Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another One: Zachery Gray .... And Another One ....


Zachery Gray was 18-years-old when he tried to kill himself as a result of being bullied; well, as a result of being called "fag" and "Gay Zach" and "queer" on a daily basis, even though he was straight and had a girlfriend.
After enduring yet another day of constant bullying, Zach, who’d been suspended for pulling a prank on a teacher, headed home. That afternoon, he tried to hang himself with a dog chain in a shed behind his home, but neighbors, his mother and paramedics were able to save him.
Zach was set to graduate from Zephyrhills High School this year but now suffers from brain damage and requires 24-hour care at a local medical center. He can no longer walk or talk.
And now his family is speaking out, saying the school did not do enough to stop the incessant bullying of Zach. Under Florida law, school officials must report bullying incidents and "develop plans for ending harassing behavior," but now, citing privacy concerns, the school is refusing to comment. In fact, Zach’s father says school officials won’t even return their phone calls.
A young boy tried to kill himself and the officials cannot pick up a phone. But, oh, it gets worse.
It seems that Zachery Gray complained of the teasing and the taunts; students had been making fun—and we really shouldn’t call it ‘making fun’ anymore--of his weight and sexuality, by  calling him "heavy" and "Zach Gay" during a field trip. And Zach did what he was supposed to do; he complained to the teacher on that field trip, Brenda Carlson,
Carlson told investigators that she asked Zach: "If someone calls you a tree, are you a tree? And if someone calls you gay, does that make you gay?"
And that’s all she did. She didn’t report the incident and didn’t even bother to speak to the students who were taunting Zach. In fact, after Gray’s suicide attempt, she told investigators "she did not have any concerns that Zach was being bullied." 
Even.Though.He.Told.Her.
Brenda Carlson no longer works for the district. Which is a little convenient.
"Her job was to come to me, tell me, go to the principal, go to authorities," said Lynn Gray. "She did nothing."
And now a boy cannot walk or talk.

And then.....

In Detroit, a 14-year-old girl peered through the keyhole of a locked door and found her brother hanging from a bunk bed with a belt around his neck.
She screamed for her mother and called 911. Her mother and a neighbor broke through the door of the boy's room, took him down and called 911, but it was too late.
He was seven.
His mother said her son, whose name is not being released, had been depressed about being bullied by other kids at school and in his neighborhood, and about his parents' recent separation.
Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. said he was told the boy had expressed a desire to harm himself, and the mother told him that her son was being counseled by the family's pastor to help him cope.
The boy's family does not want to comment.
A seven-year-old is dead.

The two cases are as different as they are the same.
One young man told officials he was being bullied and they did nothing to stop it.
One young boy talked to his pastor and tried to work though his parent’s separation and the fact that he was bullied.
But the bullies were never confronted and so the bullying never stopped.
Until Zach Gray tried to kill himself and a young boy in Detroit tied a belt around his neck.
When are people, and by people, I mean the parents of the bullied, the parents of the bullies, teachers, school officials, politicians, going to realize that this is a problem and do something about it.
How many more kids have to die, or permanently scar themselves for life, before someone says ‘Enough.’
Zach’s school district needs to accept responsibility. Brenda Carlson needs to stop teaching and accept her role in this. I wonder, if she’d said anything to anyone might the bullying have stopped, and might Zach be graduating in June instead of lying in a hospital bed?
I wonder….

8 comments:

the dogs mother said...

so very sad.

Ask the Cool Cookie said...

Regarding Zach Gray - Oh, how I know that sage advice that adults give to kids who are under attack and just want someone to step in and read the tormentors the Riot Act.

When I was being bullied in starting in third grade, my mother would say things like "Just walk away," and "Just say something like 'I am rubber and you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.' and then walk away." Like that wouldn't invite more attacks.

It just pisses me off when these fucking half wit adults are too chicken shit cowardly to walk over to the bully and his/her minions and say: "This stops now and this isn't going to happen in the future, is IT?" and then watches like a hawk.

Tobey said...

I just don't understand these teachers. I use to teach for 18 years in christian elementary schools....and believe me just because they are "church schools" did not mean there wasn't just as much of this crap going on. I would watch my student like a hawk...never giving them one moment to strike out. Teaching is not an easy job but you know what you are signing up for when you do it. These teachers need to step up and take charge.

mrs.missalaineus said...

one of the problems we encounter where i work is that we intervene, document,write up AND NOTHING HAPPENS ON THE ADMINISTRATIVE END. when kids get sent back to the classroom with no consequences after calling kids and staff members faggot and bitch it pretty much takes what little authority away from us we have in the classroom. what's worse is when the parents support the kids' in their speech by using the same terminology in the home. when the parents refer to the other students/staff in the same fashion in discussions with administrators, it really makes me wonder who is running the show now- us or the kids? teachers can't do their jobs without the support of administrators.

do we know if the school knew about what was going on with the 7 year old? this happened very near to where i work and i was heartbroken to hear about it, yet the free press did not mention if the school had been involved.

in our school culture we fight against the 'snitches get stitches' mentality and when we catch the kids and write them up, it's almost a joke when the come back knowing that the lack of response from the administration means they will be able to get away with it again, again, even when we put ourselves physically in the middle and demand the taunting stop...even when we have verbatim comments verified by other staff and the students affected.....

again, it's not just the teachers who are guilty- it's also the administrations that don't listen to us when we DO have the courage to stand up against bullying.

Biki said...

wipes tears from face

Wonder Man said...

no words

Anonymous said...

So unnecessary and sad.....

cheesekotah said...

This is so sad. i mean a 7 year old? Bullying needs to stop somehow and i do not think the government will stop it. I think we as a whole are the only thing that can stop it.