Target: Cynthia A. Jafary, President of the Raleigh County School Board in West Virginia
Goal: Investigate rampant bullying at elementary school and demand that schools crack down on this harassment.
Parents of a 9-year-old boy who hung himself said his suicide was a result of bullying he was subjected to by kids at his school. According to one study, West Virginia is ranked third among states with the most bullying problems, and over 3,000 middle and high school students from the state reported being bullied last year. Sophia Soak Creek Elementary School claims that it has not received complaints of bullying, but this sad story tells another tale.
The fourth grader was found dead September 10 by his sister who wanted to cheer him up with a frog she had found. His family knew the boy was teased but said they did not realize the bullying had gotten so bad, though they noticed a change in him in the days leading up to his death. The bullying was said to occur both at school and outside the boy’s home, making it difficult for him to escape the torment.
Bullying has to be addressed at a young age. West Virginia law protects victims of bullying and schools need to have a conversation with their students about what that means. Students need to know that bullying will not be tolerated, and teachers need to know the signs so they can catch it when it happens. Opening up a conversation about this now is more crucial than ever. Ask the school board to investigate the prevalence of bullying at Sophia Soak Creek Elementary and work with schools to open a conversation with its students about this troubling matter.
Dear President Jafary,
We were all devastated to hear of a 9-year-old boy who recently committed suicide due to alleged bullying. Steps need to be taken in order to prevent atrocities like this from happening again. Though Sophia Soak Creek Elementary officials said they have heard zero reports of bullying, it is obvious there is a problem. West Virginia was rated third among states with the worst bullying problems by a WalletHub survey that measured the prevalence, impact, and prevention of bullying in 45 states.
Being bullied at a young age effects the way the brain develops and makes it difficult to learn. While school boards are required to establish anti-bullying policies for schools, more needs to be done to prevent this harassment as it can have very severe consequences. This boy was not the first to take his life for such reasons but he was certainly one of the youngest. Please investigate the frequency and severity of bullying at Sophia Soak Creek Elementary and encourage schools under your jurisdiction to be proactive in recognizing when harassment is happening.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Diego Grez