I can't take this anymore. I can't read one more news story about a child who committed suicide after being relentlessly bullied.
Bullying is the new smoking: The bad kids do it and always for terrible reasons. The schools are wallpapered with posters urging you not to do it. And apparently, bullying kills — far faster, in fact, than lung cancer does.
But I don't want to talk about bullies, those cowardly cretins who think they can deflect attention from their own festering failures by kicking around someone who's simply less inclined to be mean. It's obvious; no one should harass or humiliate another person. But do you know what else shouldn't happen? Children should not kill themselves. Ever. And that's what I want to talk about.
This is a message for the bullied — a pissed-off missive for kids who've fallen prey to some loud-crowing schoolyard tyrant or cackling klatch of neighborhood creeps.
Dear Bullied Kid,
Yeah, you. The one wearing that mantle of shame. I'll be honest: It doesn't look great on you. It's not your color, not your size. I see you in something more colorful — something lighter.
Word has it you're being pestered by the local toughs. Do they say you're weird? Call you a freak? Insist that you don't fit in? Joke's on them because you're in great company: Nearly a third of American students say they've been bullied this year alone. That means one in every three kids on your block, your bus, your team feels the same way you do at any given moment.