It’s not uncommon to walk into your classroom and to see an empty seat. Students get sick, go on field trips, etc. all the time. It’s the worst feeling though when you realize that the seat will forever be empty because of a student’s decision to end her/his life. In my teaching career, I experienced it once. The country went through this last week with the suicide of Amanda Todd, a British Columbia teenager.
It became the topic of a number of blog posts from Ontario educators this week.
Andrew Campbell reflected on the life of one of his former students and compares that situation with this one. There are tough questions to be asked during times like this and not enough answers.
Stephen Hurley contributed a pair of posts on the topic. In the first, he develops on the information from a Toronto Star article. Were the supports offered enough?
Stephen’s second post was a repost from a colleague of his from the Globe and Mail School Council. The story takes a look at girls in a world of change driven by technology. It really does make you pause to think.
A Facebook friend of mind shared a YouTube video offering a similar story with a different ending. Kim’s quote was especially important “Never use a permanent solution for a temporary problem; suicide is NEVER the right answer.“
As can be expected, there have been all kinds of suggestions for how to prevent things like this in the future. People for Education ask a really good question.
Normally, on Fridays, when I look through Ontario Educator blogs to find a few to include, I’m looking for positive, uplifting ideas. It just didn’t seem right this week.
I hope that there is more than a knee-jerk reaction to hit kids further with more anti-bullying programs. Yes, they are absolutely necessary but more importantly, understanding, living and dealing with the reality of “online” is important.
You can block it; you can ignore it; but that’s just avoiding the issue. A deliberate and concerted education for all students is needed. How many are left to learn about all of this by themselves?
You can read the above posts at the links included and all from the group of Ontario Edubloggers here.
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- Probe of B.C. teen Amanda Todd’s suicide nets global tips (metronews.ca)
- Cruel Amanda Todd comment on Facebook costs Ontario man job (lfpress.com)
- Hacktivists out Amanda Todd’s tormenter (stuff.co.nz)
- For anyone who ever dismissed online bullying. Amanda Todd RIP [Mike Turner] (ecademy.com)
- Social media users outraged bullying continues on memorial page for Amanda Todd (vancouversun.com)
- The Tragic Case of Amanda Todd (healthland.time.com)