Sunday, April 24, 2005

Bullied to death

12-year old Nathan Jones from Essex was apparently driven to kill himself by school bullies. An internet website set up by friends in memory of Nathan condemns the pupils they claim are responsible for his death and carries a poem aimed at the bullies entitled "Because of You."

You can read the news and the poem on The Independent online here. (Hat tip: Michael Peach)

I stumbled upon this website dedicated to bully victims called Bullycide Memorial Page which has a tragically painful list of young victims.

What is shocking is the increasing number of cases reported. The same Independent online news includes this paragraph:
The charity ChildLine said its latest figures showed the number of desperate children calling its hotline about bullying had reached record proportions. Last year more than 31,000 victims turned to the free helpline - up from 21,000 the year before. More than 25 per cent of those who called had turned to their teachers first but felt that their fears were not being taken seriously. They also said that bullying no longer stopped at the school gates, with many being hounded in their homes through text messages. Between 16 and 20 children under the age of 16 are thought to commit suicide every year because of bullying.
I don't know what the situation is like in Malaysian schools - bullying is common, but suicide is unheard of. Here's another reason to homeschool.

3 comments:

discordant_dude said...

I'm just curious, isn't opting 4 homeschool to avoid bullies a form of escapism which the child will have to face sooner or later in this rugged world? My disappointment with the government education system cannot be overstressed but is homeschool really the answer? Not a home-schooler myself, so I'm asking with a lot of assumptions and personal impressions of homeschooling...

sc said...

As a homeschooling (hs) mum, I would say that most hs families do it not so much as to escape but to train their children their own values and to allow the children to develop at their own pace into the persons God meant them to become. As one of many happy consequences of the close family relationships and the strong sense of security, self-acceptance and self-knowlege that hs fosters, hs kids tend to be more confident and socially adept, able to relate with people of all ages, not only their peers or people with the same interests. This has been borne out in numerous researches on hs and its socialisation effects, not just my own observation. Hs kids are blessed and happy indeed, because they don't need to be either the bullies or the bullied or the majority desperately trying to blend in, and they avoid all the attendant stress and suffering, which all of us, especially young children, can do very well without.

David BC Tan said...

it's a good question, chris. but no, we don't homeschool to avoid bullies, although it's one happy consequence. it's all easy to say facing up to bullies is a reality a child has to encounter sooner or later. but try telling this to the tragic victims who do not now have a voice to say what they would have preferred. i sure don't want to read about bully suicides in malaysian schools. to tolerate violence and samseng behaviour in already dumbed-down schools so kids get a dose of reality is to lower expectations for institutions that ought to display nobler goals. all people should demand much, much more from schools that are there to supposedly transmit good values. by homeschooling, we are saying we do not have to buy what schools offer - if it costs far more than what we are prepared to pay. kinda works for me...
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