Thursday, September 30, 2010

Parents Meet To Prevent Other Teen Suicides

Tehachapi Parents Working To Fight Back Against Bullying

POSTED: 8:46 pm PDT September 29, 2010
UPDATED: 9:18 am PDT September 30, 2010
The recent death of a Tehachapi teenager has prompted local people to try and find a solution to bullying at school. The parents of some of 13-year-old Seth Walsh's friends say he was openly gay, and that led to years of bullying, and ended in him taking his own life.Walsh has been immortalized on YouTube, in a video created by his best friend who prayed he would recover. But after reportedly hanging himself nine days ago, Seth died on Wednesday."All I know is that the tragedy happened," said Jamie Phillips, the father of Walsh's friend. "I don't know who did it, and I hope who did it understands what they did."
Walsh's family said they knew he was being bullied, but they didn't think they'd lose him because of it."He was a very unique and wonderful child and he left us too soon," said his grandmother, Judy Walsh. "But we are blessed because he was an organ donor and we found out he gave a heart. So he lives on, just not with us, and that's where we wish he were."Tehachapi parents came together Wednesday evening to try and find a way to fight back against the bullies and spark the school district into action, because they say not enough was done to save him.Some solutions they came up with were to have an online forum, and perhaps a confidential hotline for students to report bullying anonymously.One young woman at the meeting volunteered to act as a mediator at the schools so students would have someone young to confide in."I've been bullied myself because I've always been the different kid in school," she said. "I actually have been told to go kill myself, right in front of a teacher. And the teacher said nothing. And I didn't have anybody to talk to. So I am willing to be somebody to talk to."They also wanted harsher repercussions for educators if they know about a bullying situation and they don't act."Our school board has not been enforcing the education code, and as a result I lost a grandson," said Jim Walsh, Seth's grandfather."It's going to take a long time for healing," Phillips said. "This is a terrible thing that's happened. So let's wake up, and start doing something about it."If you, or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or tendencies, call the Kern County Mental Health Crisis hotline at 800-991-5272. It's available 24 hours a day.


Jabacue said...

This is such a shame. What a waste of a beautiful life.
I was bullied in school a bit but what it did to me was push me deeper in the closet. I learned very early how to act 'straight' which probably saved me a lot of grief. It was even more difficult as my best friend was also gay and more 'obvious' than me. Of course we didn't know at the time we were gay. But very aware that we were 'different' from the other guys.
Yes, this must stop! Our culture has to evolve and get beyond this stupidity!

Gary Kelly said...

There are two sets of parents I'm aware of who will never know that their respective sons almost succeeded in a suicide pact at age 15. The boys were lovers and couldn't bear to be separated when one set of parents decided to move to another country. At the last possible moment, one of the boys remembered something I wrote, and it saved both their lives. It took a long time before my friend told me about that incident, and my indirect involvement, because he was too ashamed.

But my friend went on to live a happy and fulfilling life. He was also bullied at school. So he took up boxing hehe. And I'm here to tell you, there were a lot of bullies at his school who came off second best and wished they'd never given him cheek.

The thing to always remember is that bullies must never be allowed to win. Never, never, never.

jimm said...

When i was bullied and suicidal, I was just so buried in my own emotional cesspool. My soul felt empty. Every meaningful moment of my life was stripped away.

It was the loneliest i have ever felt.

Gary Kelly said...

Jimm: if you had your time over again, would you allow those bullies to have so much control over you?

jimm said...

Gary, with the knowledge i have now, no, i wouldn't allow them to manipulate me.

But everyone ask yourself, what makes a bullie?

Why does one become a bullie?

Faced with a confrontation, how would you defuse a bullie?