Saturday, June 23, 2018

Bullied to Death in Middle School

Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any worse, you read about a twelve year old schoolgirl, by name of Mallory Grossman, who killed herself because she could not stand any more bullying. Mallory was bullied to death.

It is difficult to hold her twelve-year old tormentors to immediate account. How could they know that she would do what they told her to do: to kill herself. The crux of the matter, the most important aspect of the story, is that school officials failed to do anything to protect her.

You see, Mallory’s parents reported the bullying again and again to the school principal and other officials. They did to nothing about. A last meeting between Mallory, her mother and the school principal triggered Mallory’s suicide. The principal humiliated the girl, refused to take her complaints seriously, made a mockery of her for being too weak. Mallory’s parents were so horrified that they decided that they would remove their daughter from school the next year. That afternoon, the girl, killed herself.

Too little, too late.

Now, Mallory’s parents are suing the school district, the superintendent and the principal. Apparently, they do not have a very good case… because the courts do not protect children from bullying any more than the school system does. And yet, the lawsuit brings things to our attention that we would rather not know about.

The extent of adult failure is terrifying. So, let’s examine some of the facts.

On the last day of her daughter’s life, Dianne went with Mallory to talk to [Principal Alfonse] Gonnella in a last-ditch attempt to get help for her child, the suit says.

During the three-hour meeting, the principal handed a poker chip to the preteen cheerleader and gymnast. He then directed the girl to inscribe her initials on the token and asked her: “Are you all in?”

Mallory was “humiliated,’’ the suit says.

Gonnella “lacked any suggestions to punish the offenders, but instead, placed the bulk of the responsibility on Mallory to rectify the situation,’’ the papers say. “His bright solution to nine months of bullying is a poker chip? And to have her write her initials and date it and to ask her if she’s all in? And hours later she goes home and dies?” the mom said.

The principal did not take the suffering of a child seriously. He did not grant credence to her complaints and suggested that she was overreacting. She showed that she was not. He failed a basic responsibility by refusing to address the perpetrators, by refusing to hold them to account, by refusing to talk to them or their parents, by laughing off their antics. Children who bully should be expelled from school. Their parents should be immediately informed and should be held to account if they do not take consequential action.

Why a poker chip? Was he gambling with her life? Was the poker chip like a headstone? Surely, that was the way the girl saw it. Being all in means putting all your chips on the table. Well, Mallory did put all her chips on the table. In a manner of speaking. But, shouldn’t a middle school administrator know how to speak with a twelve year old?

What constituted the bullying?

The mom said that meeting followed a full school year of cruel texts and Snapchat messages from other students.

One girl coldly asked, “When are you going to kill yourself?’’ in front of other classmates — just weeks before the suicide.

Another bully, identified in court papers by the initials A.B., took a surreptitious photo of Mallory by herself, then texted it to her with the caption “You have no friends,” the suit says.

In another instance, an unidentified student sent a similar photo to classmates via Snapchat with the caption “U have no friends” and “Poor Mal,” court papers state

Mallory’s parents had pleaded with other school officials. They too showed no concern for the girl and were unwilling to address the school bullies. Again, adults failures to impose discipline allow bullies to believe that they are doing something good.

Her mom pleaded with school officials to intervene “numerous” times during the 2016-17 school year, but the educators’ tone-deaf responses only made things worse, court papers say.

When the parents once complained about bullying in the lunch room, the school suggested their daughter eat in a guidance counselor’s office — “further isolating Mallory from the student body,” the suit states.

Another time, administrators had Mallory and her tormenters “hug each other” rather than actually discipline anyone.

Shared hugs… now that’s the solution that our empathy laden therapy culture prescribes. To imagine that society can regulate itself on the basis of feelings of a common humanity is an absurdist rationalization for the failure to offer a disciplined and structured social environment.


Quartermain said...

God help us. God help us, everyone. Our school system is owned and operated by arrogant moral imbeciles.

When my older brother was in middle school, a kid came in with a gun. He didn't shoot randomly but was after one kid, a bully. The bully survived and the bullied kid wasn't seen again. This was in the '70's, school officials still have their head in their ass. The school is beyond rotten, and what's worse the PTB keeps it going, as it deteriorates.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

We just had a suicide of an 11 y/o girl yesterday, allegedly because of bullying. I admit that parts of that story don't ring true to me, so I looked at Mallory's story with a suspicious eye. It's going to depend on hard evidence, like texts.

Illuninati said...

Children are required to attend school, which means that they don't have the option of choosing another social setting which is more compatible. Because the state forces the children to attend school and often limits their choice of schools, the state bears heightened moral responsibility to provide a safe pleasant environment for the children.

Jester said...

Growing up in the 80s and 90s was interesting in the aspect it was the last.. Generation I suppose where you could bet the ass of the bullies if you were pushed, but even then it had it's limits. In my case I could spend hours with parents, the schools and such to try to administer barriers or the like from bullies. They universally all failed. Every single time. But sometimes if you finally took a swipe or choked out or beat the bullies ass you could sit in detention or be expelled. Sometimes that was enough to get the bully to stop. Or they would in their humiliation gang up on you and double the terror they put on you. But mind you if they beat you up there was little that happened if anything. But if you swung back, shades of hell upon you. It has got even worse looking at what my teenagers see. Schools have zero capability in anything. "Junior would -never do that!" Even when presented with proof the school usually doubles down on the one that gets bullied, particularlly when the kids are connected some how with important parents. It's politics and lord of the flies all at once.

Ken said...

When I was in school there was very little bullying. My daddy told me to defend myself and use whatever was handy to do so. I followed his advice and had no trouble.
Had he had occasion to visit the principal he would have put the fear of God in him and the principal would have found a better way to handle the situation.
Now the school and legal systems leave no recourse except to withdraw. Such a shame....

JPL17 said...

What a terribly sad story. What accounts for this horrible trend in schools? More than anything, I think probably the failure to inculcate character in our kids beginning in the 1960s. When those kids grew up and became today's teachers and school administrators, the weakness of their characters lead them perceive all the bullied kids in their schools as the bullies. I.e., by allowing themselves to be bullied and complaining to the school about it, those poor bullied kids are seen by the school administrators as bullying the administrators into doing something that is the most painful thing in the world for them -- namely, to show some character. So they lash out at the bullied kid instead of the real miscreant.

How else to explain situations like this news story and in Jester's post above?