I, like many people, was highly disturbed when I heard about the circumstances of Adriana Kuch’s death. A 14-year-old girl driven to suicide after being assaulted in the hallway and then humiliated with a video of the incident on social media.
The school allegedly ignored previous signs of bullying prompting a student-led walkout. If their walkout works students should do it all over the country because there is nothing unique about a school ignoring bullying.
Pretty much every single parent of a kid who has been bullied has a story about feeling ignored by teachers or even administrators. Children often say schools don’t do anything when they tell them about another student bullying them because they don’t. A lot of school-based decision-makers find it very easy to write off allegations of bullying as normal childhood behavior. And unfortunately, they aren’t wrong because bullying is in-fact normal. But one of the reasons it is normal is because the administrators write it off.
All around the country schools actively send the message that bullying is acceptable. They do it by ignoring students and parents who complain. They do it by allowing bullies to go unpunished. They do it by neglecting prevention strategies.
Bullying can be defined as the repeated harassment of another. The tenure of many administrators is defined by ignoring that harassment. That inaction has consequences. The consequences aren’t always as dire as they were for Adriana Kuch, but they could be. Hopefully, this is a lesson that other schools don’t have to learn the hard way.