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

Hailey Petee, 11: Bullying leads to suicide

with 37 comments


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.haley peteeI 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_CLH

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.  hailey's motherThey 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, ourselvesas 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.Story haley

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

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37 Responses

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  1. No we did have the internet, our bullies just knew where we lived and chose to do their crap up close and personal, so in a way OUR bullies were more ballsy than those of today who HIDE behind a screen name. At least with then internet you can shut down the computer, you can’t shut down your house when the wolves are howling outside!

    Nemesys Nexus

    February 2, 2013 at 12:33 am

    • You’re younger than I. Hell, we didn’t even have COMPUTERS!! I graduated high school probably before you were born: 1975. What wasn’t said or done at school had to wait til the next day, typically.

      Ron Kemp

      February 2, 2013 at 12:36 am

      • Half of the adults these days are kids themself. They are kids raising kids, which leads to no discipline, morals, manners.etc…..

        CC

        February 2, 2013 at 5:38 am

    • Bullies don’t have balls, they’re cowards that rule with fear and control. Like rapists.

      Kathy D'Alelio

      February 2, 2013 at 3:10 am

  2. Bullying in any form, under any circumstances is wrong, and should be dealt with in the harshest manner possible. These sweet children didn’t deserve this, didn’t deserve to have their lives turned into such hell that they felt that this was the only way out.

    Trapper

    February 2, 2013 at 12:38 am

  3. Wow. As always, very well written. This is a shame, a disgusting thing to happen. 11 years old, her life was just beginning.

    Marlene Elena Sangalang

    February 2, 2013 at 12:51 am

  4. She should have been homeschooled or put in a different school district. The system is always going to fail these kids because it keeps happening and the bullies get away with it. If the schools cannot properly monitor children/bullies/fighting/drugs then they should not be operating. There should be investigations on any allegations of a kid being bullied and those who are doing it should be out of school until it is resolved. There are a lot of things that can be changed in order to provide kids with a safe and caring environment where they can get an education without fear of being hurt by those around them, including the teachers!

    Bobbi

    February 2, 2013 at 1:22 am

    • I go to school with Haileys older sisters, you don’t know what happened. They did try to home school her, they did try to move her school, but the rest of the schools around us she had to be accepted to because she didn’t live in their district. Hailey didn’t want to be homeschooled because she would be left alone all day because her parents work. She was scared and if you would of read it said that it didn’t happen AT school, they changed her bus route, the bullying wouldn’t of stopped if they would of moved her, or homeschooled her because it was online and around town. She couldn’t even go to the park or the pool her two favorite places without being bullied. So before you say they should of moved her or homeschooled her read the article better it said it didn’t happen at school.

      Harmonie

      January 29, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      • And there was nothing the school system could do! It was all online they moved her bus route and it stopped. The school systems can’t control what happens online or outside of school

        Harmonie

        January 29, 2014 at 3:09 pm

  5. My heart bleeds for Hailey’s family. At age 11, I could have been Hailey. The difference between her and I is that I was scared to take my life. I’m not saying that what she did was right, but that I understand why she did it. I agree that we somehow have to get through to EVERYONE, not just children, that bullying is NOT ACCEPTABLE. EVER. And verbal ( or virtual ) bullying should be punishable in the same way that a physical attack is punishable.

    Audra Grosso

    February 2, 2013 at 1:34 am

  6. They should nail the “adult” bully to the proverbial wall, both civil and criminal.

    Nicole Malinowski

    February 2, 2013 at 1:40 am

    • My exact feeling.

      Carol Ranney

      February 2, 2013 at 2:58 am

    • yes absolutely, maybe if adults had consequences for this kind of immature behaviour the kids would start seeing the light….however, many adults now act like they are still in high school themselves….I’m 51 and most days feel like I’m some ancient crone harping the same old line, “back in my day this didn’t happen”

      Elizabeth Ann Tate

      February 2, 2013 at 4:54 am

  7. I love your commentary on this problem that is costing kids their life, or making every day of their life filled w/ anxiety and hurt!! When I mentioned some mean behavior my 9 yo daughter was experiencing to the teacher her immediately reply was “maybe it’s her perception!” When I emailed one of the mother’s I got ” this is the age girls are snotty to each other…don’t know what more I can do short of keeping her home from school or cheerleading.” She didn’t say “thanks for bringing this to my attention,” “please let me know if it continues,” nothing indicative of a SINCERE interest in working together. Adults and teachers MUST do more!!!

    Donna

    February 2, 2013 at 3:02 am

  8. I’m younger than you and I agree with that paragraph you put in quotation marks… tech has made bullying so much worse than it was when my parents were my age.

    yawriterinthemaking

    February 2, 2013 at 4:07 am

  9. WE WILL PRAY FOR YOU &YOUR FAMILY …..WE ARE SO SO VERY SORRY AND WE LOVE YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH.

    Janelle Grandmaison

    February 2, 2013 at 4:44 am

    • No one should find there child hanging in her bedroom.an 11 year old child should be playing with barbies,riding her bike going to sleep overs ect.An 11 year child should never entertain the thought of suicide.,I have known Hailys mother since she was a child she baby sitted my children,I know she done every thing possible to pro tect her child.I think it the parents fault. when it is brought to your attention that your child is bullying you need to do whatever it talkes to put at stop to it.In theses days parents are so busy with work and so forth that these kinds of things are overlooked,worse so the parent will make excuses for there child

      Holly ollerdisse

      February 2, 2013 at 11:36 am

  10. We were taught as kids, sticks and stones make brake your bones, but names will never hurt us… But this is proof that statement was wrong… Who has the right to make fun of anyone? Let alone an adult who should know better… The world needs to wake up and listen to themselves… May you find peace in your heart, no one can hurt your little girl again… I am so very sorry for your pain…

    Sharon Haldeman

    February 2, 2013 at 11:15 am

  11. Make it a felony for adults and juvenile detention for children through age 17. They will learn what bullying is. Parents who do nothing about it can pay the govt. for their juvenile child bullying educational exprrience.

    J. Caruso

    February 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm

  12. It has been my avid experience, that as adults, these things mean nothing. Over 50% of the US are not only uneducated fools, but they’re also inclined to act like it. They are -not- nice, they are -not- intelligent, and some of them have an unfortunate charisma about them that leads others into the same ruthlessness as they themselves seem to preform. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I agree with you. As adults we should know better. The sad fact is, we don’t even realize the rest of the world is laughing at us, we’re so stuck up and into our entertainment. Australia has it best I think. They have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to bullying. Like, seriously, -no tolerance-. Police at your door no-tolerance. I think the only way these people are going to learn, is if they’re properly punished for doing an action they clearly know is wrong. As you said, the entire reason they keep doing it is because A) They see others do it (Monkey see, monkey do, another sign of intellectual decline as a people) and B) NOBODY PUNISHES THEM. My high school life was -disgusting-. People put gum in my hair, beat the living hell out of me for being the fat kid, threw ice packed snow balls, pieces of glass, pens, rocks, called me Bertha. I couldn’t work out, everytime they’d see me jog they’d scream “STAMPEDE” or whenever I rode my bike they’d call it the twinkie mobile, kick me down and then beat me up. At school, on the bus, on my way walking home, it never ended. And you know what? That “suck it up” attitude is a bunch of bullshit. The -only- reason I’m still alive right now isn’t because I “sucked it up”. It’s because I kept hope alive that I’d one day leave this god forsaken trash heap of a country and go somewhere more suited to me. I realize everywhere has it’s problems, but clearly it -is- better in some places. And right now, as an adult, I still want to get the hell out of here, because I can never find a job. So you know what? This place is never going to fix itself. And if it does, it’s going to take about 30-40 years to do it, assuming some other hick jackass who can’t even make proper speeches doesn’t keep messing it up. So I’m done. I’m done with this place. And my heart goes out to that little girl. She was pretty, and she seemed lively. She didn’t deserve this crap, and I swear to god, had I been there, I really wouldn’t give a shit about dragging those little assholes back to their parents and calling the cops. As useful as they are. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Liam Lowenthal

    February 2, 2013 at 5:08 pm

  13. Reblogged this on Dying to Bear Fruit.

    pjclutterbuck

    February 3, 2013 at 12:17 am

    • I have known her mother for 28 years she is a great mother who tried to keep her babies safe and by the acts of others he was unable to do so my heart is sad to know that a grown woman could play a part into this or even a parent could let there children act this way to others I would never want any of my kids to ever feel as they weren’t safe to go to the bus stop or School I don’t know all I can say is pray this stops before this happens to others

      mary

      February 3, 2013 at 3:48 am

  14. I’m 12 almost 13.
    I get bullied every single day. It’s 24/7, all the time and it sucks!
    I’ve personally tried suicide 5 times, all different ways. Just because of bullying, when people tell me to ” suck it up” it hurts a lot. So I love your response to the post it is the best Damn thing I’vs heard in along time. Just because people say children are going ” soft ” doesn’t mean we are, they just need to pull their head out of their ass and look and see what the Fuck is going on around them.

    Jade M.

    February 3, 2013 at 9:24 am

    • I think at 12 almost 13 it might be nice if you found a better form of words to use.

      Lisa

      April 20, 2013 at 7:51 am

  15. they had internet when I was in school, back then, it was myspace. Yes I got picked on and bullied. I am still alive, and better for it. I cant tell you what made tge difference, maybe it was knowing that moping, and a woe is me attitude wasn’t going to get me attention. Maybe its because at 13 I was babysitting my siblings full time, so I didnt have time to give a sh** what people thought/said….. Maybe its because my parents taught me better than to rely on what others thought about me for self esteem. I dont know. What I DO know that this is certainly a tragedy, but I think its a combination of problems. Theres 0 accountability, its percieved as cool, and we are allowing our children to sit on computers, and cell phones, without teaching them that they are beautiful the way they are. We let them come to the conclusion that others opinions really matter. And we fail to teach them to brush it off and stand up for themselves. Its, oh youre being bullied? Mommys gonna talk to Johnnys mommy. And yes, parents SHOULD be getting involved. But when johnnys mom does squat about it, its time for suzie to be taught that A. It doesnt matter what johnny says and B. If you have to, fight back………. Yes, hold the bullies accountable by all means. but stop allowing yourself/your kids to play victim as well. Disconnect the damn computer, throw out the cell phone, and remember to teach your kid self esteem. I got through middle and highschool with one simple quote. “no one can make you feel inferior with out your consent”. Yes, they can say what they want. But you can also ignore it. It was in my face,. Almost everywhere I turned in 7th grade. And I would turn up my headphones, and ignore them. Id get home from school, and check myspace, I found anything bothersome, I clicked delete, and get off the computer,.and spend time with my sisters. It sooner comes to an end, at least lessens, when they realize theyre not getting to you. It fuels the fire when you show them a reaction.

    Cantgetmedown

    February 4, 2013 at 5:37 pm

  16. This is a tragedy and so very sad. And you are so correct that this is an issue that is so criminal and we as a society need to deal with it more stringently and collectively. Bullying is criminal and should be treated as such. We deal with this every day on our youth crisis chat site (youthspace.ca) and it just breaks the heart.

    Christopher Holt

    February 4, 2013 at 8:28 pm

  17. We need to take a stand against this tragedy. Hailey was my second cousin and we had a very strong bond. She had a beautiful spirit and will be sorrowly missed.
    Rest in Peace, Hailey, We love you!

    Jeramiah House

    June 5, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    • I am so sorry for the loss of such a Bright soul. Love, blessings and hope to you and your family.

      Beni

      July 27, 2013 at 2:51 am

  18. the school did nothing and are not proactive so whoever wrote this is writing false infromation….

    melinda groce

    July 2, 2013 at 1:17 am

  19. So, I’m 17. Seven-Teen. I’m barely 6 years older then this girl. I’ve grown Up in this Cyber-age. And you know what? I’ve been bullied, since Preschool. Every year, there’s always AT LEAST one bully, and usually many more. I’m going to be a high school Senior. And I expect the same, because I’ve come to expect it.

    Its funny – Up until middle school, all the bullying was the “typical school yard stuff” like being pushed around, having stuff taken from my desk or cubby, name called and what-have-you. But in middle school, when us Preteens-teens discovered the potential of social networking (facebook and twitter mainly) or texting as a way to extend bullying beyond the classroom, my life became HELL. Rumors floated throughout the school that started Online and EVERYONE knew about but me (i didn’t even text really until freshman year or use social networking till my sophomore year of high school!!). Pictures I didn’t even know were taken got posted online with horrible comments or captions, and that was all on top of the crap I got at school. Freshman year I faced sexual harrassment not only in person in Gym, but also online. (my school administration went ballistic against the offenders thank goodness).

    It’s not that we Kids today are any weaker then you were! WE ARE NOT WEAK, So Do NOT dare to say that!! I am BEYOND sick of hearing that about myself and others! –> Its that WE NEVER, NEVER GET A BREAK FROM THE TORMENT AND THE HATRED AND THE BIGOTRY. I used to Cut, and I am now proudly SIX YEARS CLEAN. I have been SUICIDAL because of all this stuff, and I haven’t even added in the verbal abuse I face at home or the strain from my parents divorce, or my PTSD. I have and am being treated for Depression and SPD – severe panic/anxiety disorder.

    I am lucky to be here – if certain people hadn’t intervened I don’t honestly know if I would be.

    I am a Kinky, Pansexual Young Woman who has been through the 9 Rings of Hell mentally, emotionally And spiritually, and I stand before you all today Alive, Proud of who I am, and Fighting for my dreams and for the kids who are still stuck in their own personal Hells.

    Sadly, Hailey chose to end her life and grow her wings. My prayers are with her family and may her spirit rest in peace. Blessed may she be now.

    Beni

    July 27, 2013 at 2:45 am

    • I totally didn’t make it clear in my comment that i’m responding in part to those mentioned above that say its just us nowadays who are weaker, or that its just normal. I’m not trying to be an angsty brat and just totally made myself sound awful.

      May Hailey rest in Peace.

      Beni

      July 27, 2013 at 2:55 am

    • i agree and rest in pease your the thered bulling couseed death iv haered of just rest in pease

      someone speacel

      October 29, 2013 at 1:43 pm

  20. I was bullied all through school and became agoraphobic for a few years after school because of it. I developed Borderline Personality Disorder because of the bullying. 10% of people with BPD commit suicide. 75% attempt it at least once. Many self-harm. Many are misdiagnosed for years or even decades as just having depression. I’m 45 years old and it still affects me to this day.

    Joyce

    January 29, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    • It’s a shame that people still minimize the long-term effects bullying causes. I hope you are well, Joyce

      Ron Kemp

      January 29, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      • I am doing pretty well at the moment. Thank you.

        Joyce

        January 29, 2014 at 9:54 pm

  21. I really miss my baby cousin she was the best. I really really really wish people didn’t bully kids because my cousin the sweetist girl ever killed herself because of a few kids who made fun of her. I love and miss you hailey

    Sierra

    June 11, 2014 at 3:51 am

  22. ❤ continue to rest easy beautiful!

    Amanda Perry

    February 3, 2016 at 3:53 am


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