Argh, another sad story of teen bullying and an indifferent school district. - DG
Flour Bluff student commits suicide: family blames school district for not addressing bullying
A year after the Flour Bluff Independent School District received national attention for refusing to allow students to form a Gay Straight Alliance, the district is accused of not handling bullying that led to a former student’s suicide on Sunday.
Ted Molina, 16, faced bullying since fifth grade from a group of boys who used racial epithets and threatened to fight him. Molina’s mother is Asian. The family blames the school district for not handling the bullying properly, his aunt told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
Molina played football in middle school, but quit his freshman year hoping the taunting would stop. When it continued, he withdrew from Flour Bluff High School on March 5. While he seemed to improve, he posted several grim photos of himself on Facebook hours before he killed himself in his bedroom. He did not leave a note. [continue]
Maybe I’m naive but I don’t believe this kind of bullying was as prevalent twenty years ago as it is today. The interesting question for me is what role social media has in cases of bullying. If kids couldn’t use social media to easily spread their taunts would bullying be as widespread and damaging as it currently is?
I was in elementary school 20 years ago, and distinctly remember cases of bullying based on race, language, and physical and mental ability.
I don't think bullying is any more widespread than it was then, rather I suspect it's a lot more visible to people who might not otherwise be aware of it via social media. We also enjoy an unprecedented ability to access local news who typically cover these sorts of events, perhaps leading to the illusion bullying is becoming more common.
The sad thing is this has been happening all along and no one did anything about it. Social media becomes a double edged sword; it has dramatically raised awareness of bullying and suicide, while making it easier to bully.
When my friends and I were the targets of bullying, the bullies would phone us to threaten us with assault or murder, or even come to our houses to vandalize the property, perhaps threaten a family member. Was Ted the target of similar crimes that were brushed aside, or shamefully hidden? That's what really concerns me.
I suspect it's a lot more visible to people who might not otherwise be aware of it via social media.
I think that that is true for a lot of things. Do natural disastes happen more, or are we just more aware of them? Does child abuse happen more, or is it just more visible? When it comes to bullying, the answer, of course, depends on what you believe about human nature.
I reject any romanticized notions of the "good ol' days," as there have always been bullies. But is it worse today than before? That's really, really difficult to say. In the past most cities and towns were, quite naturally, much smaller in population. They were also less diversified, and more segregated. So people knew one another and were around other people who were like them -- in belief, income level, race, etc.
In today's world, we are surrounded by a lot more people we simply don't know. And there is a lot more diversity and cultural mixing, which potentially means a lot more opportunities to fixate on the "otherness" of other people, which can itself be a motivation to bully.
In this case posted here, some of the motivation seems to be based on race.
Sarah and Dallas,
You both make excellent points. While it’s certainly true that terrible things went on in the past I think Dallas’s point about there being more overall opportunity to bully is a really good one. Having said that, I do believe that social media has made things worse. Now when a kid sees something they want to tease someone about they can take a picture or write a post and within seconds hundreds of other kids will have access to the taunt. I have also read several stories where kids used social media to arrange times to fight or strategies to bully. This does not mean that I’m opposed to social media. Like everything else it’s a good tool that can be abused in the wrong hands.
Now when a kid sees something they want to tease someone about they can take a picture or write a post and within seconds hundreds of other kids will have access to the taunt.
You're right. It does make it easier to embarass or shame people. I'm not sure why people feel the need to take pictures of people and humiliate them in this way. We have no sense of other people's right to privacy.
Whether it is covertly recording/photographing someone, or blatantly and callously posting a bad photo, it just isn't right.