Innocence Lost

It’s crossing midnight here, and while I’ve got the Rolex 24 up and streaming on one laptop, I figured I’d use the other to get something off my chest:

I’m sick of people saying that bullying is a normal part of life. Seriously.

Look, kids pick on one another, it happens, and it’s something we all had to deal with. That’s not what I’m referring to. I’m referring to those times when kids take it too far, never let up, and end up pushing someone over the edge. It happened this week with a kid who goes to my daughter’s school. Before he left for school Wednesday morning, a 5th grader shot and killed himself. Here, I’ll help it soak in a little more:

A 10 year old boy, feeling like he had no other options, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

What the hell could have been so wrong that would drive a 10 year old to do that? While the school and media aren’t really giving any insight, the rumors coming from kids at school are that this kid was being bullied. To get to this point, it had to be more than your run of the mill teasing, it had to be really, really bad. So bad that he’d do anything to not have to go back to school. While she didn’t really know him (but does know his dad, everyone does), my daughter is about 99% sure she saw him in the nurses office when she was in there Tuesday afternoon. If it was him, he was claiming to be sick and wanting to go home.

His father is an incredibly nice guy, someone that would do anything for you. He and his daughter were both home when this happened, and as a father, I can’t even imagine what it must have felt like to hear that noise and find that scene. It’s sad to even think about, and then you factor in all the things that he’s never going to get to see his son do, it just breaks my heart. Some of the first comments I’ve seen center around people wondering how the boy got a hold of a gun; was it the father’s; why wasn’t it secured, etc?. Well, I have no idea what the answer to any of those are, but at this point, that’s less important than what drove the kid to do this, in my opinion. Police told reporters that it did look like a suicide (vs an accident), so something drove him to this.

We all have our demons, but as I’ve said to my daughter on more than one occasion, there’s nothing so bad that you have to resort to an irreversible action.

I hope that school officials are working to see if bullying really did play a part, and if so, who was involved so they can take action. Yea, kids can be mean, but if it was bullying, some really nasty stuff must have been said to make him take things to such an extreme. There’s a part of me that’s afraid the school is just going to sweep the whole thing under the rug to protect their image (again, should it be bullying), but I really hope I’m wrong. Rumors are going to continue to fly until they’re addressed, and silence is the wrong way to handle this in my opinion. Turn a negative into a positive, as they say. Frankly, as a parent I feel fortunate that this kid didn’t choose to bring the gun to school and deal with it there. That should be another key reason school officials work to determine what led to this. I guess over the next few weeks we’ll see which route they choose.

Alex, I sincerely hope you’ve found your peace. I hope in time that your family can as well, our hearts go out to them.

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