As I write this, I am somewhere along the feeling line of physically painful heartache, pissed offedness (Yeah, I’m making up my own fucking words now), and feeling that I’m living a lie everyday. Last night, a beautiful 15 yr old girl died in my town. It would be one thing if she died in a car-wreck or some other type of accidental manner, but Tori’s death was entirely preventable!
I can’t help feeling like we as a community failed this beautiful soul; you’d think one of us “adults” would’ve been able to see the pain she was in. I know that someone in the high school she attended had to know she was being bullied. I can only imagine who alone she must have felt to consider suicide her only method of escape. I’m not just saying I know how alone she must have felt, to be empathetic; I remember being the first time I considered suicide an option, it was the time my dad choked me on the stairs and I held my breath so he’d think I was dead. But for me, school and classmates weren’t my personal hell like they were for Tori.
School, it was like my fucking fortress of solitude; perhaps part of the reason I got a degree in education, was so I could help provide someone else with the safe haven that I had. There were times when I literally slept outside of the auditorium doors; I knew if I went to hang with one of my friends who had an apartment, I wouldn’t be dragging my ass back in the morning.
In the last 24 hours, I’ve heard or read comments from a myriad of people who were upset with the school administrators for not doing anything. Yes, I feel their anger but I can’t fully embrace it-You know why? Because they had crappy ass counselors when I was in Middle & High school too (Not all of them, Martha Street rocked!). Shit, my mom and original guidance counselor met and discussed how I got along with almost everyone, from every “clique” in my school.
Here’s where the failure part comes in, they never once discussed the hand shaped bruises across my neck or my black eye. If they weren’t “capable” of preventing that, how can we honestly expect the majority of these people to help our kids? We can’t, well at least not completely on their own. If you’ve ever seen a teenager with a phone in their hand, you know they could type out a manuscript for the modern day version of Moby Dick, in the amount of time it would take some administrators to whip out their phones. Can you imagine all the rumors and innuendo that could spread via facebook and Twitter by 10 teens, in the span of an hour?
Now, imagine you are the person who the lies and rumors are being spread about….who do you tell? Do you meet with that same school counselor, a group of friends—although, you never know how many lies have been made up about them, using your name of course. At first, I thought maybe the bullies had been through something traumatic themselves and that is why they’re bullies.
But, that’s a fucking bullshit copout! I experienced some really painful & fucked up things, but I never intentionally hurt someone. Instead, I’ve always tried to be nice to everyone (I did say try. Every once in a blue-moon, you run into someone who is generally just mean, and even I can be persuaded to give up my attempts at kindness……
This piece will be ongoing, as I’ve got many thought’s about this devastating situation….but I also had surgery last week, and I’m already pushing it ;).



  1. Teen age years have to be one of the toughest times for us to get through. Being around that age group as much as I am.. I try to keep my eyes out for signs.. but, it can be overwhelming when there are so many of them.. and so few of “us”. It saddens me to read things like this, because what these kids miss is that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I wish that there was more we could do, but the staff at schools are so bogged down with crap from the state and nation..that we are missing the kids… and that ticks me off.


    • I know, and when I was getting my Bachelor’s I was in rural schools; the kids were the most open and accepting upper elementary students that I’d been around. Unfortunately, not all of the teachers were as accepting. One of my fellow student teacher’s and I, would eat lunch togother in one of the classrooms and we would allow a few students to stay in as well. It was a really good way to get to know the students, what their passions were, what they hated or feared. Some of the older teachers were made because we refused to gossip about the students during lunch.
      My classroom teacher for the first portion of my student teaching wanted me to lie by omission to the students; she didn’t want any of them to know that I had Multiple Sclerosis. Well, I accidentally forgot that I was supposed to keep it a secret. One of the students who was really close to me, made fun of her classmate because she received pullout services. I took the student into the hall and told her that sometimes all of us need help. I asked her if she thought that I ever needed help, of course she said no. Then I told her that right after my 17th birthday, I developed MS; I told her that I spent the majority of that year in the hospital because I was unable to move from the neck down.
      Then she started to understand my point, then I asked her if she remembered coming to me for help with her math earlier that day. Those two girls became really good friends for several years. My classroom teacher tried to lower my points for the week, she said some parents might not want someone who was “sick” to teach their kids.Later during my time in this classroom, I had to receive treatment for an exacerbation; my poor kids were so worried and scared because she didn’t want me to tell the truth. One little boy went to ask me about it and several students yelled at him, because they had been told not to mention it at all.
      I’ve had some crazy academic experiences, and if it was like that for me I can’t imagine a student with a problem, feeling safe enough to talk to a teacher like that one.



    • It makes me so sad; when everything else in my life was fucked up, school was my safe haven. I “house hopped” (spent the night on the couches of friends, my surrogate families’, boyfriends and even a one time substitute teacher who had a crush on me), during what was my graduating class’ first semester of senior year. Even when I was in foster homes, a shelter or group home, I was still involved with school. In the end, instead of graduating a year late because of my paralysis, I was given special permission to take my GED & I started college a semester early.
      In my state, our whole educator and guidance counselor guidelines have been hijacked by a man whose biggest accomplishment is that he was a high school coach. Ou state board of Ed has decided that teachers only need a few classes on how to teach & their main focus should be a content area….umm, I’m going to go out on a limb and say he hasn’t been in an elementary classroom recently. We teach all of the content areas & if you know the subject matter but can’t present it in a way that your students can learn from, then it doesn’t really matter if you’re an expert in your subject area.
      They’ve also changed the requirements for guidance counselor education; they are now required to take a bunch of education courses, but they don’t get any experience performing counseling.
      If they can’t even figure out how to prepare our educators and counselors, how can we expect these people to effectively deal with bullying…..plus, it’s not required on our standardized tests, so the powers that be don’t care…..


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