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                SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS-VOL. 78 


Students KilledWho is the Victim? 



Let's Stop the violence! 

    See how KEYS can help!!


She was a loner. Other students ridiculed and made fun of her. Teachers knew this. Other students knew this. Nothing changed year after year. At 18 she began talking to a boy in her class. He was not very popular. He was not very bright. The other kids made fun of him and had for most of his life. Teachers knew this. Other students knew this. The two of them were not particularly attracted to each other, but they shared a common bond. They were life long victims of bullies who were protected by a system of “do nothing if you don’t have to” that seems to be the method of many schools. Before long another boy, a little younger was added to the twosome. His story was the same. These three could talk together because they were outcasts and knew the pain of being talked about.

Lonely and picked onAs will happen with young people, the conversion was dominated by the things they liked and the things they disliked. There was little in common on the first point, but much to share on the second. They talked about the injustice of being a good person put down without anyone even getting to know them. They discussed how it is not fair for certain people to always be treated better than they were. Then they began to discuss how interesting it would be if some of those “other” had to suffer the way they suffered.  

These talks turned into fantasies of being the instruments of the others’ downfall. They found themselves together in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps at their high school. This class put them into a military frame of mind for finding solutions to difficult problems. The war in Iraq was a daily topic in JROTC. While others heard the stories as horrors faced by soldiers at the hands of terrorists, these three heard the stories as how a vastly out numbered group of misfits were able to get their message across in a system that otherwise ignored them. Now the threesome began to mix reality with fantasy. Taking what they were seeing on television and adding in what they were learning in military science, they began to formulate concrete plans for overcoming the "evil empire", other wise know as High School. By  using explosives and weapons they would take over the school. Then, there would be justice.

But they were caught and are now in jail.  

Arrested From what the police found in multiple searches, there was no likelihood of this plan coming to pass, at least for another two years. If they had been playing one of the many popular fantasy games and making the same plans, all would be well. A little strange perhaps, but OK. The problem is that when anyone uses real places and real names with plans that could actually result in death or injury to real people, it is a crime. They should be punished and the public protected from them. But are they the victims or the perps? 

One school official told a group of reporters, "When we get word of students that might be talking about an attack on a school, we take immediate action. There's just not any room to think about how credible this might be. We have to act immediately."

But this leads to the question, what action did the school take during the last 12 years to control the bullying endured by these students?  There are laws in every state requiring schools to take positive action to eliminate bullying. Was anything Bullying Stops when Respect Beginsdone? The state here has a special Anti-Terrorism Taskforce that was called in to arrest, interview, search and control this situation. What would have been the result if the state had a special Anti-Bullying Taskforce that had been called in to control the school when teachers, administration and fellow students failed to control the situation themselves? Where would these three students be today if the administration had said, “When we get word of students being bullied, we take immediate action

I know she was ridiculed and I feel bad. I want to give her a hug and say to her ‘I hope it’s not anything I didOne fellow student said, “ I know she was ridiculed and I feel bad. I want to give her a hug and say to her ‘I hope it’s not anything I did.” The question to this student is, “What did you do?” Probably most of the students in this high school did nothing to any of these three students. Neither did they do anything for them nor anything to stop the ones who were being bullies. The “stand-by-and-do-nothing” crowd is by far the largest segment of any school. Do they bear any of the blame? Where would these three bullied teens be today if this remorseful student had given that hug earlier in the year and said, “I am here for you.”  

There is no attempt to justify the actions of these three plotters. Jonesboro and Columbine have taught us that;

  •  words become plans and

  •  plans become death and destruction.

Students do not deserve to die at the hands of others for any reason. But other students also do not deserve to spend their school years in silent torture because others will not stand up and stop bullying in its tracks. If all students, faculty and parents learned to respect each other, bullying would have no place to grow.  

If you are interested in learning how to bring a character based program to your school that will curb or eliminate bullying, contact Keys to Safer and ask about Bullying Stops When Respect Begins.

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