Amber Rose Caudel died last week … from bullying.
Oh sure, there were no real physical marks on her body because it wasn’t as though the bullies actually murdered her, but years of taunts and pushes and shoves, being spit on in the halls, and name-calling finally took their toll, and Amber came home one afternoon and hanged herself in her bedroom.
She was twelve.
Scott Caudel, Amber’s father, says she was picked on in both person and online and finally gave in to the harassment and the threats.
"Amber wanted to be popular, Amber wanted to be one of those kids that everybody wanted to be with. It doesn't matter if you knock their books out of their hand, or give them a dirty look, or call them a name, it hurts. It hurts." — Scott Caudel
Lexy Greenwood, a family friend, went to Amber’s school — Evergreen Middle School in Everett, Washington — along with Scott Caudel to help students grieve and urge them to treat other kids with respect, and to stop this senseless bullying. And, in a sign of solidarity, hundreds of students marched out of the school in protest and as a way to pay their respects to Amber.
"If I can help any families from having to go through this then it's been worth something. This was totally preventable and didn't have to happen and I pray that no family has to go through this kind of pain ever, ever again." — Lexy Greenwood
The Everett Police Department is investigating the death and due to their open investigation they haven't issued a statement. The Everett School District says that they are always looking at their policies when it comes to bullying and added that they remain committed to zero tolerance for bullies in their school system.
Always looking? If that’s the case, how did Amber Caudel slip through the cracks and be harassed to death? And if you say you’re ‘committed to zero tolerance’ why was nothing done before Amber killed herself?
I am sick to death of these schools, and school administrators and teachers talking, after the fact, about all they do to prevent bullying, because I can guarantee that at least one teacher or counselor or cafeteria worker heard students bullying this girl and they did nothing.
Nothing. And, in fact, some of Amber’s friends say they told at least one teacher that Amber was being harassed, but nothing came of that.
“I don't know about that. I cannot imagine that anybody at this school or another one, hearing about that would not rush to do something to help.” — Everett School District spokeswoman Mary Waggoner
Well, I can, because it keeps happening and happening and happening.
Waggoner then tries to play the ‘We do what we can’ card by adding that the district has bullying hotlines, and that they'll talk with students about what more should be done.
I’ll take it for you, Ms. Waggoner: stop it. Stop it in its tracks. If a teacher, or anyone at any school, hears any bullying, stop it right there. And if it continues, suspend the bullies; and then if it continues expel them.
That’s zero tolerance.
Scott Caudel says no one would stop the bullying of his daughter.
“I'm not mad at one person. I'm not mad at Evergreen Middle School, I'm mad at the system.”
I am, too; I am tired of reading about these kids, who could have had bright futures, who could have done great things, but who can’t because no one cared to listen when they asked for help.