This WAS Diego. Past tense. Diego is dead.
This first article linked here shows this photo and a small bit of the video of when he was violently attacked, leading to his eventual death. Be forewarned if you want to view the link that it could be upsetting to you or others. This thirteen year-old child had been bullied in person, on campus and on social media. He was sucker punched in the face by two other children, hit a pillar and is now brain dead, his family organizing organ donation before pulling him off of life support because he was BULLIED.
While this horrific incident happened in California, countless thousands of children are bullied every day across this country (and the world) and there have been many deaths because of it. Some of these tortured souls ended their own lives. I don’t need to put links to all the stories. All you have to do is search for it and you will find endless stories of grieving parents and communities. In the linked video above, a young boy talks about his own experience with bullying. He was bullied in elementary school for being heavyset, for having curly hair. It doesn’t matter who you are, if a bully wants at you, they will find a way to do it.
I read a lot of comments online after these incidents. Some are kind and expressing hurt and anger at what children are enduring. However, sometimes, I read some very disturbing comments as well asking what the kid did to provoke the fight. There is nothing I can possibly think of that warrants beating a thirteen year-old child to death. I understand that everyone is out for blood in these cases. They want answers, justice, retribution, revenge, change, etc…How many signs have to be put up that say “No bullying zone” that makes districts think that alone addresses this disease permeating our youth? Does the “No Smoking within 50 Feet of this Building” ever work? You can put up a sign everywhere, people have to read it and CARE enough to abide by it. This isn’t happening!
When are the parents of these children going to be taken to task for these incidents? If my child EVER participated in bullying of ANY kind, I would expect to be contacted, my child suspended or expelled and for ME to finance and support a change of educational venue, as well as counseling and other steps to get my child the help he or she needed in order to address what EVER made them think that bullying was a choice in the first place. I want to be notified and involved in a partnership with the entire issue in order to make sure I can do whatever is possible to find out why it happened and what I can do to make things right, to improve the situation so it never happens again.
Why do I feel this way? Because when my son was in middle school and he had a meltdown after being bullied (the kids used to kick/trip him, put signs on his back that said “kick me I’m a retard” and get him to cuss on the bus telling him they would be his friend and then say ‘syke’ and laugh at him as he got in trouble) they put him into a locked room and he tried to jump out of the THIRD STORY window and die. He told me he would rather die than go back. What the HELL do you say to your child who is 12 years old who would rather DIE than go to school? Well, I will never understand the agony that Diego’s family is going through right now, well my last is in 10th grade and has been bullied since 4th, so who knows, but something needs to change.
There are many types of bullying:
Also, social media bullying can be one of the most insidious because it reaches through a back door that goes beyond school, where kids can often find themselves alone in their home or room, getting bullied through an app or other form of social media. The CDC describes bullying as a form of youth violence. How many children like Diego need to DIE in order for there to be change? We are sending our children to overcrowded and underfunded schools and picking them up and dropping them off to and from homes with overworked parents and oftentimes situations where the children don’t have the support and love they need or a way to reach out and ask for help.
One Wisconsin school is taking bullying accountability to the next level by instituting fines for parents who do not get their child’s bullying in check. Once the wallet is on the table and up for grabs, it seems parents are willing to get involved at a deeper level. I would hope this catches on. My daughter’s school doesn’t have an anonymous way to report bullying, so when she was threatened by three girls who were going to STAB HER after school (8th grade), I pulled her out for the rest of the school year. Seeing your child shaking and crying, begging not to be sent back to school, thinking she would be MURDERED wasn’t enough for the school to do anything. They just told me where to go to download a form to set her up for homeschooling. Just like that and BYE! Good luck!
This past school year (now in 10th, back in school since 9th), she was once again bullied, told that she should kill herself. I went into immediate action and filled out an official bullying report form. I received a response via a call from the principal within 48 hours, an update on the process (barring revealing any personal information about the student doing the bullying that I wasn’t privy to) and a follow up form that detailed the investigation and resolution. That was a step in the right direction, but very public, so it wasn’t easy for me to do.
My daughter has autism and severe social anxiety, along with learning disabilities. Being in high school is extremely difficult for her. Thankfully, she has an open outlet with myself and the rest of her family. She has in-school counseling, as well as a psychiatrist who checks on her moods and well being every month. I am grateful to have this support and I know there are kids out there who do not have this type of support system.
I wish that typing a few paragraphs about bullying could change things and I hope that one person can find it in their hearts to do a good deed towards someone and how great it would be if that spread, but I am realistic and know this is a much bigger problem than most of us realize. Today, reading about Diego was very sad and I feel defeated. If I feel that way, I would only ever be able to imagine how his family and friends feel. When will enough be enough?