Posts tagged with "community"

“I Have Nobody… I Need Someone”: A Teenager’s Haunting Legacy

I’m struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I’m not doing this for attention. I’m doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. I did things to myself to make pain go away, because I’d rather hurt myself then someone else. Haters are haters but please don’t hate, although im sure I’ll get them. I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyones future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through. I’m still here aren’t I ?

-AmandaTodd

In a heart-wrenching video[1] posted to YouTube five weeks ago, 15-year-old Amanda Todd revealed to the world the bullying, abuse, teasing, and ridicule she endured on a daily basis by her peers at school and on the Internet. At the end of her nearly 9-minute index card confession, she simply wrote: “I have nobody… I need someone… My name is Amanda Todd…” On October 10, 2012, Amanda took her own life.[2]

Prevalence of Bullying and Effectiveness of Anti-Bullying Legislation

Over the past couple of weeks, a colleague and I have gone into fourth gear posting articles regarding bullying and, as I’ve described it before, its technological brother, cyberbullying. Nearly three out of every four students face some form of bullying, with 5-15 percent characterized as “chronic victims.”[3] 

Though nearly every State has some form of anti-bullying legislation, many have questioned its effectiveness and sources: to quote Jennifer Livingston of CBS WKBT, “this behavior is learned… We need to teach our children to be kind, not critical, and we need to do that by example.”[4] A Canadian social psychologist described Amanda’s death as the consequence of “a generation [raised to be] passive bystanders,” indicating the problem as one of community rather than institution.[5] Thus, despite the laws on the books, bullying tactics will undoubtedly remain pervasive and claim more victims.

Bullying and its impact on children and young adults is no joke, and both the short- and long-term effects can be devastating. We need only remember Tyler Clementi, Phoebe Prince, Megan Meier, and now Amanda Todd as harsh, stark reminders of this lesson. As a parent, it is imperative that your child understands that he or she ought not view their self-worth through the eyes of their tormentors.[6]

By Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.

Should you have any questions regarding school bullying or any other education law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya. He may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut (located in Fairfield County), by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.

 


[1] “My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm,” by Amanda Todd. September 7, 2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOHXGNx-E7E

[2] “Bullied teen Amanda Todd took her own life, B.C. Coroners Service confirms,” by Tiffany Crawford. October 12, 2012: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Bullied+teen+Amanda+Todd+took+life+Coroners+Service+confirms/7381793/story.html

[3] “Bullying: A Module for Teachers,” by Sandra Graham, PhD, of the American Psychological Association. Accessed September 24, 2012: www.apa.org/education/k12/bullying.aspx

[4] “Star brother Ron Livingston defends ‘fat’ anchor sister, Jennifer,” by News Limited Network. October 5, 2012: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity/tv-anchor-jennifer-livingston-takes-on-bully-who-criticised-her-weight/story-e6frfmqi-1226488835303

[5] “Bullying victim Amanda Todd’s death a consequence of ‘passive bystanders,’ says expert,” by Misty Harris. October 12, 2012: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/national/Bullying+victim+Amanda+Todd+death+consequence+passive/7382674/story.html

[6] See Footnote 4.

Growing Awareness Surrounding Bullying of Students with Disabilities in Fairfield County

Bullying has gained the attention of the media over recent years, but despite the focused spotlight, bullying is rampant in our society.  Among the easiest targets are children with special needs.  They are, on average, at a greater risk to be bullied than their non-disabled counterparts.  This is in part because special education children make easy targets. It is often harder for children with disabilities to recognize which behaviors are socially appropriate and those that are not.

Many organizations are stepping up to the challenge of educating the community and parents on the complex issues surrounding bullying of students with disabilities. The Stratford Special Education Teacher and Parent Association recently held a presentation on “Bullying of Students with Disabilities.” The presentation focused on how to help schools avoid litigation stemming from the targeting of children with special education needs. The hope is to set up systems in schools that address bullying before it becomes a problem.

Interestingly, the presentation also focused on teaching parents how to work with the school system to effectively develop plans to prevent harassment of their children.  It is important that parents work with school administrators to develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that encourages students to learn, develop self-advocacy, and social and life skills necessary to reduce disability related harassment.

In addition to parents and school administrators working together to reduce and bring awareness to bullying and its drastic effects, it is also important to be familiar with the laws that protect children with disabilities.  At Maya Murphy, P.C., we have experience dealing with Education Law, harassment or bullying, Special Education Law, and discrimination.

By Leigh H. Ryan, Esq.

If you have any questions regarding bullying of students with disabilities, or any education law matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.