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1 Ohio school, 4 bullied teens dead at own hand

Aunt Spiker

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1 Ohio school, 4 bullied teens dead at own hand - Yahoo! News

MENTOR, Ohio – Sladjana Vidovic's body lay in an open casket, dressed in the sparkly pink dress she had planned to wear to the prom. Days earlier, she had tied one end of a rope around her neck and the other around a bed post before jumping out her bedroom window.
The 16-year-old's last words, scribbled in English and her native Croatian, told of her daily torment at Mentor High School, where students mocked her accent, taunted her with insults like "Slutty Jana" and threw food at her.


It was the fourth time in little more than two years that a bullied high school student in this small Cleveland suburb on Lake Erie died at his or her own hand — three suicides, one overdose of antidepressants. One was bullied for being gay, another for having a learning disability, another for being a boy who happened to like wearing pink.

StopCyberbulling.org founder Parry Aftab says this is the first time she's heard of two sets of parents suing a school at the same time for two independent cases of bullying or cyberbullying. No one has been accused of bullying more than one of the teens who died.

Barbara Coloroso, a national anti-bullying expert, says the school is allowing a "culture of mean" to thrive, and school officials should be held responsible for the suicides — along with the bullies.

"Bullying doesn't start as criminal. They need to be held accountable the very first time they call somebody a gross term," Coloroso says. "That is the beginning of dehumanization."

(it's a long article so I added in some bits from the end of it, as well)
 
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Aunt Spiker

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I have mixed opinions on all these situations - I see everyone blaming the schools, but people don't just break down and commit suicide real quick - it's a problem that happens over time and it seems that when people do people act it's too little too late.

But how am I mixed on this? This might come out way wrong - but take Mohat for example. He wore a dead animal on his arm and called him Georges.
When someone goes *out of their way* to be different and get attention - well *that* was a sign he was having problems and that was his way of coping with it.

It's like laughing when you're nervous.
 

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Don't you just love the enforced social learning skills many students have to put up with?
 

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I have mixed opinions on all these situations - I see everyone blaming the schools, but people don't just break down and commit suicide real quick - it's a problem that happens over time and it seems that when people do people act it's too little too late.

But how am I mixed on this? This might come out way wrong - but take Mohat for example. He wore a dead animal on his arm and called him Georges.
When someone goes *out of their way* to be different and get attention - well *that* was a sign he was having problems and that was his way of coping with it.

It's like laughing when you're nervous.

so that makes bullying okay?
 

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This is really tragic, and sad. School should be a safe place, and being harassed at school should never get to this level.
 

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what does that mean?

This is just one of the many excuses people use for having public indoctrination centers. If kids didn't go to school they wouldn't learn how to socialize.
 

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This is just one of the many excuses people use for having public indoctrination centers. If kids didn't go to school they wouldn't learn how to socialize.

this addresses the op how? what is your point?
 

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this addresses the op how? what is your point?

If there weren't any public schools then this wouldn't have happened. Bullies don't last long in private schools.
 

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This is really tragic, and sad. School should be a safe place, and being harassed at school should never get to this level.

well, we can't protect everybody, but it's pretty telling that the school can't manage to find those records. parents of these kids teach their children to hate "different".
 

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If there weren't any public schools then this wouldn't have happened. Bullies don't last long in private schools.

That's horse****. I went to private school for a little bit.

The bully was strong there, in some ways stronger.
 

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If there weren't any public schools then this wouldn't have happened. Bullies don't last long in private schools.

i assume you have facts to back this up? i went to private school, as did my kids. plenty of bullying going on there, as well.
 

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If there weren't any public schools then this wouldn't have happened. Bullies don't last long in private schools.

This is a load of bull. Public schools are no worse than private schools in this regard. It's very hard to eliminate bullying, but most recipients of bullying don't commit suicide. This is where this school, and the kids parents failed.
 

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One thing that bothers me about this article is that a couple of these kids weren't actually bullied. They had other issues going on, whcih isn't that uncommon.

For instance, from the link.

"Meredith ended up coming out that she was a lesbian," he says. "I think much of that sparked a lot of the bullying from a lot of the other girls in school, 'cause she didn't fit in."

Her best friend, Kevin Simon, doesn't believe that bullying played a role in Rezak's death. She had serious issues at home that were unrelated to school, he says. After Mohat's death, people saw Rezak crying at school, and friends heard her talk of suicide herself.

A year after Rezak's death, the older of her two brothers, 22-year-old Justin, also shot and killed himself. His death certificate mentioned "chronic depressive reaction."
This March, her only other sibling, Matthew, died of a drug overdose at age 21.

Their mother, Nancy Merritt, lives in Colorado now. She doesn't think Meredith was bullied to death but doesn't really know what happened. On the phone, her voice drifts off, sounding disconnected, confused.

"So all three of mine are gone," she says. "I have to keep breathing."


In 1983, in my high school, 3 kids killed themselves, all in the same year. One thing the media talked about a lot that year was how there was a domino effect with teen suicide. One kid was definitely a social outcast and was bullied. One was a good friend of mine and was an extremely popular and well-liked guy whose parents had just gone through a nasty divorce. Another was a jock with a lot of money who was extremely popular (his dad and mine were business associates and our families socialized). One suicide can trigger others.

I think these stories are tragic, and I'm not really sure how a kid can be bullied IN A CLASSROOM as is described in the article (I've seen it more commonly in hallways, bathrooms, and the cafeteria), but I am also not sure exactly what people think should be done. I mean, when we do training with schools around gangs, I talk to teachers about being highly visible, in the hallways/bathrooms/lunchrooms, etc., because having a strong adult presence tends to quell student behavioral problems; and I talk to them about forming bonds with the students.

But the fact of the matter is that a lot of bullying isn't observed by school staff. And it's really hard to control what you don't see. You may hear reports of kids being picked on, but I've also seen kids who ARE bullies whose parents complain that their child is BEING bullied.

Do you think kids should be suspended from school for being mean? That would result in nearly 70% of most high school students being out of school, in my experience.

Better maybe would be teaching kids how to take care of each other. My daughter is pretty fierce (shocking, I know), and there is a kid with asperger's syndrome in her band (we also suspect he's gay). My daughter caretakes him a lot, and we've basically adopted him. I know he takes a lot of crap at school, but having some defenders who have his back among his peers is the best option, I think.
 
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i assume you have facts to back this up? i went to private school, as did my kids. plenty of bullying going on there, as well.

Which fact? The first or the second one? The first one is obvious since if she was home schooled or in a private school then the exact same people who bullied her may not have been present in her life. The second one is due to the school needing to maintain their reputation as a safe place for kids and that they can learn without fear of being bullied. If the students, parents, and school faculity fail to address the issue of a bully then that means less revenue for that school due to them gaining a reputation for being unsafe and bullies allowed to walk the halls.
 

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i think you're right about this girl. serious issues in that family. i don't think bullies should be suspended, hell, that's a little vacation. they should be penalized with grades. when they realize they might not graduate because of their disgusting behavior they might lighten up a bit. unfortunately, those types of kids grow up to be those types of adults, usually. it's pretty tough to alter personality by the time they hit high school.
 

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Which fact? The first or the second one? The first one is obvious since if she was home schooled or in a private school then the exact same people who bullied her may not have been present in her life. The second one is due to the school needing to maintain their reputation as a safe place for kids and that they can learn without fear of being bullied. If the students, parents, and school faculity fail to address the issue of a bully then that means less revenue for that school due to them gaining a reputation for being unsafe and bullies allowed to walk the halls.

i can tell you first hand there are bullies in private school, so you're wrong. private school is not the answer, expecting students to behave is. public school doesn't FOSTER this type of behavior, parents ALLOW thier children to behave like this.
 

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The school should absolutely have done something, but I think there's some bad parenting to blame here as well. A normal well-adjusted teen doesn't kill themselves because they're being bullied at school.
 

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i can tell you first hand there are bullies in private school, so you're wrong. private school is not the answer, expecting students to behave is. public school doesn't FOSTER this type of behavior, parents ALLOW thier children to behave like this.

You could have fooled me. With public schools it is next to impossible to expel and punish bullies because state law mandates that all children between 5 and 18 to be enrolled in school. I also never made the claim that there weren't bullies in private school. My exact words were, "Bullies don't last long in private schools." By my own statement I admit that there is bullying in private schools, but I stated that they are not in it for very long if people do what is expected of them by reporting the bullying to a parent or a faculty member. In public school, the faculty and administration cannot or will not expel a bully due to state laws for public schools and the funding attached to having a student in that seat. The behavior of bullies is further fostered by the inaction of the school combined with their peers cheering them on since bullies are viewed as minor celebrities.
 
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You could have fooled me. With public schools it is next to impossible to expel and punish bullies because state law mandates that all children between 5 and 18 to be enrolled in school. I also never made the claim that there weren't bullies in private school. My exact words were, "Bullies don't last long in private schools." By my own statement I admit that there is bullying in private schools, but I stated that they are not in it for very long if people do what is expected of them by reporting the bullying to a parent or a faculty member. In public school, the faculty and administration cannot or will not expel a bully due to state laws for public schools and the funding attached to having a student in that seat.

schools have zero tolerance policies, and can expel kids almost at will. where do you live that your schools have to allow misbehavior?
 

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schools have zero tolerance policies, and can expel kids almost at will. where do you live that your schools have to allow misbehavior?

Happens all the time here and as for your appeal to the zero tolerance policies did they work in this instance? No, they didn't because the girl committed suicide due to bullying in school. So much for zero tolerance.
 

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Happens all the time here and as for your appeal to the zero tolerance policies did they work in this instance? No, they didn't because the girl committed suicide due to bullying in school. So much for zero tolerance.

they work if they are enforced. clearly the school had no interest in enforcing those rules, hence the "loss" of the records.
 

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Happens all the time here and as for your appeal to the zero tolerance policies did they work in this instance? No, they didn't because the girl committed suicide due to bullying in school. So much for zero tolerance.

If the student in a public or private school does not identify the individuals involved, and if there is no evidence that the bullying actually occurred, it devolves into a he said/she said situation and nothing happens. A lot of bullying is covert and teachers don't see it, or if they do see it, they may not even realize what is going on. Kids calling each other names, they don't do that where teachers can hear, if they're at all smart. Kids make arrangements to fight off school grounds so they can't be suspended, as well.

Your claims that these things don't happen in private schools is simply too stupid to defend.

And, for the record, zero tolerance polices are one of the worst things to happen to schools since contracted school lunches. Zero tolerance policies often mandate specific sanctions that are inappropriate for a particular issue. Far better is to give administrators discretion to act within their best judgement. Zero tolerance policies have been an abysmal failure when it comes to reducing school violence & drug activity.

For the record: An in-school suspension is usually a MUCH WORSE punishment from a student perspective than an out of school suspension or expulsion.
 
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If the student in a public or private school does not identify the individuals involved, and if there is no evidence that the bullying actually occurred, it devolves into a he said/she said situation and nothing happens. A lot of bullying is covert and teachers don't see it, or if they do see it, they may not even realize what is going on. Kids calling each other names, they don't do that where teachers can hear, if they're at all smart. Kids make arrangements to fight off school grounds so they can't be suspended, as well.

Your claims that these things don't happen in private schools is simply too stupid to defend.

And, for the record, zero tolerance polices are one of the worst things to happen to schools since contracted school lunches.

Are you done putting words in my mouth and point out where I said that bullying does not happen in private schools?
 
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