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

Miguel Rodriguez, 12: Documented Bullying Leads to Suicide

with 15 comments


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-rodriguezMiguel 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-Rodriguez-25Miguel 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.

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15 Responses

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  1. Too many kids in too many schools are suffering while administrators shrug it off. My son suffered the same fate, and teachers did nothing to stop the violence, until it was too late. Thanks for adding your voice to the cause, nobody should have to bury their child because schools are staffed by the gutless and lazy.

  2. Since this mother has documentation I hope she takes the school and the people involved to court and wins a shit load of money. I am sure she would rather have Miguel but something must be done. There is supposed to be a zero tolerence of bullying in schools across the nation. It seems though that there is zero tolerence for anyone complaining of being bullied.

    Dave S

    February 21, 2013 at 2:18 am

  3. i agree ive seen to many young kids die. its time to hold bullies and teachers responsible for their actions

    larry fletcher

    February 21, 2013 at 2:19 am

  4. Im a school board member here in NH. If this my school district, I would FIRE that administration, and do what i could to press them all with murder charges. Please let me know who to contact the School Board there so that I can find out why they did nothing about this before it came to this. I hope they all feel guilty and rot in hell!!

    Brian S Boynton

    February 21, 2013 at 2:52 am

  5. This mother did everything right. I cannot same the same for the teachers and people in authority. I’m appalled and disgusted. I’ve been through it with my own son. I’m sick of this happening repeatedly. I agree with Dave S – I hope they are sued, and I’m not into that sort of thing ordinarily. I believe this course of action will help them take it seriously. Something has to change, and being liable and hit in the hip pocket is usually what makes change occur in these ‘if there are more than one person involved then no one is to blame’ uncaring bureaucrats mindset..

    Karen

    February 21, 2013 at 3:56 am

  6. This bullshit needs to stop! Anti bullying behavior starts with us, the parents! Our children are being sent to school to get educated yet at home they are being taught nothing but ignorance directly resulting in the suicide of our very own queer youth!

    Al Ramirez

    February 21, 2013 at 4:35 am

  7. The Office of Civil Rights lets gay-bashing Flagler, Florida school administrators off the hook
    http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2012/04/22/the-office-of-civil-rights-lets-gay-bashing-flagler-florida-school-administrators-off-the-hook/

    Scott Rose

    February 21, 2013 at 4:58 am

  8. Only 12 years old. Ugh. Makes my stomach turn. The major shining beacon, though, is the mother. She’s wonderful but think of all the other parents who, at best, would have reacted just as the school did, and, at worst, by also abusing the child. I work in child protection. A child abused at home can easily become a target at school – and just as easily become a bully. Bullies and bullied both need help and both, along with parents, schools and peers need to be the focus of intervention and prevention. As for suing the school – absolutely but make it absolutely clear that it’s for specific, measurable, concrete actions the school will take to prevent this from happening again – and not with zero tolerance policies that transfer bullies ( and self-defending bullied) elsewhere leaving a false harmony at the original school. Help the bully, the bullied and their peers and witnesses to understand the ramifications, their motivations, develop better ways of (re)acting – and do it on the spot, at the time. I’ve included a link to a page where I keep my social work archives which include some (not enough) info on bullying, suicide, parenting, school safety and more. Oh, and btw, child protection has put safety of children as our #1 priority. You can’t accomplish anything else if you don’t feel safe – and this includes learning in school. Safety first. You can’t teach a dead child. Lastly, if she sues the school, don’t let them try to win sympathy about how a large settlement or award is only going to hurt the remaining students who’ll have fewer resources. No, they have insurance for things like this – and even if they didn’t and went bankrupt, let the state or a charter come in and see if they can do better. How many of these mass (and not so mass) shooters have been bullied? All of them. And by the way, girls bully too, it’s just less visible, but the consequences are no less deadly or traumatizing. Not One More!

    Ricomo

    February 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    • It looks like the URLs we put in the appropriate space on the form don’t get published so hopefully they’ll allow for it here: http://bit.ly/15xOvmi Thanks.

      Ricomo

      February 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    • There have always been bullies . I was bullied but fortunately for me, I was strong enough to stand up to them. Bullying in my time was never as bad as it is now. Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Police & Kids themselves need to fight this horrible crime. Yes it is a crime! This is a crime against a Human being, not a building, I agree that the Bully needs to have understanding and treatment as well as the bullied. Once everyone is on the same page things will change. Parents need to realize that “little Johnny” isn’t just saying the odd “not nice” thing to others. He is terrifying a helpless Person. The other (innocent bystanders) need to realize that if they tell on the Bully they will not be the next victim. There are far too many incidents leading to the death of a child who had a really good shot at growing up & being a very good Person in the Community.
      I have run into Adults who were bullies when they were younger & have since made amends with their victims. Now, today the victim is not living long enough to grow up. Please ,everyone band together and help save these beautiful “Children of God” no matter what their skin colour, ethnic background, or race. We all want the same things in life. We want to LIVE in Peace the way we were meant to be. We want to have a place to live, food for our bellies, water, & heat. Best of all we want our “Children to be Safe, heathy, & happy. God Bless them one & All.

      Susan

      February 27, 2013 at 6:49 pm

  9. […] Miguel Rodriguez, 12: Documented Bullying Leads to Suicide (ronskemp.wordpress.com) […]

  10. […] Miguel Rodriguez, 12: Documented Bullying Leads to Suicide (ronskemp.wordpress.com) […]

  11. […] Miguel Rodriguez, 12: Documented Bullying Leads to Suicide (ronskemp.wordpress.com) […]

  12. Share therapeutic process for suicide prevention, etc.
    “One example of the principles and practice of Self Help”
    “ The Therapeutic Process “
    ( especially for the family members of those who are lost at sea )
    + Regarding Reoccurring Negative Dreams & flashbacks.

    EXAMPLE

    A father and son, living on the West coast of Canada ( in the Vancouver area ), loved to go sailing between the mainland and Vancouver Island. The father, over the years, had
    upgraded from a small boat to a larger sail boat and the son was intending to follow his example, but, at the time of this example the son only had a small boat.

    One day the son want for a sail in his boat and a major storm came up which caused his boat to capsize. The son drowned on that day and his body was never recovered.

    As result, the father kept having a reoccurring dream regarding the loss of his son and the lack of closure. ( no funeral for closure because the son’s body was never recovered )

    In the dream the father would go out in his sail boat to where his son had drowned and he would dive over the side and swim down to the bottom. When he would get to the bottom he would find a treasure chest and when he opened it up it would, always, be empty.
    ( it can be said that the father treasured his son )

    At that time, I was a co-facilitator of a therapeutic group in which the father ( as a participant ) told the story of his reoccurring dream and to address the problem the following potential solution was proposed to him.

    Write up his story including his emotions, feelings, appreciations, anger, resentments, positives and negatives of the relationship with his son and with his death, etc.
    Buy a small tree ( hopefully his son’s favourite kind of tree).
    Take the write up, the tree and some pictures of his son ( + small personal objects / reminders of his son ) and take them to his son’s favourite place.

    NOTE: His son’s favourite place was up on a forested knoll over looking Horse Shoe Bay on the North Shore of Vancouver where he could see the marina that he and his father used to dock their sail boats.

    The father was to take the write up, the tree, the pictures and the personal
    objects to the knoll.
    Dig a hole for the tree / then read the write up ALOUD..
    Set fire to the papers ( write up ) pictures and personal items.
    Let the smoke go up into the air, the ashes and personal items fall into the hole.
    Plant the tree over them. ( burying them and the problem in order to gain closure )

    The father never had the reoccurring dream again…

    NOTE: People and their family members can, by using these principles and practices, gain closure in relation to various kinds of personal and family issues = re: the loss of a loved one, abuse, addiction, PTSD = reoccurring dreams / flashbacks, suicide prevention, anger management, beginnings and endings, unfinished business, closure, etc.

    Some guidelines:

    Use your own imagination and creativity when you apply
    these principles and practices to your own personal and family issues.
    This can be done alone and/or with others who can appreciate their attendance
    and find value in the process.

    NOTE: This therapeutic process can stand alone and/or be an addition to
    existing individual or group therapy programs.

    Helpful hints:

    1. You can bury and get over your own personal / family issues and start an anger free life.
    2. Planting ( a living memorial, a bush, shrub or a crop ) represents hope for the future.
    3. “The obstacles in life, often, become precisely what is required”…

    Warm Regards: to the family members of those who are lost at sea
    ( past, present and future ).

    Author James L. Halstrum ( The Stone Shadow )
    P.O.Box1326 Montague, PEI C0A-1R0
    natvspol@gmail.com
    http://www.facebook.com/james.halstrum1
    Phone / FAX: 902-838-2218

    James Halstrum

    March 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm

  13. During my three years of hell, there were times, I thought about suicide, fortunately I didn’t. Instead I wrote a book about it but I agree, there is too much hand wringing and not enough action to combat bullying.

    80smetalman

    July 14, 2015 at 8:14 pm


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