Monday, June 04, 2012

Another One: Joel Morales


Joel Morales did leave a note, but his family knows why he took his own life at age twelve.
He was bullied, at two different schools because he was short, and because he was smart, and because his father was dead.
Joel Morales, a fifth-grader from East Harlem, had recently moved to a new school because of the incessant taunting he endured for months at his old school. But the move didn't help.
Kids chased Joel, and threw sticks at him, and hurled pipes at him, and teased him because he was smart and was 4-foot-9. He seemed able to handle it, until the kids began taunting him about his father, who died when Joel was four years old.
And so, rather than face one more day, Joel's mother, Lisbeth Babilonia, found him hanging in their apartment at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, hours after she had organized a search party because he hadn't returned home on time from an after-school club.
Maria Ubiles, an occupational therapist who worked with Joel Morales at one of the schools because of his small stature, says Joel only reluctantly talked about his problems: "It was very difficult, especially with a child like Joel who wants so badly to please everyone, to see that he was really in pain, that he was struggling."
Arlene Gago, a youth minister from a church group, said spoke with Morales regularly, but said she had no idea what he was enduring: "I always asked him, 'How you doing? How's school? We talked but he'd never tell me what was going on."
A classmate told Joel Morales’ family that Joel had said he was tired of the bullying and told them the details of the remark about his father that sent him over the edge.
School officials declined to comment on the alleged bullying, citing privacy issues.
Privacy issues. A boy is dead; a once happy child took his own life and they can't speak because of privacy issues?
What about issues of saving a child's life? What about the issues of protecting a child from bullying while he's in your care?
What about trying to save these kids from hanging themselves and shooting themselves and swallowing pills to end it all?
What about that? Isn't that more important than privacy concerns?
Look at that face up there. That happy, smiling, smart boy's face. He may have been short; lotsa people are short. But he was smart. I wonder if Joel Morales, had he not been taunted to death, might have grown up to find a cure for cancer, or a way to end HIV. Maybe he could have been president.
Or maybe he'd just be another human being living his life the way he wanted.
We'll never know. Now.
via MSNBC

10 comments:

the dogs mother said...

A regular educational discussion is about smaller class sizes. And it is discussed for academic reasons. But you notice things when you aren't drowning in a sea of kids, piles of papers and an administration/state government and feds breathing down your neck.

Debbie said...

This seems to be a terrible trend. I have always HATED bullies and had my share of experiences. I was a skinny little girl going to a junior high that was loaded with gang bangers. I'm talking hard core from the 1970's. School officials never did a thing about bullying because back then it was just viewed as a right of passage. Parents need to discipline their children when they see them bullying. Schools need to discipline children when they see them bullying. BUT NOBODY DOES ANYTHING ABOUT THIS. If my mother saw me bully anyone I'd get an hour long lecture on "who the hell do you think you are" and then she'd put me in the other kids shows so I could feel what the other kid was feeling. Talk about shame. Parents and authority figures are afraid of kids. Afraid of stepping on their 'rights', afraid of dealing with parents who think their kids are perfect. I say go back to the olden days when I was a kid and if you acted out you got your ass swat with a paddle in front of the entire class. Hard to say whether that worked or not but kids, even the crazy ones, had a healthy fear/respect for their elders. Bottom line it is TRAGIC and I don't know if I can take reading another story about another poor kid who was driven to suicide. TRAGIC.

Love and pray to this poor little boy's family.

XOXO
Deb

KDNA said...

privacy issues.

i'd like to publish the names and phone numbers of the bullies, their parents and the teachers who chose to do nothing.

that way, they can all hear about we think of them and their needs for privacy.

SteveA said...

It's so out of control - school officials always say the same thing for their incompetence - they don't even know what's going on in their own back yard!

Privacy issues? This should be made public - I keep hearing kids will be kids - but these kids names should be made public and their parents need to explain what happened! They are way to relaxed for the severity of what's happened!

the dogs mother said...

If you want children's names to be released you have to change the law in your state.

Biki said...

Bullying isnt just a rite of passage, its assult, plain and simple. We as a nation need a sea change to realize its past time to do something about bullying in schools.

Things must change. This is something that Obama needs to put his shoulder behind.

Ron said...

So sad. I wish I was there to confront his tormenters. Bullying isn't a "right of passage" but unfortunately it is still considered so by too many of those in authority to do something about it. Then there are those in authority who are just too lazy to stop the bullying. This has to stop.

Anonymous said...

He didn't deserve to kill himself...justic will be serve...s.i.p. Lil man....it will be so sad not seeing u at the parties any more but I know your there in spirit

Anonymous said...

i CANT BEGIN TO COMPREHEND THAT FACT THAT THIS HAPPENED AND I WILL NEVER GET TO HOLD U IN MY ARMS. jUSTICE WILL BE SERVED U ARE MISSED U DID NOT DIE IN VINE. i WILL LEAVE IT IN MY GOD'S HANDS CUS POLICE DID NOT DO NOTHING. ONLY GOD CAN SEE ALL THINGS AND NO WAT REALLY HAPPENED. I WISH YOU WHERE HERE BUT UR NAME, UR STORY, UR LOVING MEMORY WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE FROM NOW ON..
LOVE U PAPI S.I.P

Anonymous said...

I hope you bullies get this message I loved joel as a friend I was devastated for 10 weeks the next time I see you bullie sombody I will call the cops.he didn't even live his life yet so wha t he was short he was smart he can't choose to be short and then you talk about his father and at the funeral you have a nerve to come and pray and march that's so sick that discust me I'm still pissed about that I have his picture on my wall
I will never forget him he will always bin my heart