“Bullied to Death”: Not an Exaggeration

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Bullying: It’s A Real Problem

Teenagers often use the term “to death” as a way to exaggerate their feelings. “I’m bored to death” is a common saying in classrooms across the country. Kids might exclaim “I was scared to death!” after seeing a particularly terrifying horror movie.

However, over the past few years, the words “to death” have taken on a much more literal meaning. Across the country, numerous students have actually been bullied to death.

A Google search of the term “bullied to death” returns headlines about a teenager who was hanged for being pretty, a New York City teen who jumped in front of a subway train after being bullied, and Delaware girl who was beaten to death over a relationship with a boy. The latter two of those stories occurred recently, in April of 2016. There’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to suicides that have been attributed to bullying.

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Why Has There Been An Increase In Deaths From Bullying?

So what’s caused this wave of bullying that has literally cost some people their lives? There are various factors to consider, and many point to the rise of social media. On the other hand, some experts claim that kids being bullied to death is not a new phenomenon, but instead that this era of mass media simply allows more people to hear such stories than in the past.

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The connection between bullying and suicide is complicated, as the site StopBullying.gov points out. However, just understanding that there might be a connection is an important lesson for many children. It is also crucial that kids understand the so-called “bystander effect,” in which people watch idly as others are bullied. According to the site NoBullying,  “The bystanders who do nothing but watch are also the problem. Thus, the bystander effect can make kids more passive instead of more proactive when dealing with bullying.”

Examining the recent instances of bullying to death might allow teenagers to begin to help reverse this disturbing trend. If today’s kids can understand the causes of some of these bullying tragedies, they might be better able to help avoid more of them in the future.

Media

Some media may contain mature content. Discretion is advised when viewing with students.

Bully (5/9) Movie Clip

Bullied to Death

3 Teens Charged In The Death Of Amy Joyner-Francis
Lesson Plan

LEARNING OBJECTIVE: This lesson will teach students how to identify cause and effect in an informational text. Students will understand that cause-and-effect is sometimes a complex relationship, and that there might be multiple causes for one effect and vice versa. Students will write a persuasive essay about the best ways for government and school officials to address the bullying problem in order to help avoid future tragedies.

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Lesson tags: bullying, Cyberbullying, Eighth, Eleventh, English, English Language Arts, Featured, Life Skills, Ninth, Pop Culture, Seventh, Social Studies, Tenth

Francis Tolan

Francis Tolan Francis is a Special Education and Social Studies teacher in the Bronx, NY. He's a new father but he's not too far from being a child himself. You can find his writing about sports, pop culture, fatherhood, and general nonsense on his blog at howblank.blogspot.com.