Thursday, January 05, 2012

RIP Amanda Cummings, Age 15

The one thing that would throw me off the edge and possibly have my face on the front page of the news for murder is if my kid committed suicide over a bunch of reckless idiots bullying my child. Some would say that it would have been my kid’s choice. But what if the torment was so great that every single day of her existence was lived out of fear and the thought of a million malicious and vile words being thrown at her, where she had to just end it all to stop it? This beautiful girl, Amanda Cummings from Staten Island did just that. She was only 15 years old. She literally threw herself in front of a bus two days after Christmas. The awful part is - she was injured at first, but then died this past Monday. She suffered. I can’t even wrap my mind around the agony she went through with the verbal abuse, and then to had suffered so much physically. I can’t wrap my mind around the agony that her family is going through. Her mother wrote on her Facebook wall, “This is to all you evil son of a b*****s that picked on, talked about and threatened my baby, I HOPE YOU DIE and I HOPE YOU SUFFER!” Her sister then wrote, “AS A SISTER, A MOTHER, AND A HUMAN BEING WITH A BEATING HEART THAT IS BROKEN, I AM BEGGING YOU KIDS, ANYONE WITH ANY CONCRETE PROOF OF BULLYING TOWARD MY SISTER, PLEASE LET ME KNOW, PLEASE. I NEED WITNESSES WILLING TO STEP FORWARD TO MAKE LEGAL STATEMENTS. NOT JUST KIDS COMING OUT OF THE WOODWORK THAT WANT TO GOSSIP. THANK YOU!”

Amanda was dating a boy that her classmates were all jealous of. So they started bullying her relentlessly via Facebook and texting. This is what scares me about having kids of my own: technology. You hardly heard of this type of thing happening before the days of the internet and smart phones. I have nieces and nephews who are also getting into the gadget world and part of me just cringes to know that yes, a ten year old now has a Facebook account and a smart phone where she can send and receive texts to all of her friends. But what if it turns out to be a bullying type of situation? It’s a double edged sword though. You want your child to learn and adapt to our technological world, but in the same breath, is it worth it? See, kids these days are a bunch of cowards. Instead of going face-to-face and bullying them, they're sending anonymous texts and Facebook messages threatening and harassing them until they can't take it any longer. They don’t need to be brave any longer and say what’s on their mind out on the playground. They can simply go onto Facebook on their smart phones and send messages that may send the victim into a suicidal state of mind. My heart goes out to Amanda’s family. This is such a tragic thing that we should have all learned from. This is happening way too much and I’m afraid it’s going to touch close to home one day. Parents, please safeguard your children. Let them learn technology without Facebook accounts - without smart phones. I blame it on the anonymity that technology has to offer. I also blame Facebook for allowing kids under the age of 18 years old to create an account. Each person who has an account should enter a credit card number.

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~Just me again~ said...

OMG that's so sad. I just watched a movie called 'Cyberbully' it's a made for tv movie. It actually made me cry. It was based on a true story about a girl that ended up getting taking on the school system and state legistion to help others from bullying.

Deb said...

They seriously go through emotional torture and I think there should be a sensitivity training class about bullying in school now. (Not sure if they came out with one.) Should be mandatory.

That corgi :) said...

It is so sad. I saw a documetnary about bullying a while back and it profiled someone who killed herself because of being bullied. I totally agree with you about kids under 18 not having FB accounts for more than one reason (My space too). I also think parents and the schools need to be more proactive with bullying. I know everyone says there is a zero tolerance but I have heard of so many accounts where that has not been the case. I have to say if I knew my child was involved bullying someone, he would be seriously punished, including losing those technologies he so enjoyed as a teen(he's 22 now and not the bullying type). I know the effects of bullying, I have a 26 y/o daughter with special needs, she got lots of bullying, teasing in school. It does affect kids and parents too. Just such a sad situation all around every time it happens.


the walking man said...

I was a target of that shit from 4th grade to 10th grade. But you're right there was no anonymity to it, it was right in my face, the words, the spit, the punches, the constant barrage day after day after day. I get it, the desire to not go through that crap anymore, but this was the 60's, a Catholic School and honestly it all started with a god damned nun.

I took it from her in 4th grade until I reacted without thinking and pushed her, that got me out of her class but by then she had already taught that class it was OK to pick on the fat slob kid who was no where near as smart as his older brother and sisters.

The best part and this may be a guy thing but when I got taller than I was round I only had to kick the shit out of one person, one "cool" kid. And that ended it. It took a couple more decades for me to reason it all out in my head the why's. But it's also the reason I NEVER back down when I know, have no doubt about the right side of a situation.

See this young woman's life went to hell when one person wanted someone she was with, then that odious creature turned the herd and they stampeded her. I understand why she committed suicide, but don't ever think she willingly jumped in front of that bus...she was pushed.

Now at least she has peace.

Her torturers though they have a lot to answer for, they may not feel the responsibility yet, but they will one day realize all of the pain they caused,to her, her mother and father and sister and all the rest of her extended family.

I disagree with your sensitivity training, if they don't get it at home it would be a waste of the schools time, jail about 10 years would give them all the awareness of what bullying a weaker person is all about.

mrwriteon said...

What a horribly sad story. I think technology fails the vulnerable so badly. Most kids are fine, but certain ones have, for want of a better term, an 'emotional frailty' that renders them vulnerable. I think your 'over 18 suggestion for FB is valid.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Bullying is a horrible crime, especially when the young are targeted by their peers. The perpetrators always seem to claim that their acts were "in fun," but that defense is simply self justification for evil actions.

I have those who are bullied and the bullies in my prayers, the former for the support they need to live through the horror and the latter that they will recognize the evil of their ways.

Just_because_today said...

so beautiful, so young. So sad

Anonymous said...

I still think that an appropriate punishment for bully's wold be some sort of active empathy so that they could literally feel how their actions affect others.

zman64 said...

Amanda Cumming's suicide was a very sad story. However, the story was about mental illness and a family's inability to see the warning signs and seek help, not about bullying. Amanda was hospitalized in 2009 for attempting to take her own life. She was also anorexic and a cutter. For months before her death she wrote about how much she hated life and wanted to die. Bullies played little, if any, significant role in her suicide and this was according to her own family (after the initial shock wore off).

Amanda's story is one that should teach us to watch our kids and be alert to any signs that they're heading down a dangerous suicidal path. Her death may have been avoided if her family had been able to get her some help.