David Phan was a well-liked 14-year-old. Friends called him
sweet and kind. School officials say they hadn’t heard anything connecting him
to bullying behavior for the last few years, and that counselors had been
checking in with him routinely ever since. Everyone thought he was just fine.
But last Thursday, David shot himself in front of his
school, in front of his peers. So something must have been wrong.
The Huffington Post
reports that one classmate said she heard people talking about him. And now,
schools across the nation are looking at a problem far more rampant than
physical bullying: verbal bullying, and verbal harassment. Sure, the saying
goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” But
sometimes, words do hurt. Sometimes, words can drive people to the brink.
The thing about words, though, is that we can stop them.
Start with yourself. The next time you say something even vaguely mean about
someone, force yourself to stop. Chastise yourself. Then counter it with something
positive about that same person.
Not sure if what you’re saying or thinking counts as
bullying? Consider this: What if you heard someone saying something like
that…but about you? Would you be hurt? Would it make you sad or mad? If so,
it’s something you shouldn’t be saying—ever.
Once you’ve started to correct your own behavior, it’s time
to start adjusting your friends’. The next time a bud says something judgmental
about another guy or gal, tell her flat-out that you wish she wouldn’t say
things like that. Take her through the same exercise of imagining someone had
said those mean things about her. Would she like it? Probably not.
Now keep going. Spread the no-bullying movement through your
social circle, to your classmates, the kids you babysit for, the kids on your
volleyball team, your parents and cousins. Even if you change just one person’s
outlook, you’ll be doing a world of good.
Can you think of any better cause to take up this season? We
Tell us your stories
babe: Have you ever heard someone say something mean about you? Do you say mean
stuff about other people? How are you going to stop the cycle?
BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 12/3/2012 3:59:00 PM
POSTED IN bullying 101, how to deal with a bully, dealing with gossip, kick a bad habit, In the News, bullying