Bullying in schools has been making the news a lot lately. It was heart wrenching to hear 12-year-old Shawn Walsh talk about losing his 13-year-old brother Seth to suicide due to constant bullying and taunting by classmates. Even more so to hear how he had to cut him down from the tree from which he hanged himself after their mother discovered him.
“Losing my brother, Seth, was horrible — cutting him out of the tree was the last thing anybody would want to do,” Shawn told Dr. Phil on his show this week.
No child should ever have to experience that. Nor should any child have to feel as though there is no way out other than suicide.
The boy and his mother were guests on a powerful episode of the Dr. Phil show this week, along with Ally, a young girl who shared with it feels like to be spit on and thrown into trash cans, and Sam, a 13-year-old girl who takes brass knuckles to school and says she feels powerful when she bullies her classmates. Parents, teachers and experts also were on to discuss bullying in schools. The audience was filled with parents whose children are victims of bullying.
Dr. Phil McGraw has done numerous shows on how to stop bullying and cyberbullying in efforts to stem the number of teen suicides. The subject has received much media coverage and attention from celebrities after the suicide deaths of Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student whose sexual encounter was broadcast over the Internet, and Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old gay high school student who had been bullied for years. Sesame Street launched an anti-bullying campaign in 2011.
The Dr. Phil show was filled with tragic tales, but also advice on how to spot whether your child is being bullied or the one doing the bullying. The shows website is filled with excellent resources, including an Anti-Bullying/Cyberbullying Pledge for Students and one for parents.