The bullying epidemic

Of all the critters walking the earth, the human teenager may have the capacity to be the most vicious.

The effect of bullying in its native state is on display in two cases in the news today.

First, in Massachusetts a grand jury today indicted nine teenagers in connection with the suicide of a girl who hanged herself after weeks of bullying at school and online. It started, apparently, after a romance with one of the teens ended. Two of them are also charged with statutory rape.

But the district attorney did not charge school officials who knew about the bullying, but did nothing to stop it. He says their inaction did not rise to a level of a crime, leading to the obvious question: Should it?

Meanwhile, in New York, CBS News reports today that not even the suicide of a teenager was enough to stop the cyberbullying that allegedly contributed to it:

Police are investigating whether cyberbullies contributed to the suicide of a teen in the Long Island, N.Y. town of West Islip. The nasty messages continued to show up online even after her death, reports CBS News Correspondent Jeff Glor.

Soccer star Alexis Pilkington, 17, took her own life March 21 following vicious taunts on social networking sites — which persisted postmortem on Internet tribute pages, worsening the grief of her family and friends.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

  • In countless cases where “jocks” were involved in the bullying, investigations have shown that coaches permitted or even encouraged a sense of entitlement among student athletes.

    Yes, I’d say we need some laws spelling out the responsibilities of teachers, coaches and administrators in the proliferation of the culture of bullying.

    The default position seems to be to not get involved, but that’s not working out so well.

  • This story was so moving to me. I hope other teens learned something from it, such a tragedy. :-/