Society must address bullying in schools

By

Opinion

May 14, 2019 - 10:27 AM

13-year-old Lainey Smith of Virginia committed suicide on April 17, the victim of bullying at her middle school.

These days, it can seem that the world is in a crazy, mixed-up state in which cruelty, meanness and hate have gained the upper hand. You’d be forgiven if you thought it had gotten worse in recent years, but such negativity has always been part of the human experience.

So on this Mother’s Day, we thought it would be appropriate, indeed fitting, to discuss a topic mothers — and fathers, too — dread: school bullying. Too often, as it does in this case, it involves the suicide of a child who endured all he or she could until concluding the only way out was death. But there’s also a family left behind who, in the midst of their overwhelming grief, decides to do something — anything — to help the next child, the next mom, the next dad avoid the pain and anguish they’re experiencing.

Less than a month ago, on the evening of April 17, Lainey Smith, a 13-year-old student at Chatham Middle School in Pittsylvania County, shot herself at her home. Despite emergency life-saving steps taken by police, fire and EMS personnel, she didn’t survive. Her family is left behind, grieving and wondering why their beautiful child would take such an extreme step to rid her soul of the enormous emotional pain she had been living with.

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