Sixth-Grade Girls Tormented This Classmate

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

As I research crimes occurring at or connected to schools I’ve seen more and more events involving pre-teens.

It saddens me to read about the negative side of public education, but at the same time, I believe it’s vital for everyone who cares about children to be armed with knowledge.

Times are changing. Because schools can no longer be considered safe havens, parents need to be advocates for their children. Schools can’t do everything that is needed; they’re simply underfunded, understaffed and overworked.

BLOG POST #134: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving sixth-grade girls.

Senseless Cruelty

She had everything going for her and everything that makes kids jealous. It was said this 12-year-old was sweet, smart, kind and quiet. And she was a cheerleader.

The bullying began in October—teasing, dirty looks from classmates, name-calling, exclusion and shooing her away from their lunch table.

Then the cyber-bullying began. There were texts, Snapchats, and Instagram posts. They told her she was a loser, said she had no friends.

Her grades began to drop. She suffered from chronic headaches and stomach pain. She begged to stay home from school.

The American Academy of Pediatrics stated in a report on bullying: girls make more suicide attempts, but boys die from suicide at a rate three times higher than girls because they tend to choose more lethal methods, such as firearms.

Make The Bullying Stop

Requests for assistance from teachers, counselors, school administrators and the students’ parents didn’t make the torment stop.

Bullying has always been a major issue for adolescents, but there is now greater recognition of the connection between bullying and suicide,” said Benjamin Shain, MD, Ph.D. in an American Academy of Pediatrics report.

Gone Girl

The ugliness ended the next year in June. After the bullies told her, “Why don’t you kill yourself?” She killed herself.

Did you know in 2007, suicide was the third-leading cause of death for adolescents age 15 to 19 years old? In 2016, suicide rose to the second-leading cause of death.

There is a lot of helpful information available on the StopBullying.gov website.

Worth Mentioning: The young girl’s parents have filed a lawsuit against the school district and its administrators for alleged gross negligence for not responding to their pleas to make the bullying stop.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’ on this case: Bullying is hard to stop without parent cooperation on both sides. Too often a child who bullies learned how at home. And schools are caught in the middle. Parents want the school to intervene but do they have the authority to act on behavior that occurred off campus and not during school hours. The evidence is critical; parents need to have their kids take screenshots of bullying messages and save bullying emails. If the school is unable to remedy the situation—law enforcement will want evidence.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading and caring about children!

-Robin

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Breaking Up Can Be Deadly

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #131When you’re in high school, being popular doesn’t necessarily make life easier. It can be just as difficult as being the lowest kid in the pecking order.

Like everyone, popular kids have the negative voice in their head telling them they’re fat or worthless, etc. Popular kids can come from turbulent homes.

BLOG POST #131: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a popular high school student.

You’d think the popular football player, recently crowned Homecoming Prince, would be on top of the world. Instead, like so many teenagers, he kept his troubles inside.

Kids Will Be Kids – Right?

His parents didn’t understand the depth of their son’s depression. They knew he and his longtime girlfriend had broken up after Homecoming. And they knew he’d gotten into an altercation with another football player and was suspended for a few days.

Before school, his pleading texts to his ex-girlfriend went unanswered.

Not A Normal Day

To his mother, it was a normal day when she dropped her son off at school the same as she had done every day.

She didn’t know the day was far from normal. She had no clue her son had taken his father’s guns and ammunition with him that day.

Keep Your Friends Close

He asked friends to meet him in the cafeteria for first lunch. The friends joined him at a lunch table.

When he texted a photo of a gun to his ex-girlfriend, she called him, and they talked briefly.

And Then He Snapped

After the phone call with his ex-girlfriend, he bolted from his seat and shot his friends one by one—five friends.

He reloaded, and then shot himself.

Including the shooter, four kids died that day, and two were critically wounded.

Minutes before shooting anyone, he had texted a group of family members and apologized to the families of his victims. He said he needed to take his crew with him; he didn’t want to go alone.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’ on this case: Case after case, I read about parents who never thought their child would do what they did. And I’m not implying this tragedy wouldn’t have happened had the boy’s parents paid more attention to their son’s depression. At some point parents need to consider if their child is “down” about something they very well may be capable of suicide or murder-suicide.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

The Tragic Death Of A Caring Educator

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #129Sadly, there was another school shooting this week. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who lost their loved one, to those injured, and to those who were frightened by the event.

Perpetrators of school shootings act for a broad range of reasons. And it isn’t always a student looking down the barrel of a gun.

BLOG POST #129: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific case involving a special needs teacher and her estranged husband.

Not Happily Ever After

The teacher and her husband dated for four years before they married. He was a pastor with a criminal history. She was known as a caring educator with a special affinity for working with children with learning disabilities.

The teacher’s mother was reported to have said her son-in-law changed after the two married. He began criticizing and belittling her daughter.

Three months after they wed, the teacher moved out.

Trouble Found Her At Work

A few weeks after the teacher moved out, her estranged husband walked into the school and used the pretense of dropping off something for his wife. He entered her elementary classroom, with 15 sets of little eyes watching, he shot and killed his wife before taking his own life. Gunfire also hit two students; one was fatally wounded.

The Rest Of The Story

To aid in the recovery from the horrific event, over the summer, the school received a $1 million makeover.

As parents arrived on the first day of school, they noticed a slowdown when entering the building. New security measures were in place at the entrance. Upon entering the school, they saw the hallways had been repainted with bright colors and featured inspirational quotes.

Memories of our lives, of our work and our deeds will continue in others.” – Rosa Parks

Tempered glass now lined the large windows in the interior classrooms. Classrooms now have locking steel doors and an exterior exit. The special needs classroom where the deadly shooting took place is now a project room, and the number on the door was changed. The special needs students have a new classroom across the hall.

Returning to a campus after an act of violence has occurred is extremely difficult. I applaud the school district for their effort to make the school as welcoming and positive as possible.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, here’s some helpful information: Domestic Violence & Abuse

Worth mentioning: The Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness reports 75% of domestic violence related homicides occur upon separation.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’: Schools can’t be expected to do background checks on coworkers’ spouses. Domestic violence is tricky, the person being abused is often afraid to say anything for fear the abuse will intensify or worse. There are always a few friends who know or strongly suspect what’s happening. Does the spouse excessively boast about how wonderful life is? That’s a clue; life may be far from wonderful. Whenever your gut tells you something is off, speak to the principal so he or she can know to be leery of the spouse.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading and caring about children!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel Novella

Find out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

Was This 3rd Grader’s Death an Accident or Suicide?

Blog Post #97Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy day or night to read my post. As always, I promise to keep this somewhat short.

If you’ve read any of my posts, they’re usually about super sad stuff going on in or connected to schools. For most people, myself included, the content is concerning. The information I share is important to know so we can all be more vigil about keeping children safe.

BLOG POST #97: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific case involving a third-grade boy. And be forewarned, this one is beyond sad. I have a grandson in the third-grade, I thought about him a lot while I researched and wrote about this case.

Children can be mean and sometimes cruel. Bullying at all ages is on the rise. Schools don’t know how to stop it. Victim’s parents don’t know how to stop it, especially when you consider most bullies learn how to bully from someone in their life.

Socializing is Hard for Introverts at Any Age

He was a shy, quiet third-grade boy and a little small for his age. He didn’t have many friends. According to family members, the bullies would wait outside his home and continue to torment him at school.

At first, he tried to let the mean comments and actions slid by using clever comebacks. There were a few times when he resorted to fighting. With the new school year, he began building a clubhouse behind his home in hopes of making new friends. His unfinished clubhouse sits as a heartbreaking reminder of what happened.

At 9, Life Can Be So Unfair

He and his three siblings lived with their grandmother. His grandmother said he’d been down, and she tried everything she could think of to bring him out of it or to talk about what was bothering him.

One of his sisters noticed his change in demeanor. She found a frog outside and took it to him thinking he’d like it. What she found in his bedroom was her 9-year-old brother hanging from his belt. There was nothing anyone could do as he’d already died.

Mixed Messages

The local Sheriff Department conducted an investigation and determined it was an accidental suicide.

The boy’s family was adamant he committed suicide in response to his feeling hopeless from the relentless bullying.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff Department said, “What the public needs to know is that this bullying was completely unfounded. The school he went to is one of the finest schools that we have ever had the pleasure of interviewing.”

From everything I’ve read about this case, nothing said the family had an issue with the school. They had an issue with the bullies at the school who also lived in their neighborhood.

The Superintendent of the school district where the boy attended school said, the young boy taking his life was, ‘tragic.’ He went on to say there had been no reported incidents of bullying at the school involving the student.

We’ll never know if he reported his incidents of bullying or not.

A counselor from the school said the boy wasn’t the only one at the school who has had to battle bullies.

The Proof is in the Pudding

In a quick look at the school’s most recently posted Student Code of Conduct, dealing with bullies and/or bullying was mentioned 95 times. And there’s an entire policy on Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation. Is that overkill or are they trying to crack down on bullying like every other school is the U.S.?

What do you think about this case? Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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The New Girl

the-new-girl-fbBLOG POST #89: She was new at the high school, a freshman. Her family moved to the United States from Ireland. You may have heard or read about her story in the news. Being the new kid at a school can be difficult. Nobody disputes kids can be mean.

She was bullied for the first three months of school. The bullies were relentless.  The new girl began dating a popular boy; this didn’t sit well with the bullies. They verbally abused her, they threw things at her, they wrote abusive comments on social media, they threatened physical abuse, and they sent hostile text messages. It takes a strong, self-confident teenager to weather the storm of mean comments made with no other purpose than to hurt. The 15-year-old victim in this case couldn’t take it, she committed suicide.

Six students were charged with felony and misdemeanor charges as a result of the bullying. The charges ranged from assault and battery to criminal harassment. One 18-year-old boy was charged with rape, although he denied having sex with her.

The conduct of those charged, the district attorney said, “Far exceeded the limits of normal teenage relationship-related quarrels.”

Five students accepted plea agreements and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal harassment. Three teens were sentenced to probation and 100 hours of community service. Two were sentenced to probation. The rape charge against the 18-year-old was dropped at the request of the victim’s family.

Many states have since enacted anti-bullying laws. Some require more accountability of school staff to respond to reported cases of bullying. At the time of this incident, when a new law was under consideration, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives voiced concerns about responding to bullying rather than creating a culture change, “so that bullying is antithetical to a school’s culture…”

Worth mentioning: The victim’s family filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination alleging the school district failed to protect their daughter from discrimination. The family received a settlement of $225,000.

What do you think about this case? Do you think the sentences were just? What are your thoughts on mandating schools to be more responsive to reported bullying? Do you know of a school crime that you feel others should be made aware of? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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