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Society needs to be aware of dire effects of bullying

Sept. 29 was Bullycide Awareness Day.

Imagine these things happenings in our workplace:

- Being harassed, humiliated, tormented everyday, being shoved in the hallway, or quietly eating lunch and being knocked from our chair.

- Imagine being told if you defend yourself you will be fired but your attackers are allowed back the next day to do it all over again.

In the adult world these crimes have names. Society uses different terms for these offenses when our children are the victims. We must pose the question to law enforcement, to school administrators and to our society, "At what age does teasing become harassment, taunting become tormenting, following-stalking, punching, assaulting, or a fight become a battery or a beating?"

Some children will leave school, hometown or turn to substance abuse and self medicate to escape the torment, humiliation, pain and suffering. Some will lose all self-confidence and always believe that there must be something wrong with them; that they deserve it like everyone said. Some children will leave this world to escape their living hell on this earth, as their pain is with them wherever they go.

Other children will learn to accept the physical and/or psychological injuries inflicted upon them "just for fun." They won't question "the system" or why they were not allowed to get a public education "just because" someone didn't like the way they dressed, the way they looked, the music they listened to, were really intelligent or struggled to learn. Or maybe the "bullies" used even better excuses like they thought they were a Satanist, gay/straight, rich or poor, etc.

"Bullies" have said they were "just having fun." When parents watched their son or daughter die a slow and painful death, saw the sparkling light of joy, love and hope in their big, beautiful eyes slowly replaced with the darkness of pain, devastation and hopelessness. The time they told their parents they felt "dead inside," and the day the parents stood over their dead child, knowing that despite all efforts to save their beloved child, the "bullies" mission had been accomplished. Suffice to say that through all this, the children and all of us who love them were not having fun.

As tragic as all of these deaths are, the greater tragedy is if society doesn't stop to look at the reasons and pause for a moment to see all the victims.

Sandra Kingbird