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October 3rd, 2010
03:40 AM ET

Ellen: "We have to make it stop"

Josh Levs joins TJ Holmes CNN Saturday and Sunday Mornings, beginning 6am ET/ 3am PT.

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Josh Levs
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Barbara Johnson

    I find it very sad that these young children are driven to take their lives because of the behavior of others who have distorted, bigoted views of how people should 'be'. The worst part is that those who do the most bullying are the right wing extremists who are filled with fear in their own lives...from their churches, their parents, and their self-righteous animosity. Fifty years ago...a dear friend of mine in college...took his own life due to the same issue. He, like the young man from Rutkers, was a gifted pianist...whom we all loved dearly. Where is the nurturing, intelligent, educated, community? Why does it have to come to this? Look into your own soul and see what you can do to make life better for all people! Life is about living human beings...It is not about anger, hate and persecution...particularly from the Religious viewpoint. Right Wing Extremist Christians threaten and slander Muslims with the same distorted view with which they torture young men and women who are not led by extreme judgement of the behavior of others. To reiterate...This horrific 'holier than thou' behavior is the basis for terrorists of any religion...How very sad, indeed. Barbara

    October 3, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  2. Loretta Lopez

    Please direct this to Josh

    I would like to thank you for all the information on bullying.
    I am a mother of a 10 year old boy who is autistic (high functioning) he no longer attends public school he is home schooled by me. We decided to homeschool because of the bullying. I had been to the school many times for this problem and even tried to get school involved in Bully Awarness last year but they felt that they did not need it. Well it is not just the students that bully it is the teachers. I had a teacher flip a desk over to empty the contents so my autistic son could look for a pencil she did this in front of the entire class. When brought up at a meeting with a table of ten educators it was talked of as a common action to flip a desk over and humiliate a child. I beleive that bullying starts with the teachers, and the parents setting examples of who to isolate, who to make fun of and who not to be friends with it is a shame. The teachers I have dealt with do not teach community or any type of life value. It is not just fellow students but the entire educational system that targets and bullies. Teachers need to be educated in compassion, empathy and life value because from what I have seen teachers now a days just do not posses these traits so therefore in my opinion this problem will not get better it will get worst. As for me and my house we will never be a part of public education again.

    October 4, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  3. Dennis Lee

    The news item about the gay kids who were bullied until they commited suicide has been on cable news for about a week now. I can't stand it anymore. I'm not gay but I got picked on because I was a little kid. I went to Voy Wu school to study Bak Sil Lum in Boston Chinatown (he has since moved to Florida somewhere) for ...a few years. Nobody bothered me since. I did have to beat up a few people first though.

    Well I did have a few run ins since then but I fixed their wagons through legal means believe you me. I held back believing that the legal system will prevail, but that takes alot of work. It would have been alot easier if I just beat the hell out of them in the first place.

    October 5, 2010 at 10:47 am |
  4. Dave

    (I also posted this yesterday on Kyra's blog.)
    I read the responses to your canvas of the bullying issue. Replies spread across the spectrum from perpetrators to victims. Yes, I was one of those victims in elementary, junior and high school. I was an easy target (short, skinny, wore glasses since 1st grade). And although I didn’t realize my gay orientation until adulthood, I was a beacon for ridicule, taunts, intimidation and physical, psychological and emotional abuse: All the components of domestic violence victims.

    The abuse occurred in low-supervision areas: school bus, hallways (books dumped out of my arms), boy’s bathrooms (peer pressure), gym locker rooms (nicknames and ridicule for under-performing), and the playground (taunts and alienation). It continued into my adult Air Force career: I was continually reminded that I didn’t measure up to “the norm.” Adults can be more sophisticated with their insidious bullying (i.e., the “religious” bullies who take advantage of grieving families and questioning youth).

    The result of this bullying was my desire to champion and help other children and youth. I earned a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in school counseling. That worthy life’s work isn’t void of shadows, though – a strong aversion to risk-taking; and anxiety and panic-attack nightmares of being discovered, exposed or ridiculed in public places.

    Some responses defended the experience in order to teach youth “how to cope with life”, “survival of the fittest” and “to learn to find their strength.” All it taught me were dysfunctional techniques: fight or flight; the value of Power & Control (physically, socially, economically); and equalizers (weapons, etc). Research suggests that abuse victims continue in the role or become perpetrators–resorting to violence.

    Children and youth need to be taught empathy and social/coping skills to deal with stress, challenges and transitions. The “sink or swim” philosophy is a cop-out for the incompetent and unskilled poor role models. We need to be the scaffolding that supports our youth as they learn—then gradually removing the supports, piece by piece, as they test their wings and fly. Not crash…in suicide and destruction.

    October 5, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  5. Martha

    When a child is identified as a bully, look to the parents. Bullying is similar to emotional abuse, using bad language, being disrespectful and probably others, in that we humans copy the actions we are surrounded with. The bullies and their families should be required by the school to participate in counseling. If any family member refuses, the child should be suspended. We need to get the message across that bullying will not be tolerated.

    October 5, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  6. Chris

    Hi, I am an international student from Taiwan. I am not gay, but I think I need to share my life experience of high school for Ellen. In fact, I was also got bullies when I was teen age, so I transferred twice in my high school life. That’s why I’ve just prepared to start my college. I studied form normal high school to evening vocational high school. I was going to be a doctor, but now, I am just a simple community college student in the United States. I was so dejected, and I also thought about suicide at the time because the time was very painful. Sometimes, the special children were easy to be isolated or got bully by other children. For example, gift children, gay, retarded children, or famous people’s children. In Taiwan, we have some different way of bully. Taiwan student like to isolate or gossip about some people they don’t like to bully them, and If some Taiwan students got bully, They could make a group which is usually made by friends or gang to attack back for stopping the people who bully them, so in Taiwan, sometimes, we could see the groups fighting in the street when my high school life. However, I am not going to ask you do it to make group fight them. I just want to tell you that you are not alone in this “world”. Even today, I still not really understand why my classmates were so mean. In fact, it’s not just only in Taiwan. I also have heard this problem of bully form Korean and Japanese Today, when I've seen CNN report ask people try to take care of this problem, I am very happy because maybe, it’s not just wake up call for American. It’s may a serious waking up call for the every government of country in this whole world. Maybe, one day, many countries will follow the solution of the United Stated government if the American has any way to solve this problem for young students. So, Ellen, just be patience because not only you are waiting for it. Also, I hope American will fine the solution of stopping bully as soon as they can.

    October 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  7. Amie Densmore

    Let's get this straight right now; "bullying is a global issue", not just found in one school, one community or in one city over another, or one country over another. It starts at a very early age and as a core social problem of society itself. If it is not witnessed, talked about, and curbed immediately, as seen, it goes to the next stage which is 'violence' and after that it progresses to what we call 'wars'. We must develop a number of effective curriculums based strategies used in every school in our country and around the world that do not just lecture to, or talk at the children but involved them in teams as problem solvers, giving them the power to create solutions that they themselves will get involved with and teach their fellow peers. Then KIDZ will become committed to the solutions themselves and feel compassion for others that have experienced such a fate. I know this for a fact because as a teacher I have developed one little successful program addressing this very issue called kidsteachingkidz. Those that have felt the blows of bullying will experience a sense of healing (even the adults involved in the process) knowing that everyone in the class is involved together in finding the solutions, even the bullies themselves. Everyone (all humans) has either witnessed bullying, been bullied, or have bullied others themselves. We can be trained to stop this process and to heal ourselves (our society) but we must make it a part of every school program on all grade levels through college and it must continue every year forever, not just this year because it is a HOT TOPIC! If it has to be mandated at each school level so be it! Society must get a handle on this base issue NOW! Using the month of October to raise awareness of the nature of ‘Bullying ‘ for society, as a whole is a true beginning as long as it last every October year after year! Thanks again for your efforts on this very big and growing social / global issue!

    October 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  8. Jan Williams

    Even as a 53-year-old grandmother, I can still feel very clearly the pain of being emotionally bullied. I was a happy, extroverted child in the 3rd grade. In the 4th grade I became the target of a group of girls and overnight became a miserable introvert. Those same girls followed me through Middle and High School, making my life hell. Why? No idea. I don't even know if those women would remember what they did now, but I certainly do. It colored my entire school experience, and to this day I can't stand even to watch people being picked on in movies.

    I was watching a CNN segment about bullying the other day with my daughter, who is a teacher, and my 90-year-old mother. My mother dismissed the whole thing as 'making a mountain out of a mole hill.' "Kids have to work these things out for themselves," she said. "I never stepped in the middle for my kids. They have to learn to deal with it." My daughter and I looked at each other, appalled. I went through such agony, and my mother, who should have helped me, deliberately let me flounder through it by myself. For years.

    Perhaps this is the whole problem. The adults who could nip things in the bud, turn away. What happens between children on the playground isn't seen as serious. They forget that they are seeing the taunting and name calling through the eyes of an adult with a life time of coping experience. To a child, being picked on by other kids is a huge deal and not feeling accepted is a desperate feeling. I've been there.

    October 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  9. Laurie Cohen

    I was an outcast in grade school from 4th grade through to 12th grade. I was to eat lunch by myself every day, had no friends, and was called "stupid", "Lesbian," and "your mom should have had a miscarriage when you were born. You are a terrible mistake."

    This occurred in the 1970s-1980. I was told to ignore. The issue was pushed under the rug.

    October 10, 2010 at 7:57 am |