Friday, April 24, 2009

"Bullied to Death"

The month of April has brought two sad tragedies to the nation's attention.Recently, Jaheem Herrera, 11, of DeKalb County, GA was found dead in his bedroom closet. His death follows that of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover (also age 11) of Springfield, MA, who hanged himself in his home after enduring constant bullying at school. Much of the harassment and bullying both young boys experienced was based on their perceived orientation, as well as other factors.

And now communities, families and educators across the country are wondering what they can do to help stop this epidemic of bullying, and help create safer schools.

PFLAG National's Safe Schools Coordinator Suzanne Greenfield weighed in in today's issue of The Southern Voice (SOVO).

With expert agreeing that bullying presents a major hazard to the health and education of young people, Suzanne shares with SOVO her thoughts.

From today's article:

PFLAG chapters, including several in Georgia, try to work with school districts to make them aware of issues gay students may face as well as work to offer resources to educators to help them understand LGBT issues.

PFLAG wants educators to be comfortable discussing LGBT issues because the health of their students rely on them being informed, Greenfield said. And part of being informed is recognizing there is a distinct difference between sexual orientation and sex and therefore should not be treated as a scary subject.

“Sex is not what we are talking about — we are talking about bullying,” [Greenfield] said.

“Teachers deal with racial, ethnic, poverty discrimination. Teachers know how to deal with this. My experience is teachers want to do what’s right and want their students to learn. But those who don’t feel safe don’t learn.”


mikey said...

I really like this article it was really sad. Too bad teachers never do anything. Teachers let people get harrassed and, they don't do anything at all. They let it happen and don't care. I have stayed home before, because I was so scared to go back. Its my senior year I'm not worried about something happening. The guy who always harrassed me is in jail for a year so I have time to get out of East Tawas, Michigan. Gay people shouldn't have to die. We gay people are all the same. Everytime someone in the gay community dies, a part of us die too. Just think about that before you pick that weapon up, and plan to beat up or kill that gay person. God loves us no matter what.

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