I know this post is going to stir up a lot of emotions and we might not all agree on what I have to say but that’s okay. As you might know, I worked as a reporter for 10 years. I had to write stories about the Ryle student who killed his family and then held his class hostage and the shooting at Columbine School. I remember everyone talking about both of these incidents for weeks after. The Ryle student shocked the community and the Columbine incident shocked the nation. Many other incidents have happened since.
Now three children have died, and two were injured, at Chardon High School near Cleveland, Ohio, only a few hours from my home town and I don’t hear anyone but the media talking about it. Are we so immune to this type of stuff now that we don’t even discuss? Or are we so mortified that this could happen that we try to not to think about it?
The media keeps bringing up whether or not the kid was bullied. Did bullying drive T.J. Lane to do this? And if he was bullied, does it really justify opening fire on other children? Lane did not even attend Chardon, instead attending nearby Lake Academy, which is for students with academic or behavioral problems. So was he choosing to be around people who were allegedly bullying him? People he could have avoided. And how did someone who is not a student enter this school with a gun and knife on him? That truly concerns me. I would hope someone who is not a student would not be able to enter my child’s school.
My daughter was hit several times by a boy in the fourth grade. I do not believe the schools did everything they could and I was outraged by this boy hitting my child. However, my daughter never thought once to turn to violence. I was so frustrated at one point that I gave her permission to just clock him (she’s frisky for as little as she is) but she refused. My son gets teased from time to time because he is much more of an intellectual than an athlete. However, I have given him the skills and words to deal with this. For example, if a child picks on him for not throwing the ball as far as someone else, he might just say “well I’m glad you can throw the ball far, but I’m not sure how much that will help you when I’m your boss in 15 years.”
I realize bullying can get intense and cause children to want to commit suicide or hurt the one doing the bullying. Parents definitely need to teach their child not to bully. However, we as parents are responsible to teach our children how to deal with this. And it is our responsibility to make the schools accountable. So many schools want to ignore the issue but they must deal with it or it can elevate to school violence or suicide.
I sometimes wonder if the schools don’t do everything they should because bullying has become such a common word and is used to describe any type of confrontation between kids. In this article, http://communitypress.cincinnati.com/article/C2/20120301/NEWS/303010041/CNE-student-sent-ER-after-bullying-incident?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7C%7Cs, Rhandi Morrison’s mother claims Rhandi was bullied. She was injured in a fight and had to go to the ER. However, Rhandi called the other girl a name and then was hit. Is that really bullying or is that just a high school girl fight? I really want to know what you think. I have taught my children not to talk about other people (even when their friends are) and to not name call. I have also explained that if they do, they better be willing to deal with how the other child takes it. I hope my kids listen for their sake.
I have taught my kids to always stand up for themselves with their words and for their friends. My son often comes home and tells me about a boy in his class who is teasing other kids. He knows that I will immediately ask if he stood up for them. I encourage him to tell the boy that it isn’t nice or ask him why he is bullying the other child.
I have often found that some children, especially girls, don’t even realize they are bullying until they are called out on it. I don’t think most kids go to school and think “I should bully Suzy today.” So teach your kids to call them out on it! If they are made aware at a young age, maybe they will quit doing it before things get ugly. It also seems that the schools have bullying seminars but they only discuss how to deal with bullying. Parents and schools need to talk to kids about not being a bully.
Family Friendly Cincinnati (http://familyfriendlycincinnati.com/2010/05/06/is-your-child-being-bullied/) and WLWT (http://www.wlwt.com/backtoschool/19770037/detail.html) have posted great stories on bullying.
Many, including Lane’s family, are saying the incident at Chardon High School had nothing to do with bullying. So did Lane just choose to kill that day for no reason? CNN reported that Lane’s household was one filled with violence and that both of his parents had been arrested for domestic violence. His father had also been charged with assaulting a police officer and served time in prison after trying to suffocate a woman by holding water flowing from a hose over her mouth and nose so she could not breathe. Filing for divorce from the teen’s mother in 2002, his father was charged with attempted murder, felonious assault and kidnapping. Lane has been charged with assault before. So instead of people saying he killed because he was bullied, should they be saying he killed because he was taught violence was okay?
It looks as if 17-year-old Lane is going to be charged as an adult. I completely agree with this decision. He is an avid hunter, which makes me assume that he knows a little about gun safety, which includes not taking a gun to a school. He got a gun, then walked or drove to a school he does not attend, walked in and shot a group of boys. One boy was trying to get away and he gunned him down. This was premeditated murder. Thank goodness for the gym teacher who chased Lane out of the school. Otherwise, more could have been killed or injured.
And at what point will the parents be held liable? They taught this teen that violence was okay. Mothers, we teach our daughters how to treat men and how they should be treated. Fathers, you treat your daughters how they should be treated and how your sons should treat women. We also teach our sons how they should be treated. If you beat your spouse or children, you are teaching your child that is okay. If you verbally abuse your spouse or children, you are teaching your child that is okay. This also applies to parents who are divorced. If you constantly talk down to the mother or father of your child, whether you are married or not, you are teaching your kid it is okay to be talked to that way. I don’t know if Lane’s parents should face prison time for what their almost adult son did but parents need to take ownership of their role in these kinds of situations.
This also has me thinking of gun safety again (see previous blog: http://wp.me/p1VdOI-2Y). Some say guns don’t kill, people do. I say people can’t shoot someone dead without a gun. I’m not saying no one should ever be allowed to have a gun. I just think we need stricter guidelines.
So why don’t I see anyone talking about this tragedy on Facebook, hear my co-workers talk about it at lunch or my friends asking me if I heard? Why aren’t we talking about how the rest of the kids who were there that day, the other two shot and those who witnessed it, are going to deal with this for the rest of their lives? It truly seems like everyone, but the media, is acting like it didn’t happen. This is a terrible thing that impacts everyone no matter how close you live to Cleveland, Ohio. It shows us that this can happen in any school. Someone who doesn’t even attend the school can just walk in and gun people down. What are we going to do about it to ensure nothing like this happens again?
Please share your thoughts. It is okay if we all have different opinions, just be respectful.
I know that my co-workers and I talked about it and that I did have a discussion with my children about it. I read in one of the articles that the boy actually tweeted about taking the gun to school and it was ignored. I am sorry, but those that saw the tweet should be held accountable to some extent. If you saw this and did nothing you are partially responsible. I mean, why can’t you alert someone????? That is just my belief. If I see weird posts on fb between kids, I get involved. Even if it is just about going out and having a drink. They know I am watching and mostly know that I care enough about them to get involved. I have called parents before and even the school about stupid little petty stuff. I do not tolerate bullying and teach my kids to step in if they see it happening. I have even gone so far as to tell other parents and teachers that if they see my children acting inappropriately, they can handle it. Call me later, take action now!!! I hope that never happens because of how I raise my children but as a parent, you can’t be responsible for what they do all the time.
The schools my girls attend have a policy of what to do if this happens at school. I think they are to find a room and lock the doors. I’m sorry, I have told my girls to get out!!! If a student brings a gun to school, he knows where to find you. Hello???? Get out and make your way home. I don’t care how many kids show up safe at my house!!!!
Thanks for letting me vent!!!
Well obviously getting under a table doesn’t work. He gunned the kid down who did that. I guess I want them to just get in a safe place whether that means running out of the building or getting behind a locked door. This whole story is disturbing but how does a kid who doesn’t even go to school there just walk in and kill people? Could this happen in our school? I have talked to my kids about it and will continue to do so. It is just scary.
A friend posted this on my FB page: The middle school had an assembly yesterday, and not sure if you noticed but a good amount of 8th graders took to this, they apologized for things they may have done , or expressed how being bullied, had made them feel. I agree, parents ne…ed take responsibility for their kids and their actions. Like it or not when you have a child they are your responsibility until they are 18.
As a parent you are to be nosey, get involved ask questions. No kid is perfect, no kid is 100% kind all the time. Teen years are hard, but violence is NOT the answer. As parents, teachers, mentors, clergy, we have the duty to teach against violence, and bullying, but also to teach how to deal with it. Words you say can hurt, getting kids to think before they speak is hard, especialy when you have parents with the “not my kid syndrome” (this is when parents think their kids are perfect and would do no wrong) . Whether or not this kid was bullied or is a victim of home violence, he chose to walk in with the intent to kill and unfortunately he was successful! Parents step up, no kid is perfect get involved teach right from wrong, teach the golden rule! Yes, kids can still turn to violence if parents do the right things however the chances are slimmer.
Gina, I appreciate thid article , no matter where u lives, noone is exempt from this, like it or not, it can happen anywhere, knowledge is power . The more we discuss this and equipt our kids with education on how to spot this and handle it, the safer they all will be!
I do find it strange how quickly this one has disappeared from the dialogue. I wonder how much of it has to do with a culture that is less able to stay focused on anything that isn’t delivering pleasure. We shift, we quit, we address issues 140 characters at a time.
But part of it may just be not knowing what to say.
On another note, if this story has resonated with you, as it seems it has, you should really read Douglas Coupland’s “Hey, Nostradamus.” It is a story of a school shooting told in the aftermath from the perspective of several different characters, including one of the victims. It’s a wonderful read.