Miguel Rodriguez, 12: Documented Bullying Leads to Suicide
You’ve read it here many times before. The school “officials” and administrators absolutely must be held accountable in cases of bullying especially when it results in the suicide death of the one being bullied. Of course, their “out” is always, always, always, “there are no documented incidents of bullying…”. Well, now there are.Miguel Rodriquez was just 12-years-old when he ended his life. He had suffered brutal bullying from schoolmates that his mother acted upon and documented.
“My son Miguel Rodriguez is a victim of constant bullying. Since he started school at West Hernando he has been shoved from behind while on his knees, kicked in his privates, kicked in his head, name calling, constantly being hit and thrown with a full water bottle to his face. All these incidents have been reported, documented and in some cases handled.” (Hernando Today)
“Kicked in his privates”. “Kicked in his head”. “Boys will be boys”.
In a complaint filed by Miguel on Nov. 10, 2011, he writes how someone dropped a pencil, and when he went to pick it up, was kicked in the genitals by another student. He was sent to a clinic where it was determined he did not have blood in his urine, refused ice treatment, and if still in pain could have his mother pick him up.
School officials dismissed this as “horseplay”.
In another complaint filed by Miguel on Dec. 8, 2011, he writes how a rubber band was flicked at him, and when he went to pick up the rubber band, was kicked in the head by another student. Miguel was again sent to the clinic where ice was applied to his head, his mother notified, and a “head injury” form provided.
With this being a separate incident, it was shrugged off, again, as horseplay “…by two different boys”.
Another Dec. 13, 2012 statement by a guidance counselor at the school describes a verbal argument that took place between Miguel and peers, noting that Miguel’s mother would be notified should the dispute continue.
Miguel said the dispute did continue, [his mother] said, although she was never notified.
If you think this is an exception, think again. This is the rule!! This is how this instances of bullying are being handled all around the country and probably around the developed world. What makes this stand out is that Miguel’s mother has documented proof against the school officials claims of “…no incidents [of reported bullying] documented”. Miguel did what he’s been told to do when there’s bullying involved: he reported it to an adult. Miguel’s mother did everything she was supposed to do as a parent: she became rigorously involved, and she very wisely documented everything that was going on. Yet, it didn’t stop the bullying from happening. And, because it didn’t stop the bullying, it didn’t stop Miguel from ending his life.
What this finally gives us a very clear illustration of is something I, for one, have been saying for quite a while now: “they” simply don’t care about bullying!! To many, including many school officials, law enforcement officials, even parents, the “boys will be boys”, “kids will be kids” is very prevalent. With that attitude firmly entrenched in our society, it’s no wonder we’re seeing a redundancy not just in the instances of bullying but, just as importantly, the response from people who should be making a difference.
Says one member of the facebook blog page:
The way I see it, some people think that fighting it is stupid, and some say they hate bullying, but they really don’t care. We need to get more people to REALLY care.
It’s really as simple as that. Regardless of your own personal beliefs, if a child is coming to you and complaining that (s)he is being bullied, for whatever reason, that complaint needs to be taken seriously!! It needs to be taken as seriously as them telling you that one of their classmates brought a gun to school and threatened him or her. It’s that serious! Why? Because in some cases, as it was with Miguel Rodriquez, it may have well been a gun brought to school!! The results are the same. His life is still over.
Make no mistake: this type of inaction has been going on for as long as I can remember!! It’s always been much easier for these teachers, principles, law enforcement agencies to shrug it off, to look the other way, to write it off to “boys being boys”, “kids being kids”, or “horseplaying”. But, when the kid who complained ends up dead, please figure out a way to explain…not to me but to the families of these young people you failed to take seriously and protect…how that was “boys being boys”, “kids being kids”, or “horseplaying”. Said another facebook blog page member:
…sounds like one of the administrators at the high school I went to when I was attacked. She SOOO didn’t believe I was attacked when you could see the bruises already and my hair was messed up and clothes were dirty. And to top it off, they hid the truth. They covered up what happened.
There absolutely must be accountability, especially in the event of a suicide. There has to be some ramifications for parents having to live the rest of their lives with the pain of not having their son or daughter in their lives anymore because a.) their schoolmate thought it was fun or cool to verbally, emotionally, or sometimes physically abuse them to the point where they couldn’t take it anymore; and, b.) no one in a position of authority did anything to remedy the situation. There. Must. Be. Accountability.
Miguel’s mother has the documentation that proves that she did everything she was supposed to do to protect her son, and the school simply dropped the ball. My hope is that this is the starting point for the necessary change. It is also my hope that someone is held accountable for this tragedy.
Rest in peace, Miguel.
******************************SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES******************************
Written by Ron Kemp
February 21, 2013 at 2:02 am
Tagged with 12-year-old commits suicide in brooksville, Miguel Rodriquez 12-years-old, miguel rodriquez documents, Miguel Rodriquez West Hernando Middle School, was Miguel Rodriquez bullied, west hernando middle school
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