My Bullied Son's Last Day on Earth

Discussion in 'IntroSpectrum' started by Radium, Apr 26, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/04/23/bullying.suicide/index.html

    ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) Eleven-year-old Jaheem Herrera woke up on April 16 acting strangely. He wasn't hungry and he didn't want to go to school. But the outgoing fifth grader packed his bag and went to school at Dunaire Elementary School in DeKalb County, Georgia. He came home much happier than when he left in the morning, smiling as he handed his mother, Masika Bermudez, a glowing report card full of A's and B's. She gave him a high-five and he went upstairs to his room as she prepared dinner. A little later, when his younger sister called him to come down to eat, Jaheem didn't answer. So mother and daughter climbed the stairs to Jaheem's room and opened the door.

    Jaheem was hanging by his belt in the closet.

    "I always used to see these things on TV, dead people on the news," says Bermudez. "I saw somebody die and to see this dead person is your son, hanging there, a young boy. ... To hang yourself like that, you've got to really be tired of something." Bermudez says bullies at school pushed Jaheem over the edge. He complained about being called gay, ugly and "the virgin" because he was from the Virgin Islands, she said. "He used to say Mom they keep telling me this ... this gay word, this gay, gay, gay. I'm tired of hearing it, they're telling me the same thing over and over," she told CNN, as she wiped away tears from her face.

    But while she says her son complained about the bullying, she had no idea how bad it had gotten. "He told me, but he just got to the point where he didn't want me to get involved anymore because nothing was done," she said. Bermudez said she complained to the school about bullying seven or eight times, but it wasn't enough to save him. "It [apparently] just got worse and worse and worse until Thursday," she said. "Just to walk up to that room and see your baby hanging there. My daughter saw this, my baby saw this, my kids are traumatized."

    She said Jaheem was a shy boy just trying to get a good education and make friends. "He was a nice little boy," Bermudez said through her tears. "He loved to dance. He loved to have fun. He loved to make friends. And all he made [at school] were enemies." Bermudez said she thinks her son felt like nobody wanted to help him, that nobody stood up and stopped the bullies. "Maybe he said 'You know what -- I'm tired of telling my mom, she's been trying so hard, but nobody wants to help me,' " says Bermudez.

    After Jaheem's death, the school board expressed condolences, saying the school staff "works diligently to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all students." Trying desperately to understand what went wrong, Bermudez asked her son's best friend to recount what happened on the day Jaheem killed himself. "He [said he was] tired of complaining, tired of these guys messing with him," Bermudez said, recalling the conversation with Jaheem's best friend. "Tired of talking, I think to his teachers, counselors and nobody is doing anything -- and the best way out is death."

    Allegations of such severe bullying surprises experts familiar with the school district. It's anti-bullying program was considered exemplary and includes programs to raise awareness and a specially trained liaison. Students are even asked to sign a no-bullying pledge. But other parents told CNN they have complained about bullying as well. Despite recent strides towards preventing bullying in schools and increased awareness programs, a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network study showed that 65 percent of teens are bullied each year and most believe adults can't help them.

    Less than a month before Jaheem's death, a boy in Massachusetts killed himself after being bullied, harassed and called "gay." Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, says to be effective, awareness programs need to include education about the harm that can be done by teasing someone about sexuality or perceived sexuality. "Anti-gay language is really the ultimate weapon for a bully who wants to degrade his or her peers," she says. "And any effective response to bullying has to take that on." Bermudez doesn't understand why the children at school couldn't learn to get along. Because of it, she'll never get to see her son grow up. "My baby, that's my only boy, and I lost him now," says Bermudez. "He was my first child and ... to lose him 11 years after, he didn't live his life." She hopes her son's death will result in positive changes that will help other kids being bullied. "Those that are being bullied -- they need to talk to their parents, they need to not hold back," she says. "I lost my son and now something has to be done."
    test
  2. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    2 questions for the introspectrum:

    1. why did this happen

    2. how can this be prevented
    test
  3. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    Why question.
    insufficient prevention.


    How question.
    First option,
    set up a system so parents of bullied/bully children can coordinate/work things out.

    Other option,
    If the school was not sufficiently diligent in preventing it, sue them.
    Or alternately, If the teacher insufficiently implemented the school's anti-bullying regulations, sue them.
    Or, alternately if the school/teacher were not at fault, sue the parents of the kids that are bullying.


    Adults don't have to put up with it, so should why kids have to?

    set up a trust/organization to allow the law suits to go forward free of charge for the families of bullied children. "Children Defense League" or something.

    You know what, I think just creating a "children's defense league" would probably enough to prevent 70% of cases just by forcing school's hand in keeping their anti-bullying policies up to par to avoid a very expensive lawsuit (or, if its systemic and many kids are getting bullied, ridiculously class-action expensive). Early intervention is the key by the part of teachers, if you wait for it to get to the point of lawsuits against parents, that kid will basically get ostracized. So that is an absolute last resort.
    test
  4. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    So...

    coercion opposed to persuasion?

    in the sense that instead of asking/instructing kids to be socially responsible and expecting positive results

    instead threaten to take away money from school/parents

    largely your post seems to be promoting the threat of punishment in response to bullying instead of other means

    I agree that there are two ways to approach this problem

    coercive (threatening punishment) and persuasive (asking instead of threatening) and that the threat of some kind of punishment in needed. i agree that the punishment has to be severe as the consequences of bullying have shown to be very severe

    taking away money would seem to work towards that end and it seems simple enough

    a couple questions:

    taking away money from parents/teachers/private schools seems straightforward enough but how do you take money away from a public school? prevent government funding? thereby causing a cut back on school programs?

    most kids in america go to school in public schools so this is a big problem as public schools are a social service and not a privately run business

    and (you also touch on this very briefly) wouldnt threatening to sue parents cause the bullied child to be ostracized even further? this may actually intensify the feeling of alienation felt by the bullied child where bullying may cease on an overt level but alienation from other children might become even more overwhelming (they end up getting treated like a social leper)

    and ultimately this may cut down on bullying from happening but not the feelings and sentiments that cause the bullying from the start

    this is a very messy solution. like wearing a bullet proof vest in a shoot out instead of simply not being at a shoot out in the first place

    have you at all explored a persuasive approach (exploring the actual causes of bullying and focusing prevention there before the bullying happens opposed to after the bullying happens)
    test
  5. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    persuasion already exists. there are commercials, things like common sense, etc...
    Child justice league can do that too. Its not either or. Some parents and some teachers/school are negligent of their educational/parental duties, for those we apply stronger persuasion.

    answers to questions:
    1-its not a govt approach, its a individual citizen approach that has persuasive impact on schools. i.e. if you a kid getting harassed, you contact the justice league who help you out. This creates persuasion for schools to not be negligent. If the govt wants to react by putting in place proper policy to ensure anti-bullying policies are not neglected, that is their choice. If they don't, they face lawsuit.

    There is NO REASON why a child should have to bear of the burden of the loss (i.e. from the dmg caused by bullying to his psychology) when a fully grown adult would not have to.
    Why shouldn't children be able to exercise their rights?

    2-you can sue a public body.

    3-ostracism possible problem in some cases. hopefully the justice league will cause schools to not be negligent, thus nipping the problem in the butt of bullying before it gets to a solution between a rock and a hard place. In fact, it almost certainly will. No solution is perfect, I think the ostracism that may result in very limited cases by a group of people is less psychologically damaging than being actively bullied. Its not certain everyone in the school would take the bullies side anyway. If its a problem, subject children to 'education' from grade 1 on that they including/making friends bullied children makes them a good person.

    4-combined approach is preferable. But again, existence of child justice league woudl also contribute positively to nipping prb n the butt.
    test
  6. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    oh so the primary problem is ultimately negligence from schools?

    you're suggesting that threatening punishment to schools will cause them to be less negligent and more assertive towards the problem of bullying. and I think you're right

    so the goal is ultimately to make schools more assertive to the problem of bullying

    is threatening punishment the best way to do that though? this works as an indirect and round-a-bout way to cause schools to be more assertive but couldn't we just change the way schools are structured so as to include social awareness/responsibility as part of the curriculum? schools act like this doesn't even exist. they treat the current curriculum of math and history and so forth as the only type of intelligence. isn't social awareness and responsibility a sort of type of intelligence also?

    my thing is that you seem to be conceding that schools must be more assertive towards stopping the bullying process

    1. you never show how they can actually and specifically do that

    2. you use the threat of punishment as a way to promote them to be more assertive instead of suggesting an actual program that would make them assertive by default

    its better to re-structure the schools from the ground up to include an anti-bullying program from the start. this is what i meant by persuasion opposed to coercion

    you bring up a great point. your proposed "child justice league" is important to force the point so to speak. but at this point the discourse must shift away from the benefits of threatening punishment and move specifically on to how to implement a learning environment that can dissuade bullying.

    I don't know if you know what to add to that part but I feel its necessary to begin answering that question. ultimately its the most important question
    test
  7. Knowledge

    Knowledge Guest

    I grew up around there... I remember back then think it was like 96 one of my fellow classmates who also was in Sur 13 pulled a gun on a teacher for telling him what to do... Atlanta has always been messed up..
    test
  8. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    Second part i leave to schools/researchers to figure out. maybe the approach can vary?

    That's not anything that i can potentially have any control over. Establishing Child Justice League defense fund is actually a feasible idea from the perspective of a citizen.

    Its completely doable within current frameworks to make it work. That's the best part about it.

    Obviously ideally we need to restructure from the ground up, but we don't live in an ideal and we aren't tyrants who can implement supposed ideals, so we are left this solution as something we can actually do.

    Are you doing a degree in education? or plan on it? (seems to be right up your ally) you seem to enjoy this stuff. maybe this is a good cause for you.


    2-As a potential supplement, the Child Justice League could use get grants to do independent research on the isue of bullying, then make recommendations for the types of standards that ought to be established. So we could up the pitch one level, from having the League being both advocate of the bullied to lobbying group for research and influence the implementation of children's rights.

    We could up the pitch 1 more level, expanding the scope of the league to more child justice issues. Like preventing child known child molestors from being an area, etc...
    but now im probably getting ahead of myself, as i seem to have created an entire program for child rights advocacy and implicitly a mini-guide on how to get a cause's program implemented out of your simple question of bullying.
    test
  9. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    lol nope

    I'm starting/transferring to art school next semester.

    but i guess we both agree that schools must obviously be re-structured from the ground level. i was trying to

    persuade

    you into thinking about the human side of the problem

    as i believe you have already correctly mapped out the legislative side. though because you havent/cannot map out the human side the full problem remains unsolved. speculations into the human side of the problem must still be made in order to flesh out the full picture of what is actually happening in reality. if this isnt done an accurate picture of reality wont be created and if an accurate picture of reality isnt established all future conclusions will be either lacking or completely false.

    this must still be done regardless of whether or not ideas based around the human aspect of the problem can or cant be implemented on a practical level.

    thus your ability to diagnose and fix problems in the real world is hampered by that limitation. it must be expanded.

    for your second point:

    I agree. bullying is just one part of a bigger problem and uncovering the problem here would likely show other holes that also exist in the learning environments offered by schools. Largely, schools are basically the same today as they were for when say my father was a kid. nothing has really changed. and yet

    society has largley changed

    there is a big problem here
    test
  10. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    Agreed, however human side is not separate from legislative side. Laws are apart of how human's act and interact, it influences a whole lot of what we do. And anyway, and policy you come up with from the "human side" would require legislative implementation creating organizations, frameworks for getting it done.

    also you don't need a perfect picture of human nature for practical problems. And not having a perfect model does not mean conclusions will be "lacking or completely false". Governance, especially when we are talking about a circumscribed problem like bullying, is more art than science.
    test
  11. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    laws are a response to (and therefore a derivative of) the human nature. i dont believe both things are equivalent as you seem to be alluding to. accurate law comes from an accurate interpretation of the human nature.

    the key is accuracy

    so how could not trying to find the most accurate picture of the human nature not take first precedence? shouldnt law be as accurate as possible to this? doesnt this come first before anything?

    I'm starting to get the impression that you think laws come before people.
    test
  12. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    your jumping the gun and drawing unwarranted conclusions. Virtually everything you just said is not accurate about what i think.

    also you changed your argument from "an accurate picture" to "the most accurate picture" of human nature, the second which i agree with the first i don't. i.e. of course if your formulating pulbic policy you have to understnad people, but if you go around looking for a perfectly accurate model of human nature, you won't get past the ivory tower. Looking for the most accurate is good enoguh. (i thought you read Plato, this shit should be obvious to you)

    its not a race between law and people. What your saying is like asking, what comes first intelligence or people? or what comes first, religion or people?

    its not a dichotomy, and even asking which "comes before" makes no sense.
    (me thinks you read plato's republic and were influenced by his ideal abstraction (which he says is not practically useful) and never studied plato's laws)
    test
  13. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    Amazon.com: The Laws of Plato: Plato, Thomas L. Pangle: Books

    that's a nice translation.
    here, look at this comment. dead on

    that strauss book is pretty good too, there are other commentaries available as well.

    Plato's "Republic" is used most often in college courses to illustrate Plato's thoughts on politics, but it does not seem to contain a serious political program. The characters in the "Republic" are mostly young men not yet entrusted with political responsibility who are, nevertheless, concerned with justice and how a city would have to be composed in order to be fully just. That such a city could never, in fact, come about becomes less important than the questions of justice and soul that the discussion raises. Obviously (and by Plato's intention) the "Republic" does not present a practical political program. Students relying on this dialogue alone to get a sense of Plato's thoughts on the best regime may be led astray, especially if they are guided by a bad teacher (of which there are many in the universities). The best corrective to this is to read Pangle's translation of Plato's "Laws". In this dialogue an Athenian Stranger discusses various proposed laws with a Cretan who is shortly to assist in the founding of the new colony of Magnesia. The laws and regulations proposed by the Stranger are concessions to the way men are, rather than idealistic portraits of how they should be. The rule of philosopher-kings is not proposed, and the fact that all three interlocutors come from cities that at one time or another were at war with one another introduces a note of distrust and seriousness that is missing in the more playful "Republic"; this seriousness befits the discussion's more practical nature. Pangle's translation is literal and trustworthy where other translations take liberties with Plato's terminology, while the notes ameliorate the limitations of the translation form. If you are unsatisfied with this, prepare to learn the Greek since a better translation is not likely to be forthcoming. If Pangle's Interpretive Essay leaves a bad taste in your mout, feel free to read "The Argument and the Action of Plato's Laws" by Leo Strauss. My impression, however, is that Pangle's essay is more appropriate for readers who may find the unfamiliar "Laws" more, well, unfamiliar than, say, the "Republic". No one can deny that the "Laws" is more complex than the "Republic" and builds on many of that dialogue's insights, coming as it does at the end of Plato's career. To my mind, however, it is as indispensable as the "Republic" and teachers do their students a great disservice by not assigning the "Laws" more often. In conclusion, I highly recommend this dialogue and translation--accept no substitutes.
    test
  14. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    I've read republic but not laws

    i thought the type of society proposed in republic was pretty impractical but i agreed with the general implication that there is one right way to structure a society - other versions being wrong

    perhaps not fatally wrong

    but wrong nonetheless

    (as such quality of life suffers despite not fatally ruining that standard)

    and

    your counter-point about things not being reducible to human nature doesnt make sense to me

    like you say religion and man arent seperate

    I was trying to show that human inventions (like law or religion or basketball) must ultimately accurately represent/be harmonious to human nature

    if this isnt true then try starting up a communist dictatorship, a religion based around worshipping thumb-tacks

    or try to change the game of basketball to include playing with a square ball and a triangle hoop

    these things clearly arent accurate representations of what exists in the human nature and as such they are either slightly lacking or simply complete failures

    so accuracy is the goal. specifically, accuracy to the human nature

    I agree that trying to find this is tough and trying to establish this on a practical level even harder. but thats not an argument against still trying to find it

    the more accurate, the better. or else, your conclusions will be lacking or failures (like communist economy, thumb-tack religions, square basketballs, and your anti-bullying policy that proposes no real solution to actually digging in and finding the reason why kids bully and a way to dissuade bullying)
    test
  15. Dex Lewis

    Dex Lewis Guest

    Bullying is just a natural byproduct of intrasexual competition.

    At it's best, it builds character and a thick skin towards future rejection and setbacks.

    Whatever happened to kids just.....being tough? Speaking as a moderate bully growing up, I only singled out the ones who I knew were unassertive/more likely to put up with my shit.

    The best prevention is to encourage martial arts/self-defense early. Give them confidence, discipline, and a rewarding experience that will ultimately better them for life.
    test
  16. Dex Lewis

    Dex Lewis Guest

    I could only read to like reply 6. Sorry.

    I'm going on 5 hours of sleep and niggas talk too much.
    test
  17. reggie_jax

    reggie_jax rapper noyd

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    2,437
    republican response: let boys be boys
    liberal response: make the bullies take sensitivity training
    commie response: make the kids wear uniforms so there is no more fashion based competition
    libertarian response: give the kids guns
    test
  18. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    what is your answer?

    or do you not have one
    test
  19. Kobe Brahant

    Kobe Brahant Black Mamba

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    176
    I agree with Dex that the only answer is to equip children with the tools to withstand the experiences... or else life will end up biting them in the ass later on and expose their frail survival tactics later.

    However, I don't think bullying is a "byproduct of intrasexual competition", because competition is relatively equitable reciprocation and competitiveness is the search for new challenges above and beyond what one has already accomplished. The act of pouring it on someone who's already been subdued and under dominion is symptomatic of something different... something of a sadistic/pedophiliac nature.

    There are cats who have that bigger fish to fry mentality and want to get on the A-squad court to run with the big dawgs, and then there are those who are content to stay at the kiddie playground dunkin' on 4th and 5th graders, thinkin' they calf muscle swole for doin' that.
    test
  20. reggie_jax

    reggie_jax rapper noyd

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    2,437
    i don't have one.

    ultimately i don't see it as a very big deal. nerdy kids today should consider themselves lucky that for the most part they get called gay rather than getting their asses beat and stuffed in a locker. if they kill themselves cause their classmates are bullying them then obviously there was some underlying problem prior to the bullying.
    test
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)