Perils of bullying come home with victim’s speech

Editor’s note: Carlos Vigil, 17, died July 16 after committing suicide in his Los Lunas home. His family says Carlos endured years of bullying. A week earlier, Carlos delivered this speech about bullying in schools at the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs in North Carolina. His father, Ray, said his son’s speech “brought down the house.” Carlos’ family made his speech available hoping to carry on his passion for educating others about the dangers and effects of bullying.

Bullying affects millions of American students on a daily basis. Nearly a third of American students are harassed, teased, tormented and beaten every day.

Although some of Americans don’t view bullying as a prominent danger, it is. In fact, the side effects of bullying are the same of those who were abused as a child. These side effects include low self esteem, depression, isolation, aggression, and, in some cases, lead to suicide.

With this proposal, we would be combatting bullying at its source, public schools. It would require federally-funded schools to admit a policy on bullying that would mimic the given schools’ assault and battery policy.

For example, in APS, the consequence of assault for (a) first offense is a mandatory three-day suspension. This would mean that in APS, a student caught/proven to bully another would be suspended for three days for their first offense.

Another tactic this proposal enforces (is) school-based workshops that teach elementary students how to properly respond to bullying and why bullying is an issues.

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Delegates, I urge you to look past this proposal from the surface and look to the students affairs.

Give the victims of bullying a voice. Think of the boy in the back of your elementary school bus whose lunch is stolen by larger students, the little girl who is tormented at lunch for being overweight, the 1,000 students who won’t wake up tomorrow because they took their life as a result of bullying.

Thank you.

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