After having first heard about the suicide of 13-year old Danny Fitzpatrick I found myself experiencing a myriad of emotions including sadness and anger. Sad for the loss of this bright and smiling child, sadness for the fear that this child must have felt day in and day out. Anger towards the bullies who targeted Danny and anger toward the adults at his school who were apparently deaf to Danny's not so silent screams. I can recall being bullied myself, pushed around, made fun of, left out and generally made to feel inferior. I can recall the terror I experienced walking out my front door knowing that in a matter of minutes I would have to come face to face with children who could have been demons from the abyss for all the terror they inspired in me. Unlike Danny, I was fortunate enough to have had teachers and administrators who offered the protection I so needed.
I simply cannot comprehend the terror that Danny must have felt to have believed that taking his own life was the only way out. Unfortunately, I don't need to comprehend because Danny left a heartbreaking note describing how he "begged and pleaded" with school staff who simply ignored his complaints. What was even worse, Danny's parents have reported that school administrators called the Administration for Child Services (ACS) to do an investigation due to conflicts with other students. It is simply appalling.
We as parents, as administrators, as teachers, role model's and empathetic human beings need to teach children better. Tell them that bullying of any kind is not in any way acceptable. We also need to teach our kids that if they feel unsafe, threatened or scared that they can trust us to help keep them safe.
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