Explain a time in your life when an obstacle changed who you were?
The screen glowed brightly in her face as she would check her Facebook, and wonder why people did this to her. “Who would be mean enough to treat a person like this?”, she would always ask me. The cruel, menacing, and terrifying words that some of the students had left behind on her Facebook page drove her more and more towards instability. They tortured her for no reason and they stripped away all of the confidence, assurance, and resilience that she had once acquired. Each week I would check on her multiple times to make sure that she was still holding up, but each time my presence seemed less wanted. No one knew what to do and how to deal with the problem that had arisen, and the idea of her depression increasingly affected all of the people around her. Eventually the cruel students comments had made her reach her limit.
That summer she had taken her own life. I could not look at anyone, my eyes glued to my feet as they stomped on the ground leading to her grave. The black dress and coat that protected me from the cold air seemed to do nothing to block out idea that the person that I had declared my honorary sister was now gone. Her whole family, friends, and I had been hit deep with the idea that other teenagers could make another human being take her own life. They could not even stand up, or apologize, or feel sorry.
In October of 2012, I found out that a girl just like my friend, Amanda, had taken her own life due to online ridicule. This news went viral, and spiraled into a debate targeting the cruel people behind the walls of the Internet. The problem with Amanda’s story is that several people knew, just like they knew about my friend, but no one did anything because no one had been educated on how to take care of such a large problem with kids and teenagers. Still, the thought that even if the students knew but they could not stop it was not what angered me the most, but the problem that seemingly innocent students would fuel the problem by joining in on the “teasing”.
Not only should students be informed on the ways to deal with online bullies, but also with bullies who openly mock and hurt a person. The two problems are inseparable. Parents and staff should also be informed when a bully is spotted, whether online, or on the school premises. If I had known what I could have done to keep my friend alive then she would be here now, and so would Amanda.