ronkempmusic

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

Posts Tagged ‘jordan halmich

More of Jordan Halmich: A Word from a Parent

with 3 comments


We all know by now that bullying has played a role, big and small, in many teen suicides.  You’ve read about some of them here.  If you’ve been a regular follower of this blog, or if you’re a member of the facebook blog page, you’ve also read many times where I’ve said that “…not all teens who commit suicide are LGBT teens, and not all teen suicides are in response to being bullied”.  Over the past year, I’ve watched, both on some of my own blog posts and on other articles, as well, as people would a.) read about another teen suicide and instantly respond “Bullying has to end!!” and/or b.) make a statement that goes like this:  “it’s a shame that these teens are killing themselves for being bullied just because they’re gay.”

NOT EVERY TEEN WHO COMMITS SUICIDE IS LGBT; NOT EVERY TEEN WHO COMMITS SUICIDE WAS BULLIED; EVERY SINGLE TEEN SUICIDE IS TRAGIC!  

The mother of Jordan Halmich, one of the three teens who committed suicide in a seven-week period, left a comment on the blog that prompted me to respond to her via email as opposed to simply replying to the comment:

I am the mother of Jordan Halmich, and just to make this all clear, Jordan was not bullied  He didn’t take his own life because of being bullied.  He had been depressed.  He came to me. and I took him the assistant principal and called in the alt ED counselor and had them evaluate him.  At that point, he was given a therapist, which he was seeing as well as had the assistant principal and alt ED teacher whom he trusted.  He talked with Jordan, and I talked as well.  His problem was not being ignored.  I was so upset to see all this published and people just jumping on the bandwagon of what people were saying, that the three suicides were caused from bullying.  Well, I am here to tell you get off that bandwagon and get the story straight:  Jordan Halmich, 16, of St. Clair, took his own life on Sept. 28 due to severe depression that his family and many others were trying to help him with and that we don’t know and never will know the true state of where his mind was that dreadful day that he saw no other way to end his depression that day than to take his own life.   As a parent, to face life everyday without him here, and for his father, his brothers, his other family, and many friends, is the most empty, hurtful feeling to go through in life, so seeing all this online reporting of non-truth about Jordan is hurtful and all the pictures, comments that they dug up and found just goes to show that social media is out of control.  Nothing is private anymore, and that is where the problem truly lies this day and age.

I don’t agree with bullying, and I am not saying it isn’t a problem and that, if it is happening, that it doesn’t need to be addressed or dealt with.  It does.  I always taught my kids that “no one is better than you”, not to ever let anyone make you feel that way and, by all means, you stand up for yourself and don’t let anyone treat you as if you don’t matter.  My kids didn’t let that happen and still don’t.  Jordan was only 5ft 3in and would stand up to someone 6ft tall without fear.  So, believe me, he was not bullied.  I, as a parent, would not let someone bully my children for more than 1 day without me taking care of it, anyway I could, to make it stop.  If we don’t fight for our children, then who will?  It’s our job to love and protect our children, and I take that very seriously.In the blog post, itself, I specified that “It is alleged that he’d been bullied.”  Now, we know for sure that he wasn’t

Last year’s suicide death of Jamie Hubley was similar in that people were, and still are, beating the “bully drum” when, in fact, it wasn’t bullying at all.  The role that bullying played in Jamie’s suicide was miniscule in comparison to the level of depression he was locked in to.  Had he been bullied?  There were a couple of instances.  But, it wasn’t why he ended his life.  Same is true with Jordan Halmich.  Was he bullied?  His mother says a definitive and emphatic “no”.  Jordan suffered from a deep depression that, much like Jamie, no one could save him from despite the efforts of his loved ones.

Following Jamie Hubley’s suicide, I had the honor of meeting several of members of his family.  As was the case with Jordan’s family, they were keenly aware that Jamie wasn’t dealing with severe depression, and they were doing everything humanly possible to help him see his way through it.  What Jordan’s mother said to me was almost identical, nearly verbatim!, to what one of Jamie’s family members told me about his suicide last year:

I just want people to know he was not bullied and I did not turn a blind eye to him or his depression. I was on top of it and got him help from staff, therapists, doctors, his family and friends.  He was not alone.  We were all here and trying to help.  He was an energetic, fun, had a huge heart and was loved by many.  His smile and outgoing attitude made him several friends, and that is way I want him remembered. I don’t want anyone thinking I am, or anyone else is, trying to point fingers and place blame for what he did, and I definitely don’t want it being believed that he was bullied when he wasn’t.

That’s a simple and reasonable request.  Teen suicide is tragic, regardless of the reasoning behind it.  Sure, the pain and even anger are both magnified when bullying is involved; however, the fact of the matter is not every teen suicide is the result of bullying.  In our hard-fought efforts to get both the bullying epidemic and explosion of teen suicides under control, it’s important to the families of those lost to suicide to understand that simple fact.

******************************SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES******************************

UNDERSTANDING TEEN DEPRESSION

SUICIDE PREVENTION TOOLKIT (pdf)

SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

BEFRIENDERS

 

High School Horror: THREE Students Commit Suicide in Seven Weeks

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We’ve got a problem.  And, it’s a huge problem.  It’s common knowledge to anyone with a pulse, by now, that there’s a problem with teen suicide and bullying.  So, I’m not breaking any news there.  The problem we’re facing runs deeper, if that’s possible, than the issues of bullying and teen suicide.  We’re suffering from a paralysis on how to effectively deal with both issues.  And, that’s allowing the issue to continue to spiral out-of-control.

I received notification this morning of three suicides at one school within a seven-week period, ages 14, 16, and 16:  a freshman; a sophomore; and, a junior.  And, where did I get the information from?  A United Kingdom publication!  See, in our country, those who should be sounding the alarm, standing on the tallest buildings and highest mountains screaming through the most powerful sound systems at the top of their lungs that we’ve got ourselves a major problem in this country with bullying and teen suicides are doing their best to sidestep the whole situation.  They sweep it under the proverbial carpet in hopes that it will magically disappear.  They deny the reality that this is happening in our school, in our country, with and to our younger generation.  The problem is that the problem isn’t magically going away.  It’s continuing to worsen.Jordan Halmich ended his life September 28th, one month shy of his 17th birthday.  It is alleged that he’d been bullied. Donna Cooley was found by her father on November 2nd after scrawling words on a mirror indicating that she’d been bullied.Destiny Pearson ended her life just this past Monday, November 12th.  She was a former cheerleader.  Destiny was a very well-rounded 16 year old, enjoying riding horses, karate, sewing, reading and writing.  Her friends deny any allegations that she had been bullied, citing that she was always the one who would stick up for those being bullied.

These three teens were all students at St. Clair High School in St. Clair, Missouri.  As is the norm in cases of teen suicide, the chief of police in St. Clair issued a statement that, of course, “there was no evidence of bullying.”  And, again, I’m at a loss as to where to even start trying to figure this out.  The first question that comes to mind is “what, exactly, is it that they’re looking for as “evidence” of bullying?  Are these bullied teens supposed to be documenting every instance of bullying?  Should they get the documents notarized?  Should they get videos of each instance of bullying?  Or, should they wait until the bullying becomes physical attack, then take pictures of their bruised bodies?  Preposterous questions, all.  Or…are they? Apparently, word-of-mouth accounts from the people who spent time with them day-in and day-out accounts for nil.  Zip.  Nada.  Imagine that!  You go to school with these people everyday.  You are often their close friends.  And, in some cases, you actually witness the bullying with your own eyes.  Other times, they confide in you what’s going on.  YET, when you report that they were being bullied, it falls on deaf ears.  Sound familiar?  That’s never going to solve anything.  Rather, the continuing tendency to sweep this under the carpet is a leading reason why we’re not seeing any progress being made in these instances of bullying and bully-related suicides.

Rather than acknowledge that there is a problem with bullying, this police chief instead attempted to push the focus elsewhere.

Obviously there are a lot of emotional problems with these individuals,’ St Clair police chief Bill Hammack told MailOnline. ‘But each case has specific identifiers.

‘They are dealing with a lot of emotional and mental issues and there’s not one reason connecting three different suicides of three different teenagers across three different jurisdictions.

And, he added:

One common thread that I would see that is occurring is that there is social media involved.

Of course, it’s highly possible that all of the above played a role in the suicides.  In fact, in at least one of the cases, it is documented that there were problems at home as well as at school leading up to the suicide.  And, yes indeed, there is a major issue with teens and social media today.  That goes without saying.  In fact, it is this author’s opinion that today’s young people have entirely too much free reign on the Internet and that, in itself, is only exacerbating an already troubling situation.  But, that’s neither here nor there.  That said, the issue here is neither of those things.

The issue here is bullying amongst teens, and preteens, in the schools.  The issue is bullying and the reluctance to do anything to intervene and/or prevent it.  Oh, of course, many school districts now have anti-bullying policies in place.  Some have very strict “zero tolerance” policies on record.  And, they are very effective.  On paper.  In the real world, in the schools, in the classrooms, they are grossly ineffective.  In the real world, in the schools and classrooms, they may as well be nonexistent.  That’s a problem.

Young people are told to report all bullying incidents “to a trusted adult…teacher…counselor…other school administrator.”  And, they do.  To no avail.  On the facebook blog page, I very often get reports of people who say they reported their bullying only to be blamed for bringing it on themselves!  In other cases, the reports of bullying fall on deaf ears.  Eventually, the victim(s) reach their limit and take matters into their own hand.  The result is rarely ever good.  From being suspended, or expelled!!themselves for being a bully, to going to school armed and prepared to do serious harm to the perpetrator(s), to taking their own life, the result is very rarely good.  The tragedy in that, of course, is that it never has to get to that point.  If these officials would stop sweeping this issue under the carpet and start dealing with it for what it is, an epidemic that costing lives needlessly, we wouldn’t see these things continue to occur.

And, finally, there’s nothing shameful about suicide.  The veil of secrecy must be removed.  Continuing to keep these tragic events secret does much more harm than good.  The belief that making them more public is nonsensical, at best.  The belief that it would cause more, “copycat”, suicides is equally foolish.  In my opinion.  They’re kept under wraps now and, for the most part, they’ve been kept hush-hush for as long as I can remember.  Guess what?  With the cloak of secrecy, suicide has surged to become the #1 cause of injury death, surpassing homicide and car accidents.  As long as there’s this avoidance, this reluctance to put this problem in the spotlight where it belongs, we’re going to continue to see the numbers rise.  A problem can’t be addressed and properly solved if we don’t know what the problem is.  Keeping suicides secret is allowing them to continue to climb in numbers.  That’s not acceptable.

The community of St. Clair, Missouri has a long road of healing ahead of them.  The families and friends of the three suicide victim, a lifetime of grieving.  And, unanswered questions.  My heart goes out to all of them.  In memory of the Jordan Halmich, Destiny Pearson, and Donna Cooley, and all the teen suicide victims before them, and all of the ones who continue to endure bullying, both in school and online, may we never, ever lose the fire that burns within each of us to bring this devastating epidemic to an end.

******************************SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES******************************

BEFRIENDERS

SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

THE TREVOR PROJECT

SUICIDE PREVENTION