Daniel Fitzpatrick of Staten Island was a sweet, loving, sensitive child.
Instead starting the new school year in a few weeks with the rest of his classmates, young Mr. Fitzpatrick will be found at the cemetery.
This boy is dead. The reason that he is dead is that he was bullied. The only solace he could find from the bullies is death.
The statistics are scary. Upon seeing their peers bullied, 85% of children will not stand up for their peers. Since the 80’s teenage suicide due to bullying has gone up 50%.
It’s easy to say that kids will be kids. Bullying is part of growing up. At some point, we get past the bullying that we experienced during childhood.
Pardon my French, but that is b*llsh*t. Bullying leaves emotional and physical scars that, even decades afterwards, still remain un-healed.
Not only should the school be held liable, but the parents of the children who bullied Daniel should be held liable. It is the job of the parents to teach their children to treat their peers with respect, even if their peers are different. These parents did not do their job.
I speak passionately about this issue because I was in Daniel’s shoes at that age. I could have killed myself, but I did not. The scars of that bullying still live with me, even 20+ years later.
While we cannot stop bullying in the school at a cultural level, we can stop at the individual level. When a child is bullied, especially when he or she takes their life, the parents of the bullies should be held accountable. They need to understand that their child was directly responsible for the unnecessary loss of their classmate.
Then perhaps, we can stop it at a larger cultural level.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.