Emergency Measures To Withstand Bullying: Parents Alarmed After 9-Year-Old Bullying Victim From Denver Takes His Own Life

Date August 28, 2018

The news about the death of 9-year-old boy from Denver, who took his own life after being bullied for being gay, resonated all over the world. His mother, Leia Pierce, told FOX 31 Denver that her son had confessed to her over the summer and received strong support from her. He felt like telling his classmates at Joe Shoemaker Elementary School as well. Their reaction was not so encouraging, though.

9-year-old Jamel Myles came to his sister in tears and told her about the school bullying. Some peers told him to kill himself. The tragedy happened only 4 days after the beginning of a school year. Jamel took his own life. According to a study, sexual minorities are more likely to attempt suicide because of social attacks and pressure.

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Pierce, grieving over the loss of her son, wants to spread awareness about the fatal consequences of bullying.

We should have accountability for bullying. I think the child should. Because the child knows it’s wrong. The child wouldn’t want someone to do it to them. I think the parent should be held because obviously the parents are either teaching them to be like that, or they’re treating them like that.

School bullying has become so common that it gets overlooked and neglected. The team of social workers, when the school has one, does not always manage to spot the sufferers of verbal and physical violence.

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Glennon Doyle Melton, who is a mother and a teacher herself, shared a brilliant technique that helps identify potential bullying victims in a classroom. She learned it from another teacher, Kathy Pitt, who had been doing it for years.

She writes in her blog:

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

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This way, any teacher may notice a pattern. The child who is never picked for a favorite one is most likely struggling with loneliness and lack of social interaction, which makes him an easy target for offenders.

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This method is simple, yet it’s effective in preventing bullying in the classroom. In addition, teachers must remember the non-crowded and secluded locations suitable for an attack far from the eyes of witnesses.

But since it all starts at home, the families need to do substantial work to prepare the kids to confront bullying.

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It is essential to teach children to portray confidence while being under attack. Psychology Today recommends using verbal and non-verbal communication that radiates fearlessness and resilience. Staying connected to their friends and building their own support team can make a child feel safer, as bullies often aim to isolate a target from the rest.

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When the attacks start with a subtle mild teasing, it's the very time to crush them in the bud. 

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It helps to practice a non-emotional tone, long eye contact, and assertiveness both in words and body language. By not preparing them for a possible attack, you leave your child at risk of the negative effects of bullying.

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