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Area Suicides Bring Bullying Epidemic Into Sharp Focus

Berd, Flickr

It’s been a sad week in the tri-state. Within the last few days two teens–one in Muhlenberg County, the other in McLean County–have taken their own lives as a result of what’s thought to be the emotional abuse suffered at the hands of bullies. It’s a nationwide epidemic that has landed in our own backyards. We’re all incredibly angry. We’re all looking for answers. And we’re all aware of just how complicated getting to the bottom of this horrific and deadly plague might be. Each day during my afternoon show, I love to chat with the audience on Facebook. Usually, I put up an informal survey question to get some feedback about a certain topic, to find out what everyone’s thinking. And I normally throw in multiple posts throughout the day. But today was different. Jaclyn’s impassioned plea during her midday show lit up the WBKR Facebook page. (And, by the way, watch for Jaclyn’s upcoming blog that will feature an interview with Dr. Alan Beane–an expert on the subject of bullying.) So I decided to ask if anyone was aware of any programs set up in our schools or communities specifically designed to address the issue of bullying. Click here and you’ll see that I not only received answers to those questions but also comments and suggestions about what can be done elsewhere, if it isn’t already. Whether we knew these kids or not, we are all affected. We now have parents of young children with new concerns about their kids going into high school. And when I hear them speak of it, you’d think they were talking about a child going overseas to fight in a war. It feels like that’s what this has become–a teenage war zone. Your childhood is the best time of your life, but now it’s become a mine field. Well, I was encouraged, somewhat, by some of the responses I received. But it’s going to be very difficult, I believe, to really get at the heart of the bullying issue. It’s a cancer in the lives of our young people. It’s another fight we must join. And it’s one we have to win.

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