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Courtney Walker, 14, Bullying-related Suicide

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It won’t be a Happy Thanksgiving in the Walker home this year and, quite possibly, for years to come.  Instead, the Thanksgiving holidays will always be attached to memories of 14-year-old Courtney Walker ending her life on Tuesday, November 13th, reportedly because of being bullied.Courtney’s mother says that she “…saw the warning signs, but she didn’t think they would result in suicide.”  Apparently, Courtney had spoken with her mother “…about a couple of “run-ins” she’d had with a couple of girls at school, but she didn’t say that she was being bullied.”  Describing her daughter as “funny and smart”, Shawn Walker added:

“I talked to her about it and she just laughed like it was a joke,” Walker said. “So we thought she was doing it for attention.”

And, of course, the local law enforcement agency says their investigation, so far, has not found any evidence of bullying.

No evidence of bullying.  That’s beginning to sound like a sick punchline to a morbid, grotesque joke.  The problem, of course, is this is no laughing matter.  A 14-year-old girl is dead.  Her mother says it was brought on from being bullied!  What more evidence do you need?  Once again, the question is what exactly constitutes “evidence of bullying”?  What are they looking for, exactly?  From talking to several family members of young people who have committed suicide already due to being bullied, I can tell you that question is worn thin.  The fact that no one in “official” positions seem capable, or even willing, to do something meaningful that would start making a difference has also played out.  It’s time for answers and results.  Nothing short of that will do.

What, exactly, IS bullying?  How do we define it in terms that would disallow these school and police officials to hide behind the wall of “…no evidence of bullying was found”?  Perhaps being able to answer those two questions would pave the way to stemming this tide of bullying and teen suicides.  Does there need to be physical evidence of bullying?  Would that make their jobs easier?  Does teasing, name-calling, harassing, excluding, or taunting not count as bullying?  Of course it does.  How do you find evidence of that?  And, since it is nearly impossible to find evidence of that, why isn’t the word-of-mouth of people who are or were close to the situation sufficient enough “evidence” for these “officials” to act?  There are just far too many families left with these, and more!, unanswered questions.  Another name is added to the ever-growing list every single day.

My own question to these “officials” would be “do you have children?  And, if yes, how would you expect your child’s situation to be handled if (s)he were being bullied?”  I’ll tell you what you would expect.  You would expect swift and decisive action.  You’d want to make sure that the person(s) doing the bullying was held accountable for their actions.  You’d demand that the school administrators did every single thing in their power to assure your child’s safety and well-being while they were at school.  Most of all, you’d want to make sure that your child was no longer at risk of ending his/her life because of unanswered cries for help from being bullied.  That’s what you’d want.  Why you can’t grasp that that’s what every parent wants is beyond me.  You “officials” aren’t reacting the way you’d expect your own child’s situation to be reacted to.  And, because of that, the cycle continues.  It’s preventable.  One-hundred percent preventable.  What’s needed in order to prevent this from continuing to happen is to become much more proactive rather than reactive.  We can stop this heartbreaking trend.  We can…and, we must.Courtney Walker was a beautiful, “funny and smart” 14-year-old girl.  She should be gearing up for the holiday season with her family right now.  How we, as a society, are continuing to let this happen is mind-boggling to me.

Rest in peace, Courtney.

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