Bullied to death?

There are 20 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Jul 9, 2009, titled Bullied to death?. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

You knew someone like Iain Steele in high school. You winced or snickered or turned away in fear when the bullies descended, to torment him and push him around or make merciless fun of his name or his clothes or his accent or .. . Steele was shoved into lockers.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

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Griff

Rock Island, IL

#1 Jul 9, 2009
Been there, done that. But the really insidious part, the part that REALLY makes you feel helpless and worthless...is that every time you've just had enough and are about to EXPLODE and just whale like crazy on anything you can get your fists in contact with...there's always some "ADULT" authority figure who shows up, admonishes the punks who are causing the trouble in the first placte to "PLAY NICE" as they call it, and then you get the "It takes a bigger man to walk away from a fight" spiel. Yeah! Right! when those A**h**** had you cornered 5 minutes earlier they were planning to kill and rob you, now you find yourself getting reprimanded for DARING to stand up and try to defend yourself. these bleeding heart Hom** need to do the world a favor and just find the nearest 300 foot cliff and jump off of it. Because when a bunch of bullies start in on you, they're not gonna let you just "Walk away"! I'd like to see these D**chebags that recommend this tack try to survive for an hour on the south end of Chicago. Vay Con Dios A-holes! STUPID!
Tribulated

Des Plaines, IL

#2 Jul 10, 2009
I really do not understand the focus of this article on the plight of the bully. I would a lot rather see some more emphasis in this country on the school's responsibility of ensuring a safe environment for learning. If we can close a school because it underperforms on standardized testing, then we should definitely be closing schools because the kids who go there are too chronically terrorized to learn. Every school has security guards and school officials and functionaries in the halls every day. Where are they when this kind of behavior takes place? If this country is serious about improving the schools, I just don't see how guaranteeing a safe environment for students is not right at the core of that mission.
Boyle Fan

Chicago, IL

#3 Jul 10, 2009
Do we give a rat's behind about the bullies? Heck no, they can off themselves for all I care. I care about those being bullied and if we concentrate on protecting those that cannot protect themselves, the bullies will fade away into the rat hole they belong in. Kids know exactly what they do when they bully and those that stand by do it because they don't want to be the victim. Perhaps if they are all forced to read "Lord of the Flies" at an early age, or better yet, photos of the victims, kids that have killed themselves to end the hell they were living in.

I hope that Iain's family can find some peace. To those kids at his school, shame on you all, everyone of you that looked the other way or mocked him,you need to live with this.
thingy

Terre Haute, IN

#4 Jul 10, 2009
This is an issue that needs to be addressed.
When adults just tell you it will make you stronger, and hand you a line of crap, then you know you are on your own.
Being bullied is traumatizing, and it carries with you for the rest of your life.
I'm sick of people saying to fight back.
There is a better way, and adults better start dealing with it.
Todd

United States

#5 Jul 10, 2009
The "bullies" from my middle school and high school sat in the corner on a bar stool with their fat guts hanging out while drinking away their pathetic lives at the 10 year high school reunion. Those of us taunted by these pieces of human debris got the last laugh.

Anyone getting picked on needs to hang in there - life gets much better after school and the tables turn quickly. The bullies turn into the losers they've always been and it drives them crazy knowing they'll never recapture their glory days in school.
Mike

Chicago, IL

#6 Jul 10, 2009
The only people who refuse to admit what bullying can do are school principals, administrators and teachers.
They won't admit it happens because then they would be forced to stop it. That would take work and would make them make value judgements about these situations, in other words it would be their responsibility.
They will never do anything and kids will keep being bullied.
FLH

Grand Rapids, MI

#7 Jul 10, 2009
Schools and parents need to do more. You can't tell a kid being bullied to just 'hang in there' and 'turn the other cheek'. For many of them, their bullies are with them, year, after year, after year... I know mine where there, from 2nd grade all the way until my sophomore year of high school. Junior High was absolute hell on earth. That is what, a decade of being mercilessly bullied? Would an adult stay in a job or a relationship for that long if that was the treatment he/she was receiving? Of course not, and no one would expect them too. But we expect our kids to take it and deal with it.

Parent's of bullies SHOULD care what their kid is doing. It's not 'cute' its not 'kids will be kids' and its not,'hey my kid is strong, survival of the strongest!' This behavior will translate into your child growing up to be friendless, miserable and probably increases his/her chances of being a drug addict, alcoholic or criminal, because all they know is how to 'be bad' and they don't sustain friendships that can change their attitude about life.

So when it's YOUR kid in nursery school who is constantly grabbing toys away from others, smacking other kids, and pushing them down on the playground, THAT is the time you step in and correct that behavior. NOT when they are in high school, tormenting kids like Iain literally to death, and when you are informed about it, react,'Oh not MY puuuwfect widdle angel-wangel!' WAKE UP PARENTS. It all comes back to you! You literally, reap what you sew.

OSD

Since: Jan 09

Schaumburg, IL

#8 Jul 10, 2009
I remember the days I was bullied. I was the only hispanic kid in a class of all white kids. I was also one of the smallest, since I was also one of the youngest. It was awful. But one day they needed one more guy to play a game of football at recess. I volunteered. Yes, I volunteered to play with the very bullies that made my school days miserable. They said ok, we had a fun game, and my bullied days were over.

Bullies pick on easy targets. The less you resist, the more you get picked on. Stand up for yourself. Find friends with common ground. If you are embarassed of your funny name, you'll get picked on. The more embarassed you are, the more you'll get picked on.

I'm sorry to hear about the passing of this young man. Perhaps a stronger spine would have been more useful than empty rhetoric.
Shame

Glen Ellyn, IL

#9 Jul 10, 2009
Treat people the way you want to be treated. We speak about "In God We Trust" relating to our country but we don't stand up for the rights of individuality. We scoff and make fun of.

It makes me think of the recent passing of Michael Jackson. He was famous as can be until his belief about what love is became "odd" and "strange." Agape love is what God is. Unconditional. It has been repeated over and over by people who knew him best how genuinely kind he was. We couldn't take Michael at his word because we are, at heart, a cynical and mean people. It was easier to believe he was a pedophile than believe he was victim of those who took advantage of his kindness.

Iain was probably similar. He marched to the beat of his own drum and because of that, was tortured thoughout his young life. He may have had other issues we'll never know about, but under what circumstances is it ever ok to be abusive? When is it ever ok to make someone else feel less than?

I hope that some day those who felt it necessary to be unkind to Iain realizes their part in his demise and work to change for the better.
thingy

Terre Haute, IN

#10 Jul 10, 2009
OSD wrote:
I remember the days I was bullied. I was the only hispanic kid in a class of all white kids. I was also one of the smallest, since I was also one of the youngest. It was awful. But one day they needed one more guy to play a game of football at recess. I volunteered. Yes, I volunteered to play with the very bullies that made my school days miserable. They said ok, we had a fun game, and my bullied days were over.
Bullies pick on easy targets. The less you resist, the more you get picked on. Stand up for yourself. Find friends with common ground. If you are embarassed of your funny name, you'll get picked on. The more embarassed you are, the more you'll get picked on.
I'm sorry to hear about the passing of this young man. Perhaps a stronger spine would have been more useful than empty rhetoric.
You had me, until your last sentence.
Some kids do not know how to get out of a bad situation.
Adults need to step up, and listen, and act, so that kids do not have to suffer.
You found a way.
Some kids never do.
Rob

Chicago, IL

#11 Jul 10, 2009
Todd's comments are an example of why the bullies themselves need help also....they are already steeped in a level of negative energy as to behave the way they do. And it should start with the parents, but it's also often caused BY them. Shame's bringing Jackson into this is entirely inappropriate and misplaced!! I would bet anything that Iain did not bring children into his bed....I'm sorry but no matter how you look at that, even if there was no actual direct abuse of those kids, there was still damage caused by that! I hope more adults work harder to support the kids in trouble, on both sides of the fence. RIP Iain.
Ron

Chicago, IL

#12 Jul 10, 2009
Griff wrote:
Been there, done that. But the really insidious part, the part that REALLY makes you feel helpless and worthless...is that every time you've just had enough and are about to EXPLODE and just whale like crazy on anything you can get your fists in contact with...there's always some "ADULT" authority figure who shows up, admonishes the punks who are causing the trouble in the first placte to "PLAY NICE" as they call it, and then you get the "It takes a bigger man to walk away from a fight" spiel. Yeah! Right! when those **** h**** had you cornered 5 minutes earlier they were planning to kill and rob you, now you find yourself getting reprimanded for DARING to stand up and try to defend yourself. these bleeding heart Hom** need to do the world a favor and just find the nearest 300 foot cliff and jump off of it. Because when a bunch of bullies start in on you, they're not gonna let you just "Walk away"! I'd like to see these D**chebags that recommend this tack try to survive for an hour on the south end of Chicago. Vay Con Dios A-holes! STUPID!
You need help!
Boy George

Chicago, IL

#13 Jul 10, 2009
"In the longer term, those who do the bullying are less likely to finish school, hold a steady job or enjoy a stable adult relationship,"
Or they become cops.
Not on the agenda

Des Plaines, IL

#14 Jul 10, 2009
No one grades schools on bullying. People buy into school districts with good test scores. If schools really addressed bullying, it would take away from teaching the tests.

We can give this lip service all we want, but if a child is being bullied, parents need to stop working with the school adminsitrators and get a lawyer to force the issue.

This poor boy's parents did work with the schools, but they never received any relief. Get a lawyer. Sue the schools to force a safe environment. Sue the bully's parents. Get an order of protection. Once the legal system gets involved, the schools have to pay attention.

If nothing else, it will bring the case to the attention of the media, which always causes the schools to react. It's sad but true.

The only person who can protect your child is you. And, working through the system rarely gets the result you want. The system is set-up to protect itself from future liability, not to protect your children.
SoCal Guy

Los Angeles, CA

#15 Jul 10, 2009
The bully at my junior high was insufferable. But Sister Catherine Lucien didn't become a cop.
pippin

Chicago, IL

#16 Jul 10, 2009
In the 60's
I was bullied for 6 years in my Catholic grade school. I still feel the pain. My parents sent me to a wonderful high school with only about 150 students in my graduating class. There were no bullies...everybody was treated with kindness and respect. The best experience of my life up to that point. Then it only kept getting better.
chong

Schaumburg, IL

#17 Jul 10, 2009
Note to bullied kids: Learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu....you can either make the bully fall asleep by choking him out (which will make everbody freak out and it will be hilarious) or if you really need to, you can arm bar them and hyper extend the elbow joint; make it pop out like a little chicken wing. LOL...the look on their face will truly be priceless as they yelp and try to reconnect the elbow back together! Paper work and policies don't protect one's dignity and self esteem, just messes with your head. But an elbow to the head shuts them up real quick and brings you back to normality.
Tired of Bullying

Berwyn, IL

#18 Jul 10, 2009
To all the bullies who picked on young Mr. Steele, just remember that when you go back to school in the fall everyone will know who you are and what you did. You will have to live the rest of your life knowing that you caused someone to commit suicide. May that haunt you forever. Not so tough anymore, huh.
Miz

Englewood, CO

#19 Jul 10, 2009
Bullies are already scarred which is why they're bullies, and from what I've seen, the parents are also bullies, think their kid is a perfect little angel, or just don't care about their children, so they never punish them. Since you can't guarantee the bully's parents will do anything, the parents of the bullied need to step up and toughen up their kids. Report incidents to the school, and police if necessary, to do whatever you can to bring reprecussions to the bullies and parents...but you'll still have bullies, parents who don't care, and school officials who don't think it's a big enough deal or who don't handle it right. You'll always have bullies and If you can't teach your children to deal with the bullies in school, how will they ever deal with the ones in the real world?
lindorfia

Chicago, IL

#20 Jul 10, 2009
Everybody should read "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoulet. You really get everyone's perspective in that book and it will make you stop and think!

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