Saving Our Youth, One Person at a Time

By Ivana Kosir

With the NAMES assembly occurring only just last week and with the recent suicides of taunted students of all ages across the country, the topic of bullying is being talked about more than ever before. And quite frankly, it should be.

I know most of us, including myself, are sick of hearing and reading about what bullying and its effects on people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important, but too much of something is never a good thing. So I’m promising you, the reader, that this column will be different, as it won’t lecture you on what to do, but rather tell you what I think would be right to do.

If you haven’t watched the news, or read any kind of news publication in the last few weeks, you probably haven’t heard of Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old gay student at Rutgers University who committed suicide after his private sexual actions were documented by tape and posted on the internet. Clementi wasn’t the only gay person who committed suicide as a result of bullying. Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old in California, hanged himself in his own backyard after he couldn’t tolerate the bullying at school any longer. Clementi and Walsh are only a few out of the many that chose suicide as the best way out.

Has it really come down to this?

Think about it. An eighth grader killed himself. Niles West students, place yourself in his shoes. You wouldn’t be reading this right now if you died at the age of 13.

So what if they’re different? Everyone is different in one way or another, and just because you don’t like the way they’re different doesn’t make it okay to bully them. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. You don’t have to agree with them, but you should respect them. Key word: respect. Just because Clementi was gay doesn’t give his roommate a reason to publicly embarrass him like that.  If everyone just accepted others and moved on, we wouldn’t have lost the victims to our bullying.

I understand that bullying happens all the time and that everyone has either been the victim or the bully at one point. I’m not going to tell you that bullying has to stop and whatever because that’s like saying global warming must stop. It’s virtually impossible to entirely eliminate both as they’re so ubiquitous, but if we all just stopped to think and accept for a moment, maybe we could save a few lives here and there.