A 15-year-old’s suicide note has left members of her Pickerington, Ohio community wondering what made her take her own life. The New York Daily News reports that Cora Delille’s last written words included the phrase, “thanks for all the pain.”
The young teen girl was found last week in her bedroom, after killing herself. Her note mentioned some of those who she said bullied her by name, and one of the names was an ex-boyfriend who broke up with her just the night before her death.
Cora Delille had kept the painful story she suffered hidden from her teachers and parents, although she had stated in her suicide note that she believed she was unloved by her mother, father and step-father.”She mentioned here and there when kids made fun of her. She didn’t clue me in to how bad it was,” Amy Hall, Delille’s mother said.
Police interviewed the students mentioned in Cora Delille’s suicide note, but they told the Dispatch that nothing the teens did, which included name-calling and rumor-starting, is worthy of prosecution.
Just Name Calling, Slander, No Crime, Says Police
Pickerington police Commander Matt Delp said…. There is nothing that law enforcement can do with this case.” And so another fail for the Jessica Logan Act passed by the Governor in 2013 to be reactive and proactive against bullying, especially online and within the Ohio Schools! The Act mandates that schools have to be accountable for bullying on their premises and also when the students conduct bullying on the internet.
The Jessica Logan Act against Bullying, 2013
Since the passing of the Governor’s Jessica Logan Act to combat bullying among teens, little has been shown to be positive reinforcement for any actual actions on the part of law enforcement or school officials to give credence to any anti-bullying legislation having clout. There have been debates in the media as advocates on both sides of the bullying issues declare either that the schools are behind the times and need to affect anti-bullying education and policies with sharp teeth in them, and the opposite side, which believe finding schools accountable will leave Ohio schools open to law suits when a bullying incident ends in a crime or suicide.
The most positive reinforcement of anti-bullying laws and punishment for perpetrators has been gleaned from the CNN Town Hall presentation of Anderson Cooper, “Bullying: It Stops Here” broadcast. Videos are available online of the show’s outstanding points and suggestions for solution.
CNN Study – Anderson Cooper Broadcast
CNN’s Anderson Cooper had a very insightful special report “Bullying: It Stops Here,” In October, 2013, which featured earth shaking research that truly shows bullying at its core. The results cut through the traditional attempt at wisdom that has done little to effectively address the problem of bullying. CNN commissioned University of California sociologists Dr. Robert Faris and Dr. Diane Felmlee to conduct the study, which examined the dynamics and root causes of bullying. The result is one of the most important and nuanced studies ever conducted on bullying and aggression, and available online for every educator and parent to read.
The findings overturn how our culture understands what aggressors and victims look like, and who we blame. Bullies don’t have to be emotionally disturbed or come from bad families.. They look like any normal kid, which is why it is harder for parents and educators to acknowledge the behavior. However, the way kids go after each other is universal. They humiliate someone based on anything known or imagined. The consequence of bullying is still isolation, anxiety, and low self-esteem, all resulting in despair.
Homosexuality is still a key target for bullying, whether actual, imagined or known to be the sexual orientation of the victim. The bully also targets good grades, poor grades, weight, height, ethnicity and religious persuasion. The perpetrator is an all-powerful entity and throws his power about like flaming balls to torture, harass, frighten and destroy his or her victim. The bully is as often a girl or group of girls today as a male or group of males. No one is exempt from being a bully, and no one is blessed to not be wary of becoming a victim.
More often than not, the sexual ardor of teen romance is the cause of one person becoming a bully and another the victim, as hurtful lies and slanderous rumors are generated to ruin the victim’s reputation and friendships. Another causative element is the fact that parents give teens cell p hones, computers and other electronic apps that make harassment and bullying through the internet incredibly easy and usually anonymous. Both parents and educations can help this situation by educating teens on the legality of what they do on the internet, and the criminal charges they can face if they cross the line.
Friends and Peers Usually Abandon Victim
Due to fear of becoming the next bullying victim, the friends and close associates of victims usually do not come forward to offer support or corroborating testimony. Instead, they have often joined forces with the bully against their friend, the victim. The responsibility falls not only onto the school systems over these students, but to the home relationships that should foster trust, caring and openness to guarantee that a teen will tell the parents, teachers and authorities exactly how they are being harassed and bullied. If the victim feels estranged from the parents and that they would not support him or her, the victim should be open in this concern to the parents in question. Many times parents do not realize the messages they are giving out into the family environment that would discourage their teenager from confiding serious issues to them.
This is the primary responsibility of anyone who has care of children and teens as their responsibility, be it as parent or teacher or organizational official. If you have succeeded in other aspects of this responsibility but failed at solving a bullying atmosphere and incident, then you have failed totally. How can educators or parents rejoice when one student excels and wins a scholarship, when another student classmate commits suicide due to tortuous bullying? The support and guidance of parents and educators belongs to all students and to withhold them is tantamount to absence of value and complete indifference to their chosen calling.
Schools across the Americas are taking the helm of beginning anti-bullying programs to influence the students to initiate a sharing and caring attitude toward each other. The friendly support shown to each student is an offset to any bullying that might try to raise its head. These programs are not just for the elementary school and high school students, but also for organizational groups such as Boys Clubs, Girls Clubs, Scouting and religious teen groups.
Can kindness and dignity be adjudicated?
Bullying has received a significant amount of attention following a number of high-profile school shootings and related incidents of violence in the late 1990 and early 2000 school years. Indescribable massacres have occurred and left a nation in shock and confused. Bullying is a life and death serious issue and worthy of attention, awareness and action. The issue of bullying has become a hot topic in the school safety field. Bullying is one threat of many on a broad continuum of potential school safety threats. Bullying is one of many factors which must be taken into consideration in developing safe school prevention, intervention, and enforcement plans. Anti-bullying efforts and initiatives are one of many strategies that should be in a school safety program. Bullying is neither a stand-alone, single cause for all school violence, nor is bullying prevention alone a magic wand cure-all for school violence.
Thinking Persons Agree
However, thinking persons believe bullying should be, and typically already is, addressed in school student behavior codes. School climate strategies should include prevention of bullying.
In a study conducted by psychiatrists at The Menninger Clinic in Houston, nearly half of elementary school teachers admitted to bullying students. Most attributed it to a lack of classroom discipline, according to one news report on the study!
Dr. Ronald Pitner, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis, concluded that schools must focus on the physical context of the school. Dr. Pitner noted that bullying and school violence in general typically occur in predictable areas within schools, specifically unmonitored areas leaving the probability of assault high. He stated that schools can cut down on violence if they identify the specific trouble spots where violence is likely. “Although this approach will not completely eliminate bullying, research has shown that it would at least cut down on the areas where violence is likely to occur,” he was attributed as saying. His recommendation: “This focus underscores the importance of viewing school bullying as both an individual- and organizational-level phenomenon.”
These studies reinforce that having firm, fair and consistent discipline enforcement in our schools reduces crime and violence. School climate improvement plans should also include anti-bullying strategies that foster caring and sharing of each other’s concerns, and giving support to one another.. This can eventually reduce the likelihood of bullying, disciplinary violations, violence and school crime.
Perhaps it will reduce teen suicides as a celebrated bonus. Perhaps future Cora Deliles and Jessica Logans will be spared.