When Kids Kill With Words

The torment bullies unleashed on Rosalie, Mallory and Brandy elevated childish schoolyard hazing to something like torture. Their attackers didn't limit heartless, hateful taunts to recess. These bullies used social media to follow these girls virtually everywhere — until they broke. Rosalie Avila, Mallory Grossman and Brandy Vela are dead now.
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Menace Of Bullies: A Patch Series

This is a confounding national crisis that many consider nothing short of murder. Children are killing themselves to avoid vicious harassment, much of it online. In a nationwide series of reports now in its third year, Patch journalists tell stories of bullying and torment across the United States, and what schools and parents are doing to protect children and end this scourge.

Series editor: Beth Dalbey   |   Have a tip or a story to share? Email bullies@patch.com

Patch is proud to partner with NoBully.org 

Unity Day Upstanders Talk Candidly To Adults: Stop Being Bullies

And in response to an angry national conversation that seems somehow normalized in a year that has wrought so much change, America's youths have something to say. As we adults rage against, name-call and bully each other over wearing masks, over who we're voting for next month, and over who's right and who's wrong about any one of several existential crises our country faces, the kids are tuned in. Kids are taught to look up to their elders, but as a collective, we adults are setting some stun

'Zoom Bombing' Is A Pandemic Thing; It's Also A Bullying Thing

The timing of the "Zoom bombing" in a high-profile federal court hearing Friday in Georgia made it especially hurtful, but it's emblematic of the intrusions that courts, schools, businesses and government councils are confronting as they gather online during the coronavirus pandemic. And, some kids are still bullying other kids, finding new ways in virtual classrooms to torment their classmates.

Frankfort Mom Creates Nonprofit After Daughter Was Bullied

FRANKFORT, IL — A Frankfort mom has created a nonprofit to eradicate bullying after she says her own daughter was bullied for several years. In September, Patch wrote about Stephanie Pearson-Davis and her daughter, Sydney. Stephanie staged protests, went in front of a judge and had countless meetings with Frankfort's District 157-C to get someone to do something about the bullying her daughter faced.

How Hicksville Elementary Schools Are Tackling The Bully Menace

HICKSVILLE, NY — "Nice shoes," one Hicksville student said sarcastically to another, who cringed and hurried past. "I like my shoes," another replied as he got the dig. When the bully tried that same put-down on another student, a classmate intervened, stepping in to support the would-be victim. Fortunately, this time it was just a skit designed to heighten awareness about bullying, part of a new anti-bullying initiative launched at each Hicksville elementary school. The district recently launc

13-Year-Old Hangs Herself, But Bullying Killed Her

YUCAIPA, CA — Freddie and Charlene Avila moved their children away from Pasadena, California, more than four years ago to keep them safe from the stray bullets of gang wars. But 70 miles away in relatively calm Yucaipa they faced an "unseen danger" — bullies at 13-year-old Rosalie Avila's middle school — that would change their family forever. Rosalie was an aspiring lawyer, talented artist and straight-A student, said her father, who described his daughter as "beautiful, bright, wonderful an

Family Frustrated By Teen's 'Systemic' Bullying

READING, MA — The bullying started in elementary school for Jeremy Bowman. It became "systemic" at Coolidge Middle School, his mother said, following him as he tried to eat lunch, hang out at his locker or go on social media. In 2016, Jeremy, then 14, reported the harassment. He told police he was bullied over Snapchat, in text messages and at school, recounting incidents when he was shoved into his locker, made to pick up food off the floor in front of other students and had his headphones st

Community Mourns Diego, 13, Bullied Boy Who Died After Attack

MORENO VALLEY, CA —When Diego showed up to school on Sept. 16, it would be the last time he walked through the doors of Landmark Middle School in the Southern California city of Moreno Valley. It would be the last time he walked at all. It was on that day, while at the school located about 90 minutes inland of Los Angeles, that the 13-year-old boy was attacked by two other students, sucker-punched and knocked unconscious on school grounds. He died nine days later. Sheriff's officials said the

Students Bullied Out Of Wilmington Middle School, Parents Say

WILMINGTON, MA — When Matt arrived at Wilmington Middle School, one of his classmates started bullying him. It started with name-calling based on Matt's appearance, but soon involved other kids and more frequent harassment, eventually including what Matt and his mother took to be a death threat. But instead of punishing the boy who was bullying Matt, school administrators decided the best they could do was to keep the two boys apart. Because he was often bullied in gym, Matt was told he need no

When Coaches Bully: It Happens To Millions Of Youth Athletes

CANTON, OH — Three star athletes on an Ohio high school basketball team consider Paul Wackerly a bully, and if he was a teacher or even a 14-year-old student, there'd be little doubt that school officials would come down on him, and hard. The three girls say that on the court, Wackerly called them disappointments, retards and worse — in tirades raining with clusters of F-Bombs and even threatening them physically. The Ohio High School Athletic Association said that, mostly, Wackerly's behavi

Sports Bullying: ESPN Donates More Than $1M To Combat It

Bullies want to put people in their place. Outliers and trailblazers get crushed. Those who look different or sound different are forced to fit in. But a girl who grew up on the North Shore of Oahu refused to fit in, and her courage paid off. Jordyn Barratt, 20, is a professional skateboarder who has won medals in competitions around the world. She's spent her life falling off skateboards and surfboards, getting back up and never giving up on her dream. Barratt was the only girl practicing in t

Social Media Bullying: Apps Parents Should Know About

ALAMEDA, CA — It's no secret to concerned parents that social media exposes kids to cyber bullying. You already know about Instagram and Snapchat, but what other apps should raise alarms for parents? To mark "National Stop Bullying Day" on the second Wednesday in October, the Alameda Police Department released a list of apps that parents should monitor because they "can potentially expose children to inappropriate content, create a space for bullying/harassment, or can introduce children/teens

Cyberbullying Most Often Hurts Girls; These Women Work To Stop It

New Education Department research shows girls are bullied online more often than boys, but behind the data are thousands of stories of teen desperation to belong, like this one: A California teenager was kicked out of her friend group, and to get back in, she had to attract an impossibly high number of followers and "likes" on her Instagram account. To meet the arbitrary threshold the mean girls set, "she spent hours each day creating fake accounts so she could like her own pictures and follo

Parents Face Police Fines If Kids Bully

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI — The Wisconsin Rapids school district is working with a couple of police departments on parental accountability anti-bullying laws in response to a national epidemic of bullying. The idea isn't to make parents of students pay huge fines or throw them in jail, but rather to persuade them to talk to their kids about how they're treating others and the dreadful toll bullying can take. Dan Ault, the original architect of the laws now wending through the town councils in Wisc

Why This Woman Resigned From Her 6-Figure Job

BENICIA, CA — Linda Bryant had a job — and a good one at that. She quickly moved up at the San Francisco office of the largest international insurance brokerage firm in the United States. But, Bryant says, while she was on medical leave for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder she developed as a result of her work environment, she felt forced to resign from her six-figure position of assistant vice president. The 47-year-old mother of two from Benicia, California, says she became increas

Girl-To-Girl Bullying: Why It's Different, Difficult To Confront

Some girls can be just plain mean. Often operating under a "pack mentality," these girls isolate and banish their targets from the tribe, making them feel as if they don't belong. They gossip and start rumors and call the other girls names. It's nothing short of psychological warfare, often for the silliest of reasons, and the consequences can run the gamut from slumping grades to a girl's unthinkable decision to end her life. "And cyberbullying is even worse," says Erik Stangvik, a top execu

Bullying Tougher To Confront When It's Bias-Based: Researchers

It's torture enough for youths to be bullied because they're the new kids in school, or because of who they hang out with or what they wear. Being singled out for any reason can have long-lasting consequences, anti-bullying experts say. But when bullying is based on something basic to kids' identity , such as the color of their skin or ethnicity, the damage is more profound, according to new research. The study by North Carolina State University researchers Kelly Lynn Mulvey and Elan Hope didn'

'Mr. Anti-Bully': Reformed RivCo Bully, 12, Sets A Mistake Right

BEAUMONT, CA — Cameron Thompson Southard might be Southern California's most famous reformed bully. The 12-year-old made a name for himself and had a brush with celebrity when national news outlets caught on to the boy's bullying redemption story in 2014. He's part of a growing national effort to quash bullying which experts say has become a serious public health problem that has lasting effects on kids. They say physical bullying, emotional bullying, cyberbullying, and sexting can lead to depr

The Hero Myth: Why Expecting Kids To Fight Bullies Is Harmful

In the movies when someone stands up to the bully, we cheer. We cheer Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" as he pummels the school bully, sending the boy running away crying. We applaud for Daniel in "The Karate Kid" when he beats his chief tormenter in the tournament after another boy breaks his leg. We sneer with satisfaction when Marty McFly comes back to the future to find Biff Tannen, his father's teenage tormenter, is now working for his dad. What the movies don't show, however, is what happen

'They All Failed And Changed A Child': Malden Bullying Detailed

MALDEN, MA — On Oct. 23, 2017, 13-year-old Lucy's school day started with a nudge from another girl in a Linden STEAM Academy stairwell. An hour later, the girl told Lucy's little sister, "F—- you, I'm gonna get your sister." Then Lucy had math class. She told her teacher she felt "physically unsafe." The girl who earlier nudged Lucy punched her multiple times in the face, sat on her, and choked her for what Lucy said felt like a minute. The teacher attempted to separate the girls, but he c
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