Saturday, November 12, 2011



You may not be familiar with the word ‘bullycide’, but I’m sure you’ve seen or heard news reports about a person committing suicide as a result of being bullied. Not long ago I viewed a TV program that featured the story of a teenager who had committed suicide because he had been bullied over his sexual orientation.

Last year, beautiful 15 year-old Phoebe Prince took her life. She hung herself in the stairway of her family’s second-floor apartment in western Massachusetts.

Prince had recently moved to the town of South Hadley. For three months a group of students had verbally and physically abused her. After her death investigators said that there was ‘relentless activity directed toward Phoebe designed to humiliate her and to make it impossible for her to remain in school’.

According to one expert, “Bullying is basically a form of intimidation or domination toward someone who is perceived as being weaker. It is a way of getting what one wants through some sort of coercion or force. It is also a way for someone to establish some sort of perceived superiority over another person.”

In recent 2011 statistics on bullying it is said that 60% of middle school students say that they have been bullied, while 16% of staff members actually believe students are bullied. Twenty percent of high school students say they have seriously considered suicide within the last twelve months.

The NEA (National Education Association) reports that 160,000 students stay home from school everyday due to bullying.

On the other side of the equation are the ‘bulliers’. A bully is six times more likely to be incarcerated by the age of 25 and five times more likely to have a serious criminal record when he or she grows up. Two-thirds of students who are targets become bullies themselves.

Taking bullying a step higher on the age level, the National Institute of Occupational Safety Health (NIOSH) says there is a loss of employment amounting to $19 billion and a drop in productivity of $3 billion due to workplace bullying.

Law enforcement costs related to bullying are enormous. Since 1999, the Office on Violence against Women (OVW) has spent $98 million in assistance to address campus sexual violence. (Statistics provided by Jim Burns – Behavioral Management)
As Internet use increases, more and more children and teenagers are being bullied online through email, chatrooms and on Facebook. Text messaging is also an avenue for bullying.

In Ecclesiastes it says, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” (1:9) Could that also mean bullying?

Remember Joseph in the Bible? His brothers certainly picked on him. They threw the poor kid into a pit and then sold him to slave traders. (Genesis 37:23-28) The bullies eventually had to bow the knee to their little brother when he became a ruler in Egypt.

How about the prophet Elisha? In 2 Kings 2:23 we read, “Then he (Elisha) went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!”
So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.” Pretty harsh punishment for being a bully, but it’s obvious that God is displeased with bulliers.

As parents and grandparents we need to train our children to be kind to others, yet at the same time we need to look for signs of our children being bullied and try to stop the perpetrators before serious psychological and physical damage is done.
These are only a few of the telltale signs: Becoming withdrawn; showing fear when it is time to go to school; increasing signs of depression; speaking of another child with fear; noticeable decline in how the child seems to feel about him or herself; signs of physical altercations, such as bruises, scrapes and other marks.

Above all things teach your children that God loves them and He cares about what is happening to them and so do YOU!