BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The suicide of Jamie Rodemeyer has started discussions all over western New York, and across the country, about bullying. Since his death in September, we've heard from different people one at a time about the issue, but now we've brought together a group of people impacted by the issue for a real, in depth discussion.
2 On Your Side recently put together a panel of people to talk honestly and openly.
On the panel are people from all sorts of different groups that have exposure to bullies; from students, to parents, to teachers, counselors, administrators, and even the legal world.
It's a discussion that shows how complicated the issue is, as we even delve into what ideas can really reach kids and have an impression on them.
Tonawanda Police Detective Tim Toth, who works as a school resource officer, took part in our forum. He says in particular, kids need to learn about handling cyberbullies. "The education needs to be with those kids on that. Every year at the beginning of the year I talk to the high school and middle school and talk about aggravated harassment, over the telephone, text messaging. With Facebook, and we get into this big thing about what to do and what not to do, and the easiest solution I tell them is right there on their phone, it's an off button. Don't respond to this stuff."
It's a conversation that we hope enlightens you and gives you a better understanding about bullying from all angles.
If you or someone you know is dealing with this issue, there is help available. Below is a list of organizations to turn to:
- Child & Adolescent Treatment Services: 819-3420 www.mentalhealthforwnykids.org
- Gay and Lesbian Youth Services: Drop-In Center, 371 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. During the school year, open Mon-Thu 2:30-730 P.M. 855-0221 or www.glyswny.org
- Child & Family Services: 681-5718 or www.cfsbny.org
- Crisis Services: 24 hr. hotline-834-3131/ Kids Helpline-834-1144, toll free-1-877-KIDS 400 or www.crisisservices.org
- The Trevor Project: A suicide prevention program for LGBT and questioning youth: 1-866-488-7386 or www.thetrevorproject.org
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: www.afsp.org
-Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays: www.pflag-buffalo-niagara.org