Sunday, November 24, 2013

Texas teen who committed suicide at school posted Facebook warning

Adrian Alvaresz, a 16-year-old dad to an infant son, appeared despondent in the post and said he was sorry for the pain he was causing. Alvaresz fatally shot himself at school Tuesday — an act classmates said they never expected.

Adrian Alvaresz, 16,  shot himself Tuesday  at Lanier High School in Austin, Texas.

Adrian Alvaresz, 16, shot himself Tuesday at Lanier High School in Austin, Texas.

Friends and family of a Texas teen are grieving after he committed suicide at school, warning hours earlier on Facebook that he was planning to take his own life.
Adrian Alvaresz, a 16-year-old dad to an infant son, wrote that he was sorry for the pain he was causing his mother and that he felt people in his life “put me to the side.”
He asked his friends to help his mom, his ex-girlfriend and his son “stay strong” after his death. He added that he would be his son's "angel" and "mentor," and whisper to him "Everything Was For The Good Of Everyone."
Alvaresz’s mom, Maria Consuelo Alcantara, said her son had called her Tuesday asking to leave his north Austin school early.
She said no and that he ended the conversation saying, “I love you, mom,” Alcantara told CBS affiliate KHOU-TV.
Mom Maria Consuelo Alcantara holds back tears as she speaks about the loss of her 16-year-old son.

Mom Maria Consuelo Alcantara holds back tears as she speaks about the loss of her 16-year-old son.

“I love you, too,” she replied to him in Spanish.

It was just before 1:30 p.m. at Lanier High School when students say Alvaresz was by himself in the courtyard during lunch. He took out a handgun from his hoodie and shot himself.
The school was put on temporary lockdown before students were dismissed early for the day.
Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said officials are investigating how the teen obtained the pistol. The school doesn’t have metal detectors.
Police locked down Lanier High School in north Austin after reports of a gun on campus.

Police locked down Lanier High School in north Austin after reports of a gun on campus.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family,” said Carstarphen, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Along with his pained Facebook post, the teen included a picture of himself holding a gun to his right cheek.
“All he did was post a Facebook status that he was gonna do it and then he did it,” Lanier junior Alexis Vasques told Fox affiliate KTBC. “People that knew him and people that were close to him were crying and sad for his loss.”

“I guess the thing was that no one took him seriously,” added classmate Diana Vazquez. “They thought, ‘No, he’s kidding. ... I don’t think he’ll do it.’”
Family and friends of Adrian Alvaresz walk  door-to-door in north Austin trying to raise funds to cover his funeral costs.

Family and friends of Adrian Alvaresz walk door-to-door in north Austin trying to raise funds to cover his funeral costs.

Friends have been collecting donations to help pay for Alvaresz’s funeral costs.
Alcantara said she doesn’t know why her son killed himself and wishes that she had picked up on the warning signs.
The school made grief counselors available to students.
For more information about preventing suicides, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Does The Bullying Ever Stop

N.J. teen's "suicide-homicide" crash driven by bullying?

(CBS) EDISON, N.J. - Authorities say a 15-year-old New Jersey boy committed suicide by veering his car into oncoming traffic, killing two others as well, and now sources tell CBS New York that the teen may have been driven to commit suicide due to bullying.
Family friends have identified the deceased teen as Srijan Saha, reports CBS New York. He was reportedly a sophomore at John P. Stevens High School in Edison.
Police say the 15-year-old was driving along a highway around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday when he swerved into oncoming traffic and slammed head-on into a Nissan Altima.
The teen was killed along with both men in the other car, driver Mohammed Zia, 46, and his brother-in-law Ali Behzad, 35, reports the station.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office and Edison police said while the specific cause of the crash remained under investigation, it has been classified as a "suicide-homicide."
Saha's family told CBS New York they are overwhelmed with tremendous grief and are unable to speak about the tragedy. It is unclear how Saha, who was not old enough to have a license in New Jersey, got the keys to the family car.
Law enforcement sources tell the station that Saha left behind a message on his body, but have not revealed what it is.
Friends and fellow classmates at his high school said while Saha was outgoing, he had been withdr


Saturday, August 10, 2013


Back in July I attending a meeting at Second Pride,this was a public meeting and because I care about OUR community I wanted to go hear what was being discussed.After the meeting I tped home and logged off.I logged back in and went to a beach party.While I was dancing and having fun a friend who also attended the meeting IMed me and asked me if I knew about a certain blog. I answered no he then informed me I was in the blog.I asked why would I be in a blog,he shared the link with me,so I went to the blog and was shocked when I read what this person or person wrote about me. I was attacked for attending a meeting,a meeting that was suppose to be about PRIDE.As I read further other people had been attacked as well. It appears that the persons or persons who owned this blog were afraid that I or someone else would run against the Candidate that they were endorsing.What really bothered me is that this person or persons created this blog under a fake name to bully and taunt people into voting for their chosen candidate.I responded back to their statement about me and thought that that would be the end of it,But it wasn't the following Sunday I was attacked again,this time even worst than before.I replied back to their assault and they refused to post my comments.The next Sunday they attacked me again.I did not bother responding as I knew they wouldn't post the truth.These type of people are cowards and hide under fake names and hurt people to meet and feed their agenda
I along with several of my friends are victims of a cyber bully and a coward.They have since closed their blog as to quote what they said.One of the Candidates asked them to close it.That statement bothers me a lotto think that any person would go to such lengths to use a blog to hurt others and to win support to win a election by hurting others.Where is the Pride in that.
In closing never ever think that it won't happen to you because it can and it did happen to me.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Another Teen Suicide

It is sad as I search the papers across the US I find more and more stories of teen's being bullied and taunted to the point the think the only way out is ending their life. It makes me sad there are other ways of dealing with bullies and it is time that our Law-makers make tougher laws dealing with this issue that has spiraled out of control.

A gay New Mexico teen reported committed suicide after being subjected to intense bullying from his classmates.
Seventeen-year-old Carlos Vigil posted a note to Twitter before he decided to take his own life. Segments of that note have been cited by The Latin Post the Daily Mail and Queerty, among other media outlets.
The New York Daily News that Vigil, who would have been a senior at Albuquerque's Valley High School this fall, was taken off of life support at the University of New Mexico Hospital on July 16.
Meanwhile, Carlos' mother Jacqueline Vigil told Local News that her son had been bullied since he was at least 8 years old.
“He had this lunchbox, a smiley face lunchbox, and people thought it was the funniest lunchbox ever, and they made fun of him for it,” Jacqueline is quoted as saying. “They grabbed it on the school bus and just threw it on the floor and broke it. It's just little things like that.”
Carlos' father Ray Vigil echoed those sentiments to NBC affiliate KOB-TV, noting, "We found out three years ago that he was going through this stuff and we've been trying to help him every day since. We realize he's been going through it every day since he was in the third grade, that's a long time for a child to hold that within himself."

When is this going to stop.These teens are the future and they are ending their lives so fast.Our School Leaders and our Community need to work together to end this epidemic before it is too late

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gay Teen Is Fifth Suicide In Five Years At Iowa High School

My Friend JoshaDrew passed me this story.Very sad and just shows that our School Systems need support and training on how to handle Bully's

A memorial service is being held this morning for the fifth suicide in as many years at Pleasant Hill, Iowa’s Southeast Polk High School. 16-year-old AJ Betts stood up for other gay kids, but after being outed himself, he suffered harassment from his peers for being “different.” He took his own life over the weekend.
“You’re hurting people with words. I lost my best friend because of words,” Noah Lahmann lamented to KCCI News. According to Lahmann and AJ’s other friends, AJ was constantly ridiculed not only for being gay but for having a cleft lip and being half black. “He’s different. He doesn’t add up to what they’re used to,” added Lahmann.
AJ’s mother, Sheryl Moore, had no idea of the torment her son was put through as he was always “the happiest kid I’ve ever met.” As her son’s friends paid their respects, Moore learned to a degree how bad things were for him.
“About a year and a half ago, AJ was outed as gay at SE Polk High School,” Moore said. “Everyone got a long with my son very well until they found out he was gay.” Sadly, AJ did not benefit from the support he provided to others and the harassment became too much for him to bear.
“Several people who are gay or lesbian teens told us that AJ saved them from committing suicide when they were feeling desperate,” said Moore, who wishes to see her son’s life not lost in vain. “I really hope, for AJ’s sake, that we can stop it, so that maybe, even if we can save one more life from bullying, that would be a success.”

Sunday, July 28, 2013


There are many definitions of a bully,here are a few.
  1. A person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.
  2. Use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
Two good definitions.There are many forms of bullying in today's society, cyber-bullying, text, hate e-mail physical and mental bullying.Bullying has become so rampant that more and more teen's are ending their lives because of it.

There are 3 types of bullying.

  • Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
    • Teasing
    • Name-calling
    • Inappropriate sexual comments
    • Taunting
    • Threatening to cause harm
  • Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
    • Leaving someone out on purpose
    • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
    • Spreading rumors about someone
    • Embarrassing someone in public
  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
    • Hitting/kicking/pinching
    • Spitting
    • Tripping/pushing
    • Taking or breaking someone’s things
    • Making mean or rude hand gestures
Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.

New bullying statistics are showing that bullying is still a problem among children and teens, but is taking on a different approach with cyber-bullying becoming more and more rampant in school and after school among teens and children. Social networking has provided an entirely new environment for bullying to take place. According to bullying statistics, there are about 2.7 million students being bullied each year by about 2.1 students taking on the roll of the bully.

New bullying statistics revealed about one in seven students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade is either a bully or has been a victim of bullying. Sometimes a teen or child who has been bullied eventually becomes the bully as a way to retaliate. In fact, revenge for bullying is one of the strongest motivations for school shootings, according to recent bullying statistics. A reported 61 percent of students said they believe students shoot others at school because they have been victims of physical violence at home or at school. This is a true indicator that bullying can occur in all forms by other students, children, teens as well as adults. According to various bullying studies, many teens and children act out violently on their peers through acts of bullying because they are abused at home.

Other bullying statistics:
  • Over half, about 56 percent, of all students have witnesses a bullying crime take place while at school.
  • A reported 15 percent of all students who don't show up for school report it to being out of fear of being bullied while at school.
  • There are about 71 percent of students that report bullying as an on-going problem.
  • Along that same vein, about one out of every 10 students drops out or changes schools because of repeated bullying.
  • One out of every 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.
  • Some of the top years for bullying include 4th through 8th graders in which 90 percent were reported as victims of some kind of bullying.
  • Other recent bullying statistics reveal that 54 percent of students reported that witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school. 
  • Among students of all ages, homicide perpetrators were found to be twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied previously by their peers.
  • There are about 282,000 students that are reportedly attacked in high schools throughout the nation each month. 

Bully-cide statistics:
Suicide continues to be one of the leading causes of death among children under the age of 14.Bully-cide is a term used to describe suicide as the result of bullying. New bullying statistics 2010 are reporting that there is a strong connection between bullying, being bullied and suicide, according to a new study from the Yale School of Medicine. Suicide rates are continuing to grow among adolescents, and have grown more than 50 percent in the past 30 years.  Bullying can include various types of behavior from physical attacks, to destroying one's personal property or clothing, verbal abuse, starting rumors, name calling, verbal attacks online as well as other forms of cyberbullying. For teens and children who feel they are being bullied, it is important to address the matter with a parent or teacher right away. It may feel like you are telling on someone for doing something wrong, and that admission might get you in trouble with the bully later. However, this is not the case. In the majority of cases when a bully is reported, the bullying stops because the bully is faced with dire repercussions or they are sent away to a juvenile detention center. If you see bullying occur, it is just as important to tell a trusted adult about the situation. There are many ways to try and prevent bullying from getting worse and by reporting incidents, you can help cut down on future cases of bullying involving other victims. Maintaining a strong sense of self and good overall self-esteem is another way to ensure you won't be a victim of bullying attacks since bullies generally only prey on those they feel are weaker than them. This is also why it is important to have a solid group of friends that will have your back if a bully does try to attack in some way. Parents, be sure to talk to your children and teens about bullying and how to prevent it from happening to them or their peers. Make sure they know the importance of reporting such incidents and ways to handle a bully.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Canadian teen commits suicide after alleged rape, bullying

The family of a teenager who committed suicide after she was allegedly gang-raped and bullied is urging Canadian officials to reconsider filing criminal charges.
Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old high school student from Halifax, Nova Scotia, was taken off life support on Sunday, three days after she tried to hang herself. Her family told CNN they met with Canadian justice officials on Wednesday and the officials assured them they would take a fresh look at filing charges.
The teen was bullied for more than a year after the alleged sexual assault, which happened in November 2011 when she was 15, her family said.
Authorities confirmed that a photograph allegedly showing Parsons having sex with one of the boys was circulated to friends' mobile phones and computers. As a result, her family said she developed suicidal thoughts.
Teen hangs herself after alleged rape
Mom: Teen killed herself after rape
She also struggled emotionally after the police investigation ended without criminal charges, her mother, Leah Parsons, wrote on her Facebook tribute page.
"Rehtaeh is gone today because of the four boys that thought that raping a 15-year-old girl was OK and to distribute a photo to ruin her spirit and reputation would be fun," her mother wrote. "All the bullying and messaging and harassment that never let up are also to blame. Lastly, the justice system failed her. Those are the people that took the life of my beautiful girl."
Disseminating such a picture -- even if the sexual encounter was consensual -- is considered child pornography under Canadian law. However, a joint investigation by Royal Canadian Mounted Police and local authorities found "insufficient evidence to proceed with charges," according RCMP spokesman Cpl. Scott MacRae.
"There are factors in determining other than the picture itself; ages, who sent the material, computers, so it's complex," MacRae said. "We do understand people want the answers and the big question here is why was it done or why weren't there charges and we understand that. We're not trying to deflect blame or not be accountable."
The Parsons family said they hope their story helps families going through the same pain.
Her funeral will be Saturday, her mother said.

Wyoming teen recounts three suicide attempts since he was 8, hopeful his story can help others

WYOMING, Ohio - As he sat down on the living room couch, kitchen knife in hand, he only heard the voices of his classmates who had bullied him for years.
Home alone again. He pulled the knife toward his belly.
He took a long breath in.
Then out.
He thought he would finally end it all. Instead, he saw his mother’s face. And then he saw the angelic face of his little sister.
Their faces rendered him immobile.
It was his third attempt at suicide and, to date, has been the 16-year-old’s last. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, according to a 2012 Centers for Disease Control report. That translates into about 4,600 lives lost each year. Each year, about 157,000 youth receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries.
“What ultimately stopped me from doing it was seeing the faces of the people who would horribly miss me,” said the teen, whom WCPO Digital is not naming. “I knew that I had people to protect in my life, like my mom and my little sister – I knew that they needed me and so I just I knew I had to be there.
“There was still stuff I had to do.”
‘So Many Kids Feel Alone’
The words come easy today for the teen, who kept all three suicide attempts secret until last year. He said he only started to talk about it after a mental health professional visited his high school and expressed the importance of talking things through.
The teen is not unlike many teenagers who contemplate suicide.
The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control found that 16 percent of U.S. students in ninth through twelfth grades in both public and private schools reported seriously considering suicide; 13 percent reported creating a plan; and 8 percent reported trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey.
But in his case, the Wyoming teen never had a formal intervention, because his attempts didn’t cause physical harm. In effect, he’s part of an anonymous group of young people with suicidal thoughts, who believe there is no one to talk to.
“There are so many kids who feel lonely and they don’t know that so many others kids feel the same way, too,” said Cathy Strunk, director of the Surviving the Teens/Suicide Prevention program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center . “I always tell them ‘you can’t expect people to read minds.’ They might throw hints out there and no one picks it up. Be straight up about it.
“A lot of kids think they can’t communicate with their parents,’’ she added. “School connectedness and family connectedness are protective factors from suicide.”
The suicide attempt of a 17-year-old LaSalle High School student, who shot himself in a classroom filled with students and a teacher on April 29, grabbed headlines and sparked conversations in area schools, doctors’ offices and around kitchen tables of Tri-State families.
The honors student is continuing to receive care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center after he was transferred from UC Medical Center. WCPO Digital has not named the student and his family has asked for privacy.
It remains unclear why the student attempted suicide, but among the leading contributing factors is a family history of depression, divorce, poor communication, teasing or bullying, according to the Surviving the Teens/Suicide Prevention program.
Growing Up With ‘No One There’
The 16-year-old Wyoming teen said he faced many of those factors growing up.
At school, he felt like he had no one to talk to. At home, it was more of the same.
He was enrolled in an affluent, upper middle-class school district at age 6. Already an introvert, he said was he was shy and had trouble getting along with his peers. He sat alone at lunch and didn’t play with anyone during recess, despite his best efforts.
“On top of that, people used to make fun of me a lot, saying I was weird and other stuff,” he said. “That kind of hurt my self-esteem even more.”
He gave up trying to make friends as his peers began bullying him. In first grade, he urinated on himself, prompting further teasing from his classmates. In the second grade, he soiled himself at school.
“I couldn’t stand it – I did that for about two years,” he said.

At home, the teen said his parents argued often. As the primary breadwinner, his mother worked multiple jobs through his elementary school years. She battled an eating disorder of her own as well.

She said she now recognizes she not only was mentally unattached, but physically unavailable, too. WCPO Digital is not naming the teen’s mother to protect his identity.
“I’m very hurt and saddened, when I think about those years of his life. I know that I was doing all that I could do as a mom,” she said. “But there was more that I could do – being the provider, I did what I had to do, I know I wasn’t 100 percent there for him.
“I make no excuses, I was dealing with health issues, too, so I couldn’t have the physical and emotional energy to be there. I can see where it could leave him feeling like he was alone.”
When he got home from school, he was often left alone, which increased his feeling of isolation, which he cites as the primary reason for his suicidal thoughts; and ultimately his actions.
“I felt more alone there (at home), than anywhere else,” he said. “If one (parent) was home, the other would be out – sometimes they were both out of the house.”
The ‘Weird Guy’
In an attempt to stem the bullying at the elementary school, administrators and his mother decided to transfer him to a new school for a fresh start.
“I was still pretty much the weird guy,” he said.
At just 8 years old, he tried to hang himself. While standing on a chair, he saw his family’s faces flash before his eyes. Something just pulled him back.
“I saw them staring at me, watching me do it,” he said. “It brought me back to realize that this is not the way to go about handling my state of mind.”
But he didn’t seek help. In fact, he kept the attempt a secret. He told no one. Not even his mom.
Attempts And Secrets Continue
Going into middle school with the same kids from his first elementary school amplified the bullying.
“I was getting bullied from two groups of kids,” he said. “It dawned on me more and more that they both hated me and I felt even more alone – all the old stories made their way to everyone else.”
At 11, his parents' marriage was crumbling, the arguments intensified and they started on the road toward divorce.
It was too much, he said. He started to plan his second suicide. This time, he would succeed at hanging himself.
“I was in the middle of the act, and I stopped myself – I saw my family’s faces again,” he said.
He didn’t say a thing to anyone.
By the time he entered high school at 14 years old, he felt even more alone. Classmates called him names and his peers questioned his sexuality.
“Weird, punk, weakling, gay, these were the names I was being called,” he said. “I didn’t care much to talk to girls and people started calling me gay – I was just shy.”
One school day when he got home, he went into the kitchen and grabbed a knife and sat on the living room couch. Knife in hand, he sat there.
“I was mostly thinking about all the things people called me,” he recounted. “I thought about the upperclassmen talking down to me.”
He thrust the knife toward his belly but stopped, because “any person in my state of mind would be scared to do it.”
But what ultimately stopped him was once again seeing his family’s faces.
He kept his third and final attempt to himself, too.
Reducing The Stigma
As part of her education series within the Surviving the Teens/Suicide Prevention program, Strunk paid a visit to the teen’s high school last year. She told the students to talk about their issues with their parents and with each other.
“I try to reduce the stigma, the shame of being depressed and suicidal ideation,” Strunk said. “There are kids practicing the act anonymously and putting themselves in greater risk.”
That discussion prompted the Wyoming teen to tell his mom about the knife incident.
“That got me thinking: ‘I need to tell somebody before I start really getting out of hand,’” he said. “I kept thinking, ‘what’s going to stop me from trying again?’ That’s what pushed me to talking to mom about it.”
He didn’t want to tell his mom about all three attempts, because as he candidly said, “she would freak out.”
It was the first time in his life he spoke openly about his mental health with his mom and it continues to be therapeutic for both of them.
Ever so slowly, the intimate conversations led him to tell her about the two previous attempts.
“I thought my kids shared everything with me…’’ she said. “I know he’s thinking about how he doesn’t want to upset me, but I’m not as fragile as he thinks.”

Giving Back

The family has been in faith-based family counseling since the teen’s disclosure. And they are considering starting a suicide prevention program at their church in Forest Park.
She wants people to speak out, saying silence complicates the issue.
“Part of the reason why I kept it quiet for a while is because, I am in leadership at the church. How do you explain it to people when people think you and your family are invincible? We’re really not, we’re human, too.”
Mother and son have a way for dealing with issues now: They ‘smile things off.’ When confronted with a stressor, the two have learned to work together, to talk about the issue and then to work to find humor in the situation that would have previously put the teen into a tailspin.
“We need to make sure that people are educated, especially the parents,” she said. “It can happen to anyone.”
How To Spot A Child At Risk For Suicide
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry lists the following as signs that a teen may try to kill themselves:
• A change in eating habits;
• Withdrawal from friends and family;
• Acts of violence or rebelliousness;
• Use of alcohol or drugs;
• Neglect of personal appearance;
• Change in personality;
• Decline in schoolwork
• Complaints about not feeling well (stomachaches, headaches, tired);
• Loss of interest in fun;
• Can not take praise
The Academy also recommends that parents take seriously any threat of suicide and seek help for a mental health professional.
24-Hour Hotlines and Resources:
• 1-800-273-TALK
• 513-281-CARE
• 1-888-SUICIDE (National Hopeline Network)
• 1-800-999-9999 (Covenant House Nineline)
• 1-800-448-4663 (National Youth Crisis Hotline)
• Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Resources: 513-636-4124
• Additional resources at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bullied 11-Year-Old Takes a Stand Against Antigay Tenn. Bills

Marcel Neergaard is an 11-year-old sixth-grader in Oak Ridge, Tenn., who happens to be gay. In a new video calling attention to a petition he began, Neergaard says that he was bullied so severely in middle school that he had to be homeschooled because the harassment was leading him to contemplate suicide.
When Neergaard discovered that Tennessee nonprofit StudentsFirst had decided to give a Reformer of the Year award to rabidly antigay state representative John Ragan, he launched a petition on asking the group to rescind the award. That petition now has more than 40,000 signatures.
In February, Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican, introduced the Classroom Protection Act, which has been described as an even more homophobic version of state senator Stacey Campfield's infamous "don't say gay" bill. Campfield is also a cosponsor of the Classroom Protection Act, which would forbid teachers from discussing any sexual activity that is "inconsistent with natural human reproduction." The bill later died in the legislature.
In an op-ed for The Huffington Post, Neergaard contends that the bill would have required teachers to respond to students trying to report antigay bullying by saying something like, "That subject is inappropriate for your age group." If the student was able to find one of the limited number of school officials who can discuss homosexuality — a nurse, counselor, or principal — that official would be required by the law to report the gay or lesbian student's sexuality to the student's parents. 
Officials with StudentsFirst, the controversial nonprofit launched by former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, told Salon in April that they decided to honor Ragan nearly a year before he introduced the bill, which the group denounced as "an ill-conceived, harmful piece of legislation that would have represented a backward step for Tennessee schools and kids." Rhee also issued a statement in May claiming the group was unaware of Ragan's antigay record when it selected him for the award.

Experts say bullying is a growing, complex problem which requires community action

 I copied this from The Knoxville Newspaper,the story says so much and shows how bullying is getting more out of control.This has to stop too many teens are ending their lives

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Kids are being terrorized in school, on the bus, even in their own homes by bullies. Teenagers committing suicides and juveniles committing adult crimes that could land them behind bars seem to be on the rise.
Experts say we need to change the way we deal with bullying. In East Tennessee, schools, parents, and even community organizations are helping deal with it.
Jamal Spradling, an 11-year-old from Talbott, said he's been bullied and seen others face bullying. "I know it can really hurt people a lot, and it happens very often."
6 News visited schools in 3 counties. Every child and adult we talked with had an experience with bullying, either as a victim, bystander, or even a bully. 9-year-old Cayla Smith of Talbott told us she was the target of bullying when adults were out of sight. "This girl threatened me, in the bathroom, to give her all my silly bands, and if I didn't she would pin me up to a corner."
Austin Mayberry, a 7th grader in White Pine, said he has been reluctant to step in at times when others faced bullying, even though he felt it was wrong. "I just want to intervene and tell them, just back off, just go away, just leave them alone."
Elizabeth Young told us seeing a family member bullied was more painful than enduring it herself. "My little brother's been bullied before and it really hits home when it happens to somebody you know," she said.
It's nothing new, even experts like University of Tennessee professor and author Dr. David Dupper has been there. "I was a victim of bullying," he said. Dupper said the problem is getting worse, sometimes more violent, and bullies can have a more damaging effect on their victims than ever before.
"I think with the cyber bullying, the viciousness, the cruelty, that's what I think is really getting people's attention," added Dupper. Some victims are afraid to tell, but through new school and community programs, counselors are getting children to open up.
We read surveys circulated through one school district by non-profit, Safe Space. The stunning results, scrawled in a child's hand over and over, were words like, "I'm being bullied. I'm sad. I'm scared." One survey from a 4th grade student stood out. It read, "I wish I was dead!"
"It's hard to say that bullying in and of itself is going to lead to a suicide attempt," explained Dupper, "but if a kid is already having difficulty with family issues, or some mental health issues, bullying could really be the thing that pushes them over."
Tennessee schools are required to have a policy to address bullying on school grounds, and for the first time in 2012, they must have a policy to address cyber bullying.
It's a step in the right direction says Dupper, but we must also take bullying seriously, get rid of stereotypes about what a bully looks like, and the mind set that we as adults must witness bullying to stop it.
"Just like we don't tolerate child abuse, we don't tolerate domestic violence, we're not going to tolerate bullying," is the message we should be sending to our kids, said Dupper.
Cassandra Kyker, a 7th grade student in White Pine, agrees bystanders and witnesses to bullying should step up. "It's always good to go and tell a teacher each time that someone is being bullied cause if it gets too bad, they could actually go home and kill themselves," she said.
Creating a community of adults who won't stand for bullying, and empowering children who witness bullying to react, experts say is key.
A dramatic change in behavior, a new fear of going to school, and a drop in grades are all signs that your child may be a victim of bullying. Bullying is abuse that takes different forms, but experts say generally boys are more likely to be physical, and girls often use emotional bullying, like excluding, or spreading rumors.