Sunday, August 22, 2010
Parents of Mentor High School Suicide Victim Sue High School For Standing Idly By Their Daughter's Blood
Sladjana Vidovic came to America with her family to escape the violence of her native Craotia. Unfortunately for her and for her grieving family, they settled in Mentor, Ohio, a town with a high school infamous for bullying. During her sad stay in that miserable town, Sladjana was taunted by both boys and girls. At one point, she was even shoved down a flight of stairs. Pleas from her parents fell of deaf ears. Many children who are bullied find their own victims and become victimizers themselves. Sladjana did not, however do this. She had a reputation of being kind and supportive to others, and kept her personal pain bottled up inside.
On October 2, 2008, Sladjana committed suicide. Her death was a part of a cluster of 5 suicides in a 2 year period among students at Mentor High School. The high school has also had is share of sexual abuse cases.
In an indication of just how clueless the administration is to the pain of the walking wounded who don't kill themselves, the Mentor High School administration announced a new grading system that does nothing to address bullying, taunting or physical abuse. A small excerpt of this new grading system reads as follows.
"Classroom conduct will not be a factor in a student's final course grade. While the school still will expect appropriate classroom conduct, regular attendance, punctuality and respect, those qualities don't represent a student's acquisition of knowledge and skills as measured by a grade."
So you can sit in class and sneer at some kid that you consider to be a lower life form and your grade won't suffer. That is beneath contempt. The way kids behave in the lunch room and at recess should matter at least as much as their grades.
Bullying is not some petty issue. It has a body count attached to it as well. The Vidovic family fled turmoil in Croatia and lost a daughter here. It is a disgrace to our country that such a thing should occur with no apparent redress. Bully Police is an organization founded by Brenda High, a mother whose 12 year old son Jared committed suicide in 1998, when he was 13 years old.
The death of victims of "bullycide" should spur people to action. Bill Cosby, speaking out about the suicide of Phoebe Prince, a 15 year old Irish immigrant who committed suicide in South Hadley Massachusetts noted as follows.
"the supposedly responsible adults at school who failed in their primary responsibility; creating a safe environment in which character and values are modeled by adults and in which academic learning can be maximized. I think the lazy, uncaring cowards that are now finding justifications and asking us to excuse their behavior deserve the strongest consequences."
Cosby also named individuals who he felt should be fired in the Phoebe Prince case.
The Northwestern Massachusetts District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel has filed charges against 9 individuals involved in the Phoebe Prince bullicide. Some people think she went too far. Others think that school administrators should be charged as well.
The comments by Bill Cosby on the Phoebe Prince story apply equally to Mentor School Superintendent Jacqueline Hoynes and Mentor High School Principal Joseph Spiccia, and their record of inaction at Mentor High School.
Conduct that would be criminal for adults should not be dismissed when the perpetrators are children. Character and social behavior are at least as important in the education of a child as the absorption of factual knowledge. Whatever strategies are used to combat bullying, children should go home from school with the knowledge that their behavior in social relationships is of critical importance. The best way to honour the memory of Sladjana Vidovic, Eric Mohat and Phoebe Prince is to create learning environments in which they would not have been driven to suicide. Sphere: Related Content
Posted by Magdeburger Joe at Sunday, August 22, 2010