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

Joshua James Maddox, 15: Bullying Leads to Suicide in the U.K.

with 6 comments

Bullying, and bully-related suicide, isn’t restricted to the U.S. borders.  It’s happening worldwide.  The stories and the circumstances really don’t vary that much:  one or more misguided kid dealing with his or her own self-esteem issues, or just trying to fit in, verbally, emotionally, or sometimes physically abuses one of their peers to the point where that peer can’t take anymore and ends his/her life.  Add to that, the “official” response to it is also quite universal…to the point of frustration.joshua maddox2Joshua James Maddox was a month away from celebrating his 16th birthday.  He apparently dealt with Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder for which he “suffered months of cruel taunts from classmates“.  He also had a girlfriend who was two years younger than himself, for which he was labeled and “paedo” and, again, taunted brutally.

The list continues to grow.

We’re no closer to a solution today than we were last year at this time.

I woke up earlier this week to a voicemail from a distraught, tearful mother who had just lost her young son to yet another bully-related suicide.  It was heartbreaking to hear the depth of her pain.  Through my own tears, I was reminded how real this is and how devastated families are following these tragedies.  I was reminded that we need to be doing much, much more to prevent this from continuing to happen.joshua maddox3

Here’s the deal:  this is not going to get any better until we truly reach the point where we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! and truly mean it.  It’s that simple.  Parents of the bullies must be held accountable for their kids actions, especially when their child’s actions lead to the death of another child.  The bullies, themselves, must be held accountable, especially when their actions lead to the death of another person.  The school “officials” absolutely must be held accountable when they fail to take action to prevent bullying to continue to fester in their classrooms and schools.  The only way out of this is total accountability!  As long as no one has to answer for these life-changing tragedies, they are going to continue to happen.

I want young people to see what effect bullying can have and educate them better about how to deal with children who have mental health issues.

I think bullies need a stronger punishment, I feel deep down that nothing will be done about this and I worry it could happen to another family.

Those are the words of Joshua’s heartbroken mother, but they could be the words of many, many other mothers, and fathers, of past suicide victims whose child had endured insufferable bullying.  They are also the words that are now being echoed around this country and around the world.  There HAS to be accountability!!!

It’s becoming increasingly hard for me to believe anything other than the fact that these bullies simply do not care about human life.  They have no regards for the lives of others.  Bullying and bully-related suicides are in the news with such regularity, the only way to not know what’s going on is to live with your head tucked safely in a place where the sun doesn’t typically reach. joshua maddox

There are still those who say that these young bullies should face no punishment, that they should not be held accountable when their actions lead directly to one of their schoolmates ends his/her life.  There are still those who say that we need to coddle the bullies because they are dealing with issues, themselves.  To those people, I will simply say tell that to some of these parents who are now left with unfathomable grief, with a gaping hole right in the middle of their hearts and lives, for the rest of their lives!!   Explain to the grieving mother who just told me, through tears, that she just wants to hear her son sing again that his bullies shouldn’t be held accountable.  Tell Joshua’s parents that the bullies who tormented her son because he had ADHD and a girlfriend 2 years younger than himself that no one should be held accountable for her having to live the rest of her life without her talented son.  You can’t.  And, you know why you can’t?  Easy answer.  You can’t because you’re speaking theoretically.  You would have a much different point of view if this were your own child or someone close to your life.  Then, you, too, would want to see heads roll.  There has to be accountability.  Anything less than that, and we’re sending the message that these young lives are expendable.  They’re certainly not.

The “Sweet 16th” birthday is a milestone that Joshua Maddox won’t get to experience.  How much longer are we going to allow this to continue before we finally mean it when we say enough is enough!!!???

Rest in peace, Joshua.

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6 Responses

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  1. This is another otrocity looking a child because other children have no boundaries, limits, feel no remorse to inflicting continous pain upon someone else. Who is responsible and accountable for the acts of a juvenile who causes harm, that pushes another over the edge. A juvenile’s acts are placed in the accountability of their parents. This is totally inexcusable!!!!

    Cynthia Herring

    February 14, 2013 at 1:12 am

  2. i agree totally with joshua mother. its time to to many take action against these bullies. they must be held responsibe for their actions including parentd,teachers and bus drivers. i have seen to many young children kill themselfs. its time to stand up and stop teen age suicide

    larry fletcher

    February 14, 2013 at 1:22 am

    • i was a school bus driver and i had young people like Joshua and some who where handy cap and there where some of the kids that i would hear call normel . but they all got treeted the same if one of them got out of line i would give them one chanch .they new that i would not but up with a bully or bulling some
      of them i would say to them if they did not stop i would bring them back to the school and there mother
      or father can come and get them . i had one young say you would dare lets just say that was not a happy young man


      February 14, 2013 at 3:41 am

  3. This could so easily have been my own son. He also has ADHD and suffered severe verbal, emotional and physical bullying over a sustained period of time at senior school in the UK (aged 11 to 14 and a half). The last straw was when another pupil told him to leave an after school class he was attending because he was in the talented and gifted group and expected to get 14 GCSEs on threat of having an axe to the head. I still hvae a file 3 inches thick of letters and minutes of meetings between myself, the school, the board of governors and the local education authority. They were totally unable and seemed equally unwilling to protect him during the entire period. I pulled him out of school and I believe it saved his life. My thoughts are with the families who were not so lucky xxx


    February 14, 2013 at 1:35 am

  4. I’m so sorry to hear of yet another young person who was bullied feeling there was no other way but suicide. My thoughts and sympathy go to the families of all these teens. I was bullied very badly at school simply due to my weight ( I was very overweight). One bully has since talked to me through facebook and said she was going through bad things at home and took it out on me. I stongly feel these bullies should be made to realise what they do to others, and face the consequences, before more teens who are being bullied feel there is no other way out. However, I must say that some adults are just as bad at bullying – I am still overweight – and I have stupid comments shouted at me in the street. I now just say ” can’t you think of anything original to say – I’ve only heard that one a couple of hundred times” .
    Hoping the families of anyone being bullied and feeling there wasn’t any other way out find some comfort and peace in time.

    Laura Osborne

    February 14, 2013 at 10:38 am



    July 20, 2015 at 12:53 am

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