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

Nigel Hardy, 13, Bully-related Suicide

with 10 comments


Even though you haven’t been reading about them here over the past month, the teen suicides – LGBT and straight, alike – have been steadily mounting.  And, even now, with the news of the Boston Marathon bombing dominating the news (and, rightfully so), the teen suicides continue.  What really gets under my skin is how little attention these tragic events get even as the death toll continues to climb. I’ve said it before, and it’s worth saying again and again:  it’s as if these young people’s lives are expendable.  They.  Are.  Not.nigel hardyYesterday, April 15th, 13-year-old Nigel Hardy was reported missing after being suspended from school for defending himself in school against bullies.  Seeing that news circulate on facebook made me nervous, at best.  Fear of the worst set in quickly.  Word spread very quickly in Palmdale, where he lived and went to school.  His father found a suicide note in his bedroom Monday morning and then noticed his handgun was missing.  The school Nigel attended, Hillview Middle School, was placed on “heightened awareness”, basically lockdown.  Monday night, Nigel was found.  Shortly after, he was pronounced dead at an Antelope Valley hospital.

Nigel, who turned 13 only last Thursday, April 11th, was a cheerleader at his middle school.  Apparently, that led to his being bullied. Various news reports say that he had gotten in a fight with his bully, or bullies, and that led to him being suspended.  He became despondent over that.  Now, he’s gone.Nigel Hardy2Where does this end?  When do we seriously and honestly reach the point where we’ve seen enough carnage and devastation that comes with these teen suicides and their aftermath?  When do we stop making excuses for the ones responsible for pushing these young people to the edge and start holding them accountable?  When is enough truly enough?  I don’t think anyone can answer that, and that’s what has become overwhelmingly frustrating for me.  No one has any answers!!  No one has any solutions!!  And, to add insult to injury, our government officials are paying attention to any- and everything but the fact that bullying and the related teen suicides have reached epidemic proportions.  Instead, we’re continuously dished the same, tired rhetorical responses.  We’re still getting the “boys will be boys”, “kids will be kids” spiel that we’ve been hearing for far too long, now.  Nigel’s suicide is not the first one where the person(s) involved in the bullying are known.  What is being done about the fact that their actions cost another teenager his life!!??

Here in Maryland last year, there was a horrific traffic accident involving four young people who were best of friends.  They’d been partying, and the driver certainly should not have been driving.  Three of them died in the accident.  The driver survived.  He’s now serving a lengthy prison sentence for his actions.  Why?  Because his actions led to the deaths of his three friends. He was held accountable.  These young people who terrorize their schoolmates, or sometimes even strangers online!, to the point where the victim ends their lives get nothing!  There is zero accountability!!  And, that, as much as anything, is a major part of the problem.  As long as they know they can continue to do this without any risk of repercussion, they will continue.  Not only that, but their actions will continue to escalate.  It’s really just that simple.

Sure, there are those who believe that the best way to deal with this is to also “treat” the bully(s).  As one person on the facebook blog page commented last week:

Bullies have a Reason for the way the act so I felt sorry for them

We agreed, ahem, to disagree.  I do understand that these menaces have issues going on in their own lives that causes them to do the things they do.  In many, if not most!, cases, it’s a very bad living condition at home.  That’s a whole different issue for another time.  And, I’m all for getting them the help they need to become better, more productive, and less menacing people.  That is, when there isn’t a death attached to their name and their actions.  Understand this:  it is 2013.  The “Information Age” is maturing.  There is 100% absolutely NO WAY that Nigel Hardy’s bullies didn’t know that there are teens committing suicide NEARLY EVERYDAY!!, and bullying is often the root of it!!  NO.  WAY.  They KNOW this is happening!  It’s impossible for them to NOT know.  Period.  Accept that.  It’s impossible for these kids to NOT know that their actions could very well lead to yet another suicide.  We’ve MUST understand and accept this reality!  And, the reason why it’s so vital that we, as adults, come to this understanding of what really going on is because, once we accept the reality that they KNOW what they’re doing could very well lead to yet another suicide, we can accept the reality that they absolutely must be held accountable for their actions.  Anything less than that, and we’re only fooling ourselves.  These young people are telling us, as loudly as they can, that they don’t care if their victim kills themselves!!  In some cases, they even TELL the victim to “go kill yourself”, “nobody would care if you died”, and worse.  How can we NOT hold them accountable for their actions!  How can we even dream of coddling the perpetrators when there is a devastated, grieving family who will never, ever have their young, loved one to coddle anymore?  How is that even justifiable?  It’s not.

This has gone much, much too far.  The time has long since passed for us to take some serious action that will prevent this from continuing to happen.  As loudly as people are shouting for marriage equality, so, too, should the voices be raised for our school officials, our law enforcement agencies, and our lawmakers to get off their collective asses and start making some real changes in policies that will prevent these teen suicides to continue to mount.  Anything less, and we’re only spinning our wheels as yet another family mourns.Nigel collageWe’ll never know how brightly Nigel’s star would’ve shone.  Rest in peace, young man.

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10 Responses

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  1. The bullies can get the treatment they need in prison. Sometimes that’s the only wake-up call they hear. What about a petition on change.org? It would take some thought about exactly what to say and who to direct it to, but it is a way to get collective voices heard.

    Carol

    April 17, 2013 at 6:28 am

    • We’ve always thought a lot alike, Carol. I like that idea. You’re right, though: who would it be directed to?

      Ron Kemp

      April 17, 2013 at 6:33 am

      • change.org is a great idea. But here is another thing parents can do. Most schools have camera’s, most students have cell phones, most buses have video cameras. “I have been dealing with my child being bullied.” I talked with LAW ENFORCEMENT. They advised me to have my child:

        1. Report to the office immediately!
        *(And I have my child text/call me, *immediately*) Contact the school immediately and make sure they know you are aware of the event that just happened!
        Result: Now, you have the exact time and location the event occurred; this also allows the child to recall who else “witnessed the event.”

        *(I tend to show up in person, unexpected)* After a few times the school recognizes your pattern and they step up their game in protecting your child! I now get a phone call before my child even has a chance to tell me what happened!!*

        2. The office has the ability to access the video to see what happened. Request to see the incident on the video!
        *The school denies the video, then have the police request it! If you get to see it for yourself, go to the police and make a report and have it investigated!

        Result: documentation begins, school can’t continue to hide anything, law enforcement “begins” to get involved and the investigation begins.

        3. You keep records of every event, phone call, text, etc. Don’t leave out the names of the bullies, the date, the time of the day, the act that took place, who else was around, who you contacted, physical visits, phone records, what type of punishment the bullies will receive (according to the school), even request to have a meeting at the school with the school counselor, principal, and any teachers, students, (witness’s), and the bullies parents, (leave the children at home), etc.. DOCUMENT it all! Keep a journal!
        School’s deny this last request most of the time! But you keep your documentation of the request and their denial of it, so you can have proof, for police, etc….

        Now you have witness’s on video, you have the crime on video, you have the bullies on video, you have your child on video reporting the incidence, you have your journal. Now go after the bullies, the parents, the school, everyone you can. Get restraining orders. Press assault charges!

        Force the school and law enforcement to see the problem!! Once you do all this they can’t make it disappear! And your journal is the documentation the school is going to pretend never happened. But, now you have the exact times and dates, along with eye witness’s, as to the exact location and time your child was victimized!

        Hopefully you are able to get the bullying under control in a quick manner this way. Also, if your child is being bullied you can have it noted through their pediatricians and primary care doctors. It is good to get your child into counseling so that they can rebuild their self-esteem and talk about things, plus a professional is watching for signs, that may develop because of the bullying, (which might just save a child’s life). This is also another way to document what schools pretend never happened!

        Yes, this is a lot of work. It takes a lot of dedication! But isn’t every child’s life worth every second!

        Concerned Parent

        October 25, 2013 at 8:09 am

  2. Very good article, Ron. A few days ago here in Canada, our Prime Minister stood before the cameras and stated they will be looking into making some changes, that bullying is criminal behaviour and should be treated as such. Go right to the top!

    tinamichett

    April 17, 2013 at 9:42 am

  3. I get that bullies are angry people. I get that they are transferring hate on innocent peers. I even get that they up the ante when they group together and their humanitarianism is lost in the rind as they attack, repeatedly.

    Group mentality has always been destructive or the opposite, (made peace) There seems no other way but to create laws that punish the offenders, whether they uses guns or words. This could rescue the victims and the offenders. Suicide is an epidemic today, and has reached a place on the list of, “Cause of Death” It is now the 3rd cause of death among teens.

    The fallout of suicide has effected more than one million people in the world today. Suicide doesn’t discriminate. It touches the lives of people of all ages. Elderlies, poor, vets, celebrities, successful men and woman, wealthy, addicts, children and victims of bullying.

    We need a platform for suicide. The stigma is old and worn. There is no shame in the suicidal feelings people have, and there is no shame in the wake of suicide.

    Because we cannot undo the deaths of suicide victims, we must work on a way to prevent any more deaths. We must stop treating it like a secret. We must raise the upcoming generation to speak of it. If we treat it like a secret, so will they, and we will lose more kids.

    I am the author of a book titled: WHY WHISPER? This books speaks to suicide, depression, grief and healing. It carries a message to those who survived suicide, grieve the suicide of a loved one, and gives hope where there is none. To those who believe their lives are not valuable, it tells them that they are mistaken.

    http://www.whywhisper.net

    All my love,
    Joanne Mazzotta

    Joanne Mazzotta

    April 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

  4. Interesting post. Thank you Ron.
    Many youngsters do not think of the consequences of their actions, because WE grownups, action heroes, politicians, bankers and parents alike, demonstrate to them on daily bases that there are no consequences to be paid by the ruthless, rich and famous. Kill your husband and blame your PMS. Kill your friend and blame it on PTSD. *Extremely sarcastic voice* Excuses over excuses giving scientific names to simply rude and nasty behaviour! Consequences? Kids learn to become as nasty as us and blame the others! WE need to change, by taking true responsibility for our actions. By apologising when making a mistake, by telling our kids how WE felt, when bullying or being bullied. We need to start raising our kids again! Not throw them in front of the telly!

    natvalcas

    April 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

  5. […] Nigel Hardy, 13, Bully-related Suicide (ronskemp.wordpress.com) […]

  6. I feel so hot about this subject because it’s ridiculous how this is not being taken seriously enough in our schools and our communities. I am a survivor of suicide as a result of bullying, negative messages in the home, and more. We need to focus our energies on being kind to one another, to support each other and start recognizing the good in people instead of always wanting to pick on or label them. I am a speaker, author, and coach and when I talk to teens, I get so passionate about this subject, because it pisses me off how people can be so cruel. Adults are almost worse though in their manipulations and snide remarks to one another. Needs to STOP !!!!

    heatherguess

    April 19, 2013 at 4:13 am

  7. […] Nigel Hardy, 13, Bully-related Suicide (ronskemp.wordpress.com) […]


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