“He’s tired of everybody always messing with him in school. He’s tired of telling everybody about the problems. And they never do nothing about it, so the only out is by killing himself,” says mother Masika Bendez.
She shares the pain that forced her son to take his own life. Tired of the gay slurs, her son Jaheem hanged himself last month. Teenagers know how cruel bullies can be. Three out of four high school students say they’ve been bullied at school.
But, it’s not the way it used to be. Bullies no longer challenge you to fight at the flagpole after school. They’ve taken they’re fight online and on their cell phones. Now, bullies use MySpace, Facebook, and text messages to terrorize their victims. Even though most cyber-bullying takes place off-campus, school officals consider it bullying and take action. Desert Sands Unified School District uses an anyonomous tipline kids can report bullying. The district hands out fliers with information on how to get help. They also have counselors, like Denise Muller, who help victims and the bullies.
“It’s like somebody bullies you and you go home and kick the dog. Well, sometimes it’s happened to them and they’re taking it out on others. So, they need help as much as anyone,” says Muller.
Desert Sands Unified School District’s Security Chief Jeff Kaye says parents need to take an active role in their child’s lives.
“Teachers, schools, school administrators –they can’t be inside every kid’s head. The kid goes home and, if the parents don’t stay involved in what they’re doing, it might not surface,” says Kaye.
Major signs of school bullying include staying home from school and depression. Parents need to watch for the warning signs. Don’t ignore them. So, another child, like Jaheem, isn’t bullied to death.