13 Year Old Middle Schooler Takes His Own Life: When Will Schools Take The Action They Need To?
Do schools need to be shedding more light on mental illness and bullying?
Last Thursday, Daniel Fitzpatrick, a 13-year old Staten Island, NY boy was found dead. The middle schooler was found by his oldest sister hanging from the ceiling in the attic of his home. The young boy's death has officially been ruled as a suicide.
Before taking his life, it was said that Fitzpatrick was tormented at school by bullies. Students would bully him because of his weight, his grades, and his "innocent" heart. It was so bad, that at some points then others, even said that teachers at the Holy Angels Catholic Academy where he attended his classes would pick on him, calling him "lazy."
The 7th grader pleaded for help, but the school continuously turned a blind eye to the bullying and whatever issues Daniel was facing in school in regard to his mental state.
"I gave up...The teachers, they didn't do anything." he wrote in a heartbreaking letter that was unsent.
Daniel Fitzpatrick's letter about his experience at Holy Angels Catholic Academy
Why is a child taking his own life what it takes for us all to finally realize there is something wrong with the way schools are going about handling bullying, as well as the seriousness involved in mental illnesses?
Why did a thirteen year old middle schooler with an "innocent heart" think that the only way things would ever be better for him or anyone else if he left this Earth?
This is the problem, ladies and gentlemen. The school system, and we as a society do not take bullying or mental illness nearly as seriously as it should be taken. Teen suicide, self harm, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and so many other issues are overlooked.
In all honesty, if schools actually took time to realize that mental health is just as important as physical health, it would make more of us realize the impact it has on people. Especially in learning about the development of depression as a side effect of bullying. If schools shed light on the idea of what bullying does to a child's mental state at ANY age, it would decrease tremendously. What about the legal aspects? Maybe schools should be discussing that if a child is bullied to the point of suicide, the bully could potentially be charged for their death.
I spent my entire life going to public school, and new many people who attended catholic and private schools. In all the years I was there, we never once discussed mental illness, or bullying as a class... unless a child from our class fell victim to one, or both of these issues.
So again, does it REALLY take a child being repeatedly victimized, or until it's too late for someone to take action in helping someone in need? We need to stop minimizing this problem, because it's real and it isn't going away. There is something really wrong with this system, and it needs to be fixed.