Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When Does it Stop?

Another young life lost!
11 year old Jaheem Herrera of Stone Mountain, Georgia, took his own life last week because his fellow classmates at Dunaire Elementary School harassed and bullied Herrera for thinking he was gay.
At what point do we (big generalization, and I really don't care) enough is enough? When does society stand-up and say it's not all right to bully? In recent weeks, two young kids have committed suicide as a direct result of bullying - see below italicized article. A few years ago, the famous MySpace incident, begun by an adult no less, caused a teen-age girl to kill herself. It has to stop.

We are not (at least I hope we're not) an ignorant society. We (well, some of us) are an intelligent group of individuals capable of compassion. At least I think we are. Articles like the one below, incidents like the ones mentioned below, truly test my faith in humanity.

Kids are kids, and kids are mean. It happens. Adults sit back and let them be mean. There comes a point, however, when adults must step in. The two incidents mentioned below are one of those points. Unfortunately, no one stepped in and two young lives were lost far too soon, all because some ignorant kids took the bullying to extremes.

Will the kids responsible feel guilty? Probably not. Will their parents? Probably not. The parents will just say oh, kids will be kids. Well, the kids learn from adults.

Now, what I haven't said so far, is that the kids were bullied because the other kids thought they were gay. Yes, some other kids thought an 11 year old was gay. Go figure. Did they know for sure? No. Did they care? No. Were the kids wrong in what they did? Yes. Did they probably think it was right because they see public figures bashing gays all the time? Yes! The fact is, the diatribes by public figures have a trickle-down effect to even the youngest members of society. I can hear it now - But, Mom, that pastor on TV said that homosexuality is wrong! Yes, I went there.

At some point, we as a society, need to get a grip. It is not okay to bully. It is not okay to discriminate. It is not okay to deny equality to people based on the way they were born.

Okay, I'm done. Read the article below.

He was just 11 years old!!!

Jaheem's 10-year-old sister discovered her brother hanging from a fabric belt in his bedroom, no longer alive.

Herrera's stepfather said homophobic bullies at school would taunt and name-call his stepson, a 5th grader, repeatedly calling him "gay and a snitch." The boy was even brave enough to tell teachers and faculty at his school about the harassment, but the bullying continued.
Jaheem's tragic loss comes just weeks after
the suicide of a Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, who also suffered bullying because classmates thought he was gay, attracted national attention.

He was 11 as well. His mother found him hanging from an extension cord in the family’s home.