The case for addressing bullying across the lifespan becomes ever so stronger when we consider how these destructive behaviors can lead targeted children and adults alike to take their own lives.
Phoebe Prince, Suicide at Age 15
On Saturday, the Boston Herald ran this story by O’Ryan Johnson about the suicide of Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old girl in Western Massachusetts who was mercilessly bullied by fellow students, in person and online:
A “charming” 15-year-old girl who committed suicide in South Hadley days before a big dance was bullied after school, on her cell phone and on social-networking sites, her principal said in a heart-rending letter to parents.
Phoebe Prince and her mother moved to the quiet enclave in Western Massachusetts from Ireland about six months ago, a friend said. She was found dead inside her Webster Street home Jan. 14 following public spats with classmates over dating.
“Some students made mean-spirited comments to Phoebe in school and on the way home from school, but also through texting and social-networking Web sites,” wrote Dan Smith, principal of South Hadley High School. “This insidious, harassing behavior knows no bounds.”
Marlene Braun, Suicide at Age 46
Meanwhile, one of the ongoing rallying cries for the workplace bullying movement is the 2005 death of conservationist Marlene Braun, who committed suicide after a long course of abusive treatment at work:
The Workplace Bullying Institute is proud to assemble news reports, government reports, essays, and commentary to tell the hidden story of Marlene Braun’s May 2, 2005 suicide and the subsequent government attempts to obliterate her legacy.
It is a tale of an abusive work environment (akin to the traditional profile of bullying cases described at this website) that Marlene described as her inescapable hell caused by her tormenter, bully boss Ron Huntsinger, coupled with dramatic reversals in conservation policies by the federal government executed by Huntsinger and BLM as mandated by the anti-Clinton, anti-environment Bush administration. Huntsinger was promoted in the aftermath of her suicide in the spirit of “heckuva job brownie” incompetence rising.
Thank goodness such a drastic and hopeless response to bullying is not the norm. But even one instance is too many.
If you find yourself or someone you care about at risk, please reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached around the clock at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
“Bullying eyed in girl’s death”: http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1227606
Braun story from the Workplace Bullying Institute: http://www.workplacebullying.org/targets/impact/braun/braun.html