On the homepage of my computer was a story today about a 9 year old boy. He was from West Virginia. Normally my eyes would’ve passed right by if it wasn’t for the fact that he resembled my nephew. Because of this I went on to read the story. Part of me wishes I hadn’t.
On September 10, 2016 it was National Suicide Prevention Day. It was also the day this adorable 9 year old boy was found hanging in his room. He was dead when his sister found him.
The boy’s biological grandmother had guardianship of him. She says that he was often bullied at school but handled it with humor or if he really had to he would fight. Recently though he had become more withdrawn than usual. His grandmother tried to get him to open up to her but he wouldn’t.
The school says the family never reported the bullying. They’re still “looking into it”.
His hair is dark blond, he has a too large forced grin on his face and there is something in his eyes that I recognize. There is a look of suppressed anger, despair and resignation.
Society sees bullying with boys in a different way. When my brother was younger and bullied by older kids in the neighborhood he was expected to fight back. If he didn’t he was told that it would just get worse. One day 5 of them came to our house. I remember it was snowing. My brother was about 13 at the time but was already taller and bigger than the children around him. The problem was my mother had taught him to be polite and respectful. Unfortunately other parents had not done the same. It had gotten so bad that to this day I can’t watch Full Metal Jacket without thinking of my brother and what he went through. I feel sick. But on this one day everything changed. Those 5 boys left on their hands and knees wondering what the hell had just happened. They had unleashed a monster that could never be put back. I hate to say it but my father helped. These “boys” were older and bigger and brought sticks, belts, and socks filled with rocks. 5 against 1 mind you. It was because he was so much bigger and older looking but never used his size that they singled him out. It sounds absurd but it was true. It was all downhill for him from there.
Once he realized his new found power he used it constantly to intimidate everyone around him. His teachers were frightened of him and my father felt defensive. My mother always had the attitude ” I brought you into this world I can take you out”. Not helpful. He was difficult to live with. He’s still a bully.
I was also bullied. In a small way after taking it for so many years I became like my brother. This was only when I drank. I never could’ve done it sober. That’s the sad part. Even now I can’t stand up for myself and I’ve been sober for years. I’ve joked to my bestfriend after someone has hurt me that I was going to the bar to do a couple of shots, then going back to tell them off. She knows I won’t and understands how difficult it is for me. But we can at least laugh about it.
My nephew was bullied last year. He’s the smallest in his class. Another child hit him as hard as he could between his shoulder blades. My nephew threw up and had a bruise in the shape of a hand. He started having stomach problems, nightmares, and didn’t want to go to school at all. The child that hit him has behavioral problems and has an adult that supposedly supervises him in the classroom at all times. This is in addition to the teacher. I would like to know where both of them were. His problems are due to the fact that his parents are in the middle of a divorce, his mother is an alcoholic with mental health issues, and neither spends any actual time with him.
I can’t blame the children. These behaviors are learned. To drive another child into feeling so hopeless that their only choice is to remove themselves from this world is deplorable.
I know there has to be a solution. I just don’t see a solution to a problem that has been happening since the dawn of the time, happening soon. That doesn’t mean we do nothing in the mean time.