In the month of September 2010, there were four US teens that received local, regional, and national exposure from the media, because they committed suicide as a result of bullying. It is obvious that there is a fundamental problem in our culture, when teenagers are threatened, intimidated and abused because their sexual orientation is different.

These tragic incidents indicate that our society is failing in protecting our children, and parents, teachers, administrators and leaders are looking the other way and not doing their job. For example, in Florida, James Jones, a father decided to take matters into his own hands and admitted getting on a school bus, and threatened students who were bullying his daughter. There is an epidemic in our schools and it is terrible that someone has to die or almost die before laws are enacted.

At a federal seminar this year, the Education Secretary Arne Duncan gave 2007 bullying statistics, which are appalling and an indictment on safety in our schools. In 2007, 1 out of 3 students in middle school and high school during the school year reported being bullied. Over 2.8 million students said they have been pushed, shoved, or spit on during the school year. Over 1.5 million have been threatened with harm and 900,000 high school students reported being cyber- bullied.

In every school system, there is a need for diversity training and respect for alternative lifestyle choices. It is important that parents and teachers receive training with the students and learn what to do when there is a problem. The parents and teachers must be aware of the signs, when a student needs help.
New Jersey student Tyler Clementi jumped from a bridge after his roommate allegedly taped him having sex with a man and posted it on the internet. Asher Brown, a 13 year old from Houston Texas shot himself after being accused of being gay. Seth Walsh and Billy Lucas of Indiana hung themselves for being bullied for their sexual orientation.
Teasing and practical jokes is something that teens and young adults do when they are having fun. However, there is a thin line when the teasing is vicious, malicious, and becomes a criminal act. Laws will have to be enacted to stop and control bullying in our schools.

Opening the lines of communication with the students is vital, if our society accepts respect for everyone. Because someone is different or sick does not condone disrespectful, bullying, and aggressive behavior.