Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

February 16, 2012

Around the Town: Let's put an end to bully-cide

Mixing teenage hormones and bad grades, a break-up or family problems is a lethal combination sometimes resulting in a youth suicide. But in the past couple of years, two other ingredients have been added to the already fatal mix: bullying and sexting. Bullying, cyber bullying and sexting are the latest contributors to a rising problem among Tennessee and American’s teens.

The Jason Foundation, a Tennessee based anti-suicide program used by the TAD Center here in the Cumberland County School System, indicates that as many as one out of four students between the ages of 15 and 24 commit suicide each year. Other statistics indicate that one young person every two hours in the United States takes his or her own life.

Bullying has always been a problem for school children. But, what used to happen in the locker room or on the playground or in the cafeteria now goes on 24/7 with the advent of the Internet and cell phones. Twenty years ago, a student may be picked on or terrorized at school, but the trauma usually ended for the day once a child stepped into the safety and security of his or her own home. But in 2012, the terror may just be starting as children are physically bullied at school and then often emotionally abused after hours with threatening or defaming texts, Facebook posts and/or emails.

The precursor of bullying to suicide has prompted mental health, teachers and law enforcement to label it “bullycide.” And, as if bullying wasn’t bad enough, students are now being terrorized with sext messages. Twenty two percent of school-age girls have taken nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves and sent them to their boyfriends.

Sexting, or when privates go public, includes sexually explicit photographs and/or language. The pictures are normally taken on a cell phone and sent to one person who later forwards them to another and so forth. Once the pictures go public, the young woman is humiliated and embarrassed and often suffers from depression and anxiety which has, in some cases, led to suicide.

The TAD Center, a community education program, has partnered with the Cumberland County School System in offering preventative programs in all of the elementary schools addressing not only drug abuse, but bullying, suicide prevention and, as of January 2012, an anti-sexting program for seventh- and eighth-grade females. The lessons include educational information, techniques to avoid and/or stop the situations from developing and who to talk to if adult help is needed.

If you need more information on the above topics, check out the www.jasonfoundation.org for information on youth suicide or thatsnotcool.com for the latest information on sexting prevention.

***

Congratulations to South Cumberland Elementary School. Both the boys and girls basketball teams won the county elementary championships.

***

The Gong Show is tonight (Feb. 17) at the Palace Theatre. The show will feature a variety of acts along with the “Unknown Comic.” Henry Hunnicutt will host this fundraiser for the Fair Park Senior Center. Tickets are available at the Palace and Fair Park Senior Center.

***

The varsity basketball teams from Stone Memorial and Cumberland County high schools will be competing in district tournament action this weekend. SMHS squads will be in Loudon for the District 4AA Tournament. The Panthers begin play Friday at 5:30 CST vs. Kingston. The Lady Panthers opening round game will be Saturday at 3 p.m. CCHS is hosting the District 6AAA tourney. The Lady Jets postseason starts Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. vs. Coffee County. The Jets will square off against White County following the girls contest.  

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