Helping the Student Who Doesn’t Ask: Bullying

PASADENA, Texas – Give me $600 cash or you will die. That’s the threat prosecutors said a gang member used to intimidate a 15-year-old high school student.

The teenager and his family fear for their own personal safety so we’re not releasing the student’s name, but court records show he attends Sam Rayburn High School in Pasadena.

It was there where, investigators said, the teen requested help to stay alive.


One of the hottest topics in education is bullying. This week, President Obama gathered experts for a summit on bullying. He says he endured school-yard harassment because of his large ears and funny name and he wants today’s students to know bullying is unacceptable.

Earlier this month, NEA launched its “Bully Free: It Starts with Me,” campaign, which asks caring adults on campuses across the country to pledge to step in and stand up to bullying.

You can find that kit here:

The Department of Education has added a set of tools, as well:

Understand this: There is no pro-bullying faction out there. But there are bullies. And research shows that just one adult, who listens to a bullied victim and takes the issue seriously, can prevent that victim from missing school, failing classes, or dropping out
The Department of Education states that a student may be showing signs of being bullied if s/he:

  • Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
  • Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing, or jewelry
  • Has unexplained injuries
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Has changes in eating habits
  • Hurts themselves
  • Are very hungry after school from not eating their lunch
  • Runs away from home
  • Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
  • Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
  • Loses interest in school work or begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they come home
  • Talks about suicide
  • Feels helpless
  • Often feels like they are not good enough
  • Blames themselves for their problems
  • Suddenly has fewer friends
  • Avoids certain places
  • Acts differently than usual

Whatever you do, keep an eye out for bullying victims. There have always been bullies, as well as victims. However, we are finally coming together as an education community to lessen the impact bullies have in our schools.

Anything a teacher can do to stop it could be saving an education…or a life.

About Paul T. Henley, Ph. D.
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