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

Posts Tagged ‘Drew Ferraro

Drew Ferraro’s Family Fights Back Against Bullying

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With the grief still raw from his suicide, the family of Drew Ferraro has decided to join the fight to end bullying.  At a memorial service held for their gone-too-soon son, they handed out business cards with Drew’s image on one side, and the numbers for suicide prevention as well as the email address for a couple of websites to stop bullying.  None of this will help bring back Drew, of course, but their aim is to do everything they can to assure that no family ever has to go through the devastation that they’re experiencing.

This is what it’s going to take.  It’s going to take more families getting involved and demanding change.  No child, ever, should be bullied…period.  As an extension, however, no child certainly should ever have to feel like the only way to get away from the bullying is to end his or her life.  That’s why I write these articles.  That’s why so many people are getting involved with such a critically essential struggle:  this has to end now!

We are already painfully aware that the officials, be it school officials, law enforcement, or even some politicians, are more than willing to turn a blind eye to the problem.  Indeed, the statement from the La Cresenta law enforcement was that “their investigation” showed no evidence of bullying.  In fact, he defiantly added “I know there has been a lot of speculation about bullying — it had nothing to do with that.”  Apparently, their investigation was in the wrong places.  It was reported here from the beginning that Drew Ferraro ended his life because of bullying.  Now certainly isn’t the time or place for “I told you so”, and that’s not my intent; however, if friends and family say that it was caused by bullying, it just doesn’t matter what the school officials or law enforcers say.  They’re simply trying to cover their own asses.  Those closest to the victims, those left to pick up the pieces, will certainly know better than the “officials” what happened to their loved one.

It’s up to us, the concerned citizens of the world community, to make the changes that are necessary to bring this woeful chapter to an abrupt end.  A lot is being done.  And, progress is being made.  Just not fast enough.  Certainly not fast enough to save Drew Ferraro’s life or any other of the dozens of teens who have taken their own lives because of bullying just this year alone.  Dozens!!  Today is only the 49th day of the year!!!  Can you see the urgency?

These are links and numbers everyone should have handy at all times:
WHOF’s Suicide Support page
STOP Teenage Suicide
Stop Bullying website
1-800-273-TALK(8255)

No child, gay or straight, black or white, fat, skinny, Martian, or otherwise should ever, EVER, be put in a position where they feel that ending their life is the only hope they have for the bullying to end.  At the end of the program handed out by Drew’s family at his memorial get-together were the words “Zero Tolerance against Bullying”.  Where have you read that before?

Hunter Mack, 14, Recuperates from Suicide Attempt

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Friday was not a good day for school kids in two states on separate sides of the country.  There was Drew Ferraro‘s completed suicide attempt in La Cresenta, CA in front of his classmates.  The students of Cresenta Valley High School, many of them friends of his, were left severely traumatized and to try to make sense of what they had just witnessed.  Their recovery will take years.

On that same day, 14-year-old Hunter Mack, of Walpole, NH, made an unsuccessful attempt, also in front of classmates.  In Drew’s case, early reports say that bullying was definitely a factor.  However, in Drew’s case, it appears that depression was the biggest factor.  In both cases, the casualty list extends far beyond the victims, themselves.

Despite what some out-of-touch politicians and “religious leaders” are attempting to hoodwink us into believing, the fact of the matter is that this is an epidemic.  It’s taken on a life all of its own.  And, as is usually the case when the rubber really meets the road, it will have to we, the ordinary, caring, and compassionate people who will make the necessary changes to end this scourge.  It will have to be those people who have seen one too many young person end their life far, far too soon.  It will have to take the families and friends of past victims to honor their lost loved ones by continuing to reach out to others in hope that no other family, no more friends will have to go through the lifelong pain that they are going through.

We can’t count on our politicians.  Michele Bachmann, and likeminded religious fanatics in her district, virtually declared war on the LGBT teens who reside in her district.  The result has been an explosion of teen suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin district.  Stacey Campfield is busy introducing bills that makes LGBT teens sitting ducks.  His bills will make it ok to bully and abuse them as long as it’s for “religious, political, or philosophical beliefs”.  He wants it so that teacher would risk losing their careers at the mere mention of the word gay.  And, there are others around the country who are busy trying to pass similar legislations.

Religious leaders are just barely better.  And, to be sure, not all religious leaders are all-condemning of LGBT youth or the LGBT community in general.  Similarly, not all politicians are jackasses, either.

Still, the change that is desperately needed at this very point-in-time is going to have to at least START with us, the common folk.  We who care.  We who are right there on the battlefront watching the carnage.  The bright side of that it that there are many regular people in every size, shape, age, and color, and from all around the world!, doing their part to help bring this madness to an end.  And, indeed, things are being done, and progress is being made.  Young people are reaching out to other troubled teens.  Songs are being written; videos recordedHotlines have been set-up.  Online support networks have been set up.  Ordinary people who have just said:  “Enough is Enough!  How can I get involved!?  This has got to end!”  This epidemic must, and will!, be wiped out.

Until we reach that end, there will still be casualties, unfortunately.  But, as we continue to grow massively in numbers, and as we continue to bring global awareness to this issue, we will begin to see that casualty list decrease.  Until that day, however, we have to continue to fight like hell!  There are just too many lives in the balance to do anything else.

At this moment, 14-year-old Hunter Mack lay in a New Hampshire hospital attempting to recover from his attempt at ending his young life.  Let’s hope for a speedy recovery for him as well as healing for his family, friends, and schoolmates.  They all have a long journey ahead of them.

Drew Ferraro, 15, Dead of Bullycide

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My band played “The Struggle” tonight with the usual zest.  I made it through the whole song without breaking down at some point, which happens especially when we perform it after a recent teen suicide.  It had been relatively calm for the past week or so.  I said to one of my best friends, biggest fans, and occasional reader of the blog that it has been quite for a week or so, and that had me cautiously concerned.  Then, I return home from another triumphant show only to get the news.

Friday, February 11th, 15-yer-old Drew Ferraro succumbed to bullycide.  According to one of Drew’s friends, “he was a funny, clever kid who played football and loved heavy metal music and gigs”.  Said another friend, “he was definitely bullied and he didn’t want to go to school”.

The sad irony is that his suicide came mere hours before the release of the very powerful song and video, “It Does Get Better”, done by some of the best lesbian talent that the U.K. has to offer.  Seeing that video, hearing that song, albeit not heavy metal, could’ve very well saved Drew’s life.  We’ll never know.

It’s imperative that everyone has resources readily available in the event that you’re faced, eye-to-eye, with a potentially dangerous situation.  Intervention works wonders, and it saves lives.

Wipeout Homophobia on facebook has a wonderful Suicide Support page

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Knowing the signs of depression early on can be a very useful tool.

To the traumatized schoolmates and friends of Drew’s who witnessed this event, please seek help.  Sorting through this will be extremely difficult on your own.  To the family of this young man, we wish you our heartfelt condolences.  May you rest in Paradise, Drew Ferraro.