Cyberbullying: 13-Year-Old Houston Boy Dies of ‘Bullycide’
Asher Brown, an 8th grade student at Hamilton Middle School in Houston, Texas, committed suicide last Thursday after enduring two years of relentless bullying at school. Brown’s mother and stepfather say their son was bullied about “his small size, his religion and because he did not wear designer clothes and shoes.” Moreover, students accused Brown of being gay and often mocked him during gym class. The most recent bullying incident occurred just one day before Brown’s suicide when another student tripped Brown as he was walking down a staircase in school. After the 13-year-old boy fell and attempted to pick up his books, the bully kicked the books and then proceeded to kick Brown down the remaining set of stairs.
Brown’s parents told reporters that they made several complaints about the harassment to Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District officials, but calls were never returned. The district, however, claims they never received any such reports.
“That’s absolutely inaccurate- it’s completely false,” says Amy Truong, Brown’s mother. “I did not hallucinate phone calls to counselors and assistant principals. We have no reason to make this up… It’s like they’re calling us liars.”
‘Bullycide’ (suicide caused by incessant bullying) can be prevented if teachers, students, parents, and school officials act quickly after they learn about frequent assaults and harassment. More often than not, bullied victims come across as introverted and labeled unstable individuals. Onlookers simply dismiss the victim as being troubled or depressed without investigating further as to why the victim may be distressed. Communities must work together to create a safe environment for teens that encourages both victims and witnesses to report bullying with assurance that all such reports will be taken seriously and addressed immediately. Otherwise, the number of bullycide deaths will only grow.
Tagged as: bullying, cyber bullying, education, Internet Safety, parenting, reputation, safety, schools