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Letter: Shame on DL High School bullies, and staff that allows it

Guilt by association was the apparent verdict.

Yet there was no trial, no jury. Just a death sentence issued by a small group of seemingly powerful, influential teenagers who base their opinions on uneducated bias and ignorance from lack of experience—having only been in this world a short

Duration.

These are teens who honestly think they have the answers and quick solutions to issues that are so complex that even the adults with years of experience have yet to discover the "keys" to unlocking answers on issues that have imprisoned the minds of the masses for uncounted years.

Case in point. There is a 17-year-old Detroit Lakes High School student (well, former DLHS student as of Dec. 13) who decided to approach a controversial issue head-on in

the high school; to be a forerunner in defending the outcast and down

Trodden.

In doing so, she not only took on the small-minded opinionated masses of our

small northwestern Minnesota community, but also got to know the persecuted person

as just that—a person. A person with feelings and emotions, visions of the future and determination to stand on their beliefs and not hide under a blanket of insecurity concealing who they really are.

In doing so, this 17-year-old troubadour for human rights of an individual gained a new friend. She also gained a group of enemies made up of influential peers who effectively steer the ultimate decisions for others, because of their popularity within the school.

Bullying is nothing new under the sun. It has always been in the midst of humanity. But today with all our electronic cyber communication devices, bullying has become an inside-covert type of a dangerous weapon that strengthens some and ultimately destroys others.

Think about this: You as an individual see what you regard as incorrect (wrong) treatment of an individual. You make a statement of your concerns, just a statement can get you shunned from any group that disagrees with you. I myself once hit the "like" button on a Facebook post— just the "like" button—(not even a comment)—and within the hour was shot down by numerous Facebook peepers with comments to me as to how I should not "Like" this particular statement. I felt somewhat violated just for saying I like something someone posted.

Same goes for my 17-year-old friend at the high school. She has received an uncounted amount of nasty and vulgar comments as she walks down the halls of her high school which, as a junior, should be a great time of one's life!

Then there are the multiple texts calling her vulgar names, suggesting she take her life, threats of bodily injury and one where a fellow student threatened to run her over in his red pickup in the high school parking lot.

All because she decided to stand up for the underdog.

Her being guilty by association got to the point where others saw her in the same light as the one they were persecuting—regardless of the fact she herself did not adhere to, nor follow in the footsteps of her friend. The school officials labeled her as a trouble maker. All because she decided to befriend someone who has been ostracized by her classmates as well as the mass mind-set of the community.

In most cases, kids are reflections of their parents. Sometimes the reflections are good and sometimes they are not. I have worked with teens all my adult life through various organizations, church groups and as an individual mentor in fields relating to the arts.

I have learned much over the years through observation and personal contact work. If a student has a foul mouth, you can pretty much be assured they learned that from home. If a young person is racist, it usually stems from what they hear at home. So I wish parents would have the mindset of being examples of "good' verses being ignorant and negative.

I have seen the pain of the parents of my 17-year-old friend. How did this happen? What has she done to deserve this type of ostracizing from her peers? Why hasn't the school system (who we pay out of our pockets) done more to protect the students so they feel safe in their school environment and can then accomplish their academic goals?

The school officials have a very complex situation in bullying and each individual case is its own personal puzzle. That is another story for another time.

This letter is to just give the readers a little insght into one of many current cases of bullying one can find at the DLHS. I highly recommend parents get more involved in the bullying issues at our local high school and talk to their kids about bullying. It has destroyed many good, inspiring students. It is a sad affair.

My 17- year-old friend has moved onto another school now. I do so hope that this chapter in her personal book of history does not deter her from standing up for the rights of others in an attempt to make this world a better place.

Shame on the bullying students of DLHS and the staff who ignores the issue—you know who you are. I know who you are.

I shared the above letter with my 17-year-old friend so she was aware of my statement. Her reply was this: "Awesome, I really hope they can figure it all out." That was a more mature response than I have heard in adults twice her age in regards to this issue.

-- John T. Hutchinson, Detroit Lakes

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