read: cope, in REAL LIFE!!!! Everything is OMG!!!, LOL!!!!, etc. These kids live their lives in the cyber-world. So, naturally, their coping skills are lagging from when you and I were in school. (thank GOD there was no Internet back then!!!!) Secondly, and this is important to understand, bullying in our day had a whole different face than bullying does today. I dealt with the schoolyard bullies, push you around, call you names, take your lunch money…the typical stuff back then. Big deal. Once the last bell rang for the day, WE WERE FREE!!!! We went home, we did our homework (maybe), then we were outside playing with our friends. That was then. Once again, today’s youth are cyber-kids. Therefore, bullying has the potential of being a 24/7 ordeal. Texts don’t end at the last bell of the day; tweets don’t stop just because they’re no longer in school; facebook status updates and comments proliferate after school for these kids. The bullying has the potential of NEVER ending!! We absolutely must stop comparing their world to ours if we’re ever going to figure this out. Two completely different worlds! These kids are in serious trouble unless, and until, we adults figure something out.
We, the adults, are failing these young people miserably. They looking to us to lead them out of this disaster, and we’re dropping the ball. Again, and again, and again. In young Hailey’s case, it seems that everyone actually did do everything they could to prevent it from coming to this. It just didn’t work out that way. Now, they must go that next step and identify these youngsters who mercilessly bullied Hailey and make certain that they are held accountable for their actions. There’s no other way. As long as they realize that nothing is going to happen to them, they will continue doing what they’re doing. And, we’ll continue losing one young life after another. We can do better. We owe it to this generation to do better.
Rest in peace, Hailey
******************************SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES******************************
Written by Ron Kemp
February 2, 2013 at 12:26 am
Tagged with 11 year old girl commits suicide in london ohio, Bullying, hailey petee london ohio, hailey petee suicide, preteen suicide in london ohio, teen suicide, who bullied hailey petee, why did hailey petee commit suicide
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