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Are bullying campaigns working?

The 16-year-old El Paso teen committed suicide in June, 2012 after enduring two years of anti-gay bullying.
The 16-year-old El Paso teen committed suicide in June, 2012 after enduring two years of anti-gay bullying.
LGBT Nation

Just because people begin a campaign doesn't mean the bullying automatically stops. Still, wouldn't it be nice?

“Wouldn't it be nice if we were older, then we wouldn't have to wait so long? And wouldn't it be nice to live together in the kind of world where we belong.”

Did the Beach Boys get it right? After all, wouldn't it be nice?

It’s too late for some of the young children, like British Columbia teen, Amanda Todd, whose short life ended less than a week ago. Todd endured years of torment after issues that took place starting during her junior high school years. After switching to another school, the bullying continued online. Todd created a video that went viral across YouTube explaining her personal torment.

“Wouldn't it be nice if we could wake up in the morning when the day is new?”

For those who think no one cares about those kids who are bullied, just ask their friends and family members who are left with nothing but utter anguish. Ask a father who wants to throw his arm around his son and never will again. Ask a mother who absentmindedly makes too much for dinner because she forgot one will not be at the dinner table. Ask a little sister who no longer has their older sibling to tell them everything is going to be okay. After all, will it ever be the same for them again? How can a young child think everything will be okay when their older sibling couldn't take the bullying anymore because everything was not okay? Ask the grandparents who will no longer attend a high school graduation because their grandchild will never walk across the stage. Ask the family members who hate themselves for waking and thinking, ‘What a beautiful sunrise’ before it sinks in that they may never again fully appreciate any beautiful sunrise.

Imagine your daughter, your son, your best friend, your sister or brother…gone. Imagine you wanted to go tell them something but you can’t because they are gone. Imagine how that makes you feel, which is a mere pathetic fraction of the emotion you would feel if it were true.

Just type in #RIPAmanda on Twitter and you will get just a glimpse of the pain people feel who didn't even know this beautiful young girl.

Bullying affects 54% of the young population today. So, how effective are the anti-bullying campaigns? How much does it help to have anti-bullying month? When I was in high school, they would remove one student at a time from class to make students think, “What if that student died from drinking and driving?” Will bullying campaigns end up being an event to teach students? Are they really learning? Does it have to become personal for kids today to get it?

It may be difficult to put yourself in the shoes of those who are bullied. It’s not easy to think about going to school knowing you will do nothing but try to avoid the sheer and cruel ridicule you will experience from a multitude of students all day, only to find escape in the confines of your own home, hours later. Except, your home is no longer safe. The Internet has opened a new gateway for bullies to torment you across the social media networks.

“Happy times together we've been spending…”

I sit here and think about my own children. I think about the small bits of bullying they have already endured at such a young age. I can only hope they never experience it again. Fortunately, the problem was resolved long before it turned into something many young children and teenagers face. Still, having to convince a five-year-old little girl she is not a freak is no easy task. A boy called my daughter a freak because, he said, his mother told him she [my daughter] was a freak. Let me ask, how do you convince a five-year-old impressionable little girl who knows nothing but that the world is wonderful and amazing that she does belong?

If you think bullying doesn't sometimes stem from unsuspected areas, you are sorely mistaken. If you think bullying doesn't affect people, my friend, you couldn't be further from the truth.

“Wouldn’t it be nice…?”


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