A while ago I came across Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project. Although I haven’t uploaded a video, I have watched many videos people have done and applauded them. I was the victim of bullying in school. Not because I was openly pansexual, but because I was simply different. Even now adults think it’s all right to poke fun at that difference. It doesn’t bother me as much now, but I am aware of it.

Today I watched Rick Mercer’s video, “Rick’s Rant – Teen Suicide“. In it he tells adults, both straight and GLBT, that telling kids it gets better isn’t enough. That something needs to be done to stop the bullying. In it he says that 300 kids committing suicide from bullying per year is 300 too many.

I agree.

When I worked for Alberta Government, Alberta Education, I raised the question of bullying. I asked what was being done to stop it. Nothing, I was told. It isn’t a government concern. I went to the bathroom and quietly cried. If it isn’t a government concern, who’s is it? When we see the kid being bullied, when we hear about it, when we witness it, who’s concern is it? When a child kills himself and tears his family and friends apart because of bullying, why aren’t charges laid?

As an adult, if I am harassed (when you’re over 18 it’s no longer bullying, it’s harassment), I can go to the police and get help. I can go to the courts and make that person leave me alone. If I’m a teenager and I’m bullied, I can go to teachers. I can go to the principal. I can go to my parents, but what happens? Often the schools claim it’s the word of one student against the other. Really? A teacher can’t see when a student is obviously afraid and depressed enough to take their own lives? Especially when that student begs for help? Okay, so what proof do we need? Video? Okay, parents, arm your kids with cameras from now on.

We adults seem to keep thinking that bullying is a part of growing up but think about the facts for a second. If you went to work and were pushed around, beat up, called names, constantly, would you work there for long? What if your lunch or your money was taken from you daily by your co-workers? What if nasty pictures were posted all over the office? What if your co-workers spread vicious gossip on the company website? Would your bosses put up with that for long? Would they tell you that they couldn’t prove harassment was happening? Would they say it’s your word against someone else’s?

We have laws protecting adults from such activities but nothing protecting teens. If an adult were to commit suicide because they had to face the sheer harassment that teens do, someone would be held accountable by law. Companies and colleges have very clear harassment clauses and make the penalties for such behaviour very clear. Why are there not the same rules and regulations available for kids? Is it so unreasonable to get Alberta Education to create a harassment policy that is clear with clear consequences? Why aren’t police involved when it  comes to light that these kids commit suicide from harassment. As an adult, the law is on my side. Why not the same for kids?

300 suicides per year in Canada is 300 too many. Please. If you want to do something then speak up. Spread this blog. Spread Rick Mercer’s message. Write to government officials. Tell schools and school authorities that it is time to make this stop.

A child shouldn’t have to die to be heard.

300 children shouldn’t have to be subjected to fear, depression, ostrasization, loneliness because they’re different.

300 dead children means 300 torn families and lives affected.

300 too many.

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