Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another One: Lexi Lopez-Brandies

I’ve been holding on to this story for over a week now. I didn’t want to post it before Christmas, and then I didn’t want to wait until the first of the New Year. But the fact is that these stories must be told because they’re still happening; we’re still wringing our hands and asking ‘What can we do?’

Alexis “Lexi” Lopez-Brandies, a 14-year-old freshman at Horlick Senior High School in Racine, Wisconsin, committed suicide just before Christmas.

A vigil was held last week in her memory, with nearly 200 mourners gathered outside her home carrying candles; the vigil was organized by both the Gay-Straight Alliance [GSA] and the Youth Empowered in the Struggle [YES!], a group for Latino students and friends.
“She was such a beautiful person and I wish everybody could have met (her) because she really did turn everybody’s life around in a positive manner.”—Michael Dollaka-Posch, a friend
Lexi’s friends and family believe she was the victim of bullying which lead to her taking her own life, saying she was verbally attacked at school and on social media.

Stacy Tapp, a spokesperson for the Racine School District, says officials are working with the GSA and YES! to come up with an effective program to address bullying, and to address issues confronting students who identify as LGBTQ, and while I applaud that, in a way, I’m tired of schools and school officials saying things like “we’re working on it.”

Here’s how it’s done: bullying is not acceptable behavior; ever. You bully someone; you’re out. The victims of the bullies aren’t punished; they aren’t told to stop “acting gay”; they aren’t told how they need to adapt; if you bully someone, you’re out. Even if you’re a teacher or a coach or another parent. You call it Zero Tolerance and you mean it. Zero bullying.

Work done.


And then maybe we won’t have Another One.

5 comments:

Helen Lashbrook said...

These stories seem never ending and no-one in authority ever cares enough to put in an across the board system of dealing with bullying. Teachers should go through training to identify and deal with bullying. If they are scared of the bullies then the support should be available from their peers and superiors to stand behind teachers taking action. All children should be taught that it is acceptable to be different, no matter in what way we are different from our peer group or those older or younger than us. And children should be taught how to deal with bullies; speaking to those in authority or perhaps older children identified as someone to go to with problems and the bully themselves may need help for whatever reason makes them inadequate enough to try and make others feel inadequate too. Bullies have often been bullied themselves. How hard would it be to make a difference so that children can feel safe?

the dogs' mother said...

Having spent time in the classroom, and the hallways, I know it can be very, very subtle. I like the idea of empowering children to stand up. Has to start early before you get to The Toxic Zone - middle school!

anne marie in philly said...

:(

S'A said...

So much of this starts at home. I think a school taking a strong stance can help, but if a child grows up in a bigoted, uncaring home, I'm not sure a good School Board or supportive teachers are enough. It's sad and I don't know what the solution is. I'm just glad I grew up in a family that taught me to think for myself and to judge people by their actions, not their appearance.

Angelia Nagel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.