A 15-year-old Staten Island girl threw herself in front of a bus just to put an end to the misery she endured from being bullied. I can only imagine what she had to go through mentally to reach that end. And sadly, I can only guess how many other preteens/teens will do the same this year.
The NY Daily News reports that Amanda Diane Cummings, 15, of Staten Island, was struck on December 27 by a city bus and passed away from her injuries on Monday. She was carrying a suicide note while struck.
According to the girl’s uncle, Keith Cummings, Amanda was “picked on by classmates at New Dorp High School and had her phone, shoes and jacket snatched.”
Unbelievably, bullies even posted heinous comments on her Facebook page while she lay fatally injured in Staten Island University Hospital.
Cummings wants justice:
“I’m not going to tolerate this. I’m gonna go full force. Kids can’t do this to each other.”
That’s exactly it. Why do we tolerate it? How can bullies get away with their actions? Do we blame the school, the parents of the bullies, both?
While it’s not apparent yet if this bullying was reported to school officials, we can’t yet place blame on the administration. Yet, although many schools say they have an anti-bullying policy, how many schools were informed time and time again about bullying in their school by students and parents, and the bullying continued? Just ask the family 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer. The bullies involved in this case received a mere suspension, even after “one of the students responsible for bullying Jamey, literally to death, said that she was glad that he committed suicide.” Then there is the case of Ashlynn Conner, a 10-year-old fifth-grader who committed suicide. Young Ashlynn herself reported the bullying to school officials and was ignored.
Of course, every situation is different just as every school is different. Some school officials were not clued in to bullying in many cases. Sometimes, parents aren’t even aware until it’s too late. But when there are reports of bullying, schools need to take it seriously and act swiftly every single time.
It is truly horrific that our kids are killing themselves because they are so mentally tortured by others simply because they stand out of the crowd, are gay, look different, seem nerdy to others, or, in the case of many girls, just aren’t part of the popular bunch. I just cannot believe how much worse it seems everyday. How many stories like these do we have to hear until something gets done?
And the big question is what do we all even do?
I don’t have the answers. Bullies are made at home, so how do we 1) recognize the would-be bullies and target their own self esteem before they begin bullying others? and 2) how do we enforce strict enough consequences so that when bullying is reported, there is one standard punishment that deters bullies from ever doing it again?
Surely, Facebook plays a huge role. Should we demand that Mark Zuckerberg hire moderators for offensive posts the way every other large media company does? That might deter the appeal of teens being nasty if they actually couldn’t spew their hatred onto a computer screen when they know everyone in their class is reading it. But even that wouldn’t be purely effective, if there was a way it ever could happen in the first place.
Most bullies are bullies because they feel bad about themselves and need to put someone else down so they feel better about their own lives.
Like I said, I don’t know what the answers are, but I am sick over these stories, just like most moms. What an utter senseless loss of a young life. I hope that the family of Amanda Cummings gets the justice they deserve.
Rest in peace, Amanda.
What do you think would be most effective in the fight against bullying?
Image: NY Daily News