Stop it!! Bullied children are dying from suicide because leaders chose money over safety
With solid connections between
- Bullying and 50% of teen suicides, the second leading cause of death for teenagers
- Bullying and teen suicide attempts (almost 7% of teens have attempted suicide)
- Bullying and permanently damaged mental health
- Bullying and increased drug use
- Bullying and (1 in 10 children) dropping out of school to escape being traumatized
- Bullying and future higher incarceration rates for both the bully and the victim
- Bullying and purposeful inaction by adults to address it which denies children a path to obtaining equal protection
the United States has a very serious Public Safety and Civil Rights problem. Along with life changing harm suffered by individuals, society is paying dearly to address the damage caused by bullying. Therefore, we are requesting President Trump, Senators and Congressmen to take the modest action to protect bullied children by providing them with a Universal Federal Hotline with a 3 digit number to call for help when being abused.
It is true, bullied children are dying from suicide because leaders chose "Liability Concerns" over safety. Millions of children every day are being harassed, hazed, stalked, assaulted and even raped at the hands of their peers, while adult leaders choose to look the other way to save money. For those of you who already know there is serious problem with how adults receive and address serious bullying complaints, please take the time now to Sign and Share this petition.
There are three mains reasons bullying is such a serious societal problem that is not being addressed because of "Liability Concerns".
1. Organizational leaders refuse to provide a hotline for bullied children and witnesses to call for help. A policy that offers children a place to report abuse also places liability on the organization to address such abuse. Choosing to remain ignorant is a safer legal position.
Fear, embarrassment and well-founded doubts that the responsible authority involved will help them are very real obstacles that prevent children from seeking protection from their abuse. Many adults fear the contention and do not want the work that often comes with addressing bullying, and therefore will also become aggressive towards a young victim asking for help. Many traumatized children are left with no where to ask for help. A Universal Federal Hotline with a 3 digit number for children to call is the solution, which will take the reporting process out of the hands of those who are supposed to address the abuse and often won't.
2. Organizational leaders refuse to train adults working with children on how to recognize and address bullying. A policy that trains adults working with children on how to recognize and address bullying also places liability on the organization when such training is not followed. Again, choosing to remain ignorant is a safer legal position.
A Universal Federal Hotline number which publishes reports and statistics on where the bullying is occurring is the solution. Everyone will know if an organization has a bullying problem. Public pressure will encourage these leaders to reduce bullying in their organization. Their solution will be to train adults working with youth on how to recognize and address bullying.
3. Organizational leaders refuse to give children a fair and prompt investigation into their bullying. A policy that offers a fair and prompt investigation might also expose negligence by the organization. Again, choosing to remain ignorant is a safer legal position.
A Universal Federal Hotline number is the solution. If an organization refuses to investigate and then address a bullying incident in a fair and prompt manner, the victim or their family can call the hotline back and inform them of the inaction. This will put public pressure on organizational leaders to protect children from life changing and life threatening abuse instead of showing the young victim and their family aggression to avoid "Liability Concerns".
The statistics published by the Universal Federal Hotline offers parents an informed right of refusal before leaving their children in the supervision of an organization.
**For those supporting this cause, please read our letter below for a better explanation on the Hotline Number. Please Sign and Share this petition, followed by writing your elected officials to encourage them to support a Universal Federal Hotline for bullied children to call for help. To learn more about us, please visit The Stop It Foundation.
I am writing to request that you sponsor new legislation that protects children from Bullying, which will save lives and promote a more decent and prosperous society. Millions of children every day are being harassed, stalked, assaulted and even raped at the hands of their peers. Fear, embarrassment and well-founded doubts that involved authority will help them are very real obstacles that prevent children from seeking protection from their abuse. Calculated policy decisions made by those who know better encourage ignorance and a culture where traumatized children can not find a clear path away from life changing harm. The United States has a very serious Public Safety and Civil Rights problem as a result. The very nature of a Civil Rights problem is where the less powerful are denied opportunities and protections from abuse by and for the benefit of those more powerful, something that is occurring by design against Bullied Children.
After losing our 14-year-old son to suicide in 2014, I started on the painful journey of understanding what led him to make such a permanent decision. The suicide note, chat logs and the testimony of witnesses all point to the same primary reason for his end of life decision, Bullying.
As we sought to have those who harmed our son Samuel corrected in the local organization where it occurred, we found aggressive evasion on the matter, which magnified the horrible pain our family was already suffering. We discussed our harsh treatment with multiple friends and acquaintances in our effort to understand its purpose. The reason they unanimously agreed it was happening, “Liability Concerns”.
I went on to read multiple stories on the internet where grieving parents received the same evasive and harsh treatment we received following the suicide death of their child, often with the organizational leaders involved acknowledging it was on the counsel of attorneys.
In our efforts to save 'the next child's life', we made a decision to no longer pursue justice for Samuel so that we could more effectively pursue policy change with the organization involved to protect future children, with the very leaders who showed us aggression in our worst moment. Those meetings were painful to attend, but we knew it would be worth it if we could bring about policy that would save lives. Although they agreed to have several meetings with us to discuss policy, I believe just to try and appease us, the final result was they were firm about no new policy that would protect children from Bullying. As we pondered the subject during these meetings, we realized the reason behind their firm resistance, again “Liability Concerns”. Policy that effectively protects children from abuse also increases potential liability for an organization.
A policy that offers children a place to report abuse also places liability on the organization to address such abuse, choosing to remain ignorant is a safer legal position. A policy that trains adults working with children on how to recognize and address bullying also places liability on the organization when such training is not followed, again choosing to remain ignorant is a safer legal position. A policy mandating a fair and prompt investigation into bullying incidents might also expose negligence by the organization, again choosing to remain ignorant is a safer legal position.
The sad reality is that 'good legal advice' that minimizes “Liability Concerns” is what is guiding policy on how Bullying is addressed in our society, not the input of mental health professionals. The purposeful ignorance on the counsel of attorneys does not come without a price to both individuals and society at large.
The connections between bullying and damaged mental health are well documented, which results in increased teen suicides (The second leading cause of death for teens). The damage to the mental health of a youth resulting from bullying can last their entire lifetime in the form of anxiety, depression, drug abuse and so forth. This places a great expense upon society to address. One in ten children are dropping out of school as a direct result of bullying, with even more having their education effected because of the fear they are experiencing at school. Uneducated citizens are more likely to need public assistance, a result of a damaged education diminishing opportunity and thus prosperity for the bullying victim. Children who do the bullying have increased incarceration rates when they enter adulthood, also resulting in a great expense to society. Appropriate correction will often send young aggressors in a more positive direction.
A cultural change replacing 'good legal advice' with the guidance of mental health professionals must come about. Until something occurs that convinces attorney's to change what 'good legal advice' is, nothing will change. That something is a Universal Nationwide Hotline Number from the Federal level that bullied children or witnesses can call to report abuse.
A Universal Nationwide Hotline Number will change the legal landscape on the ‘Bullying Awareness’ issue. When a child reports abuse to the hotline number, their report will be forwarded to the organization at which the abuse is occurring. With the reported abuse formally recorded, an organization can no longer claim ignorance as a legal defense. The hotline will also publish statistics for the number of calls coming in for each organization, which will put public pressure on organizations to address bullying if they have a problem. This will encourage ‘Bullying Awareness’ training for individuals working with youth. If an organization fails to address an abuse complaint in a fair and prompt manner, the victim can call the hotline back to report it, something the hotline will also publish statistics on. These published statistics will give parents the opportunity to have a badly needed 'informed right of refusal' in regards to where they are leaving their children.
A Universal Nationwide Hotline Number will discourage organizations shielding themselves from “Liability Concerns” at the expense to the larger society, and at the expense to the well being and lives of our children. Such a hotline is fiscally wise, considering what it costs to address the damage caused by bullying, and is morally the right thing to do.
Which brings us back to my request. Will you take action that helps protect the Safety and Civil Rights of bullied children? Will you sponsor legislation that offers children, their parents and witnesses a Universal Nationwide Hotline Number at the Federal level to call and report bullying? Please feel free to contact me with any questions, we will be awaiting your response.
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