Whoa /(h)wō/: when used alone as a sentence, an imperative meaning “stop”
October is National Bullying Prevention Month- and throwing up a big “Whoa!” to both would do us all a world of good. As with far too many other parts of the country, we in Central Florida have had seen our fair share of bullying and cyberbullying cases both visible and invisible to the public as a whole.
Polk County 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick, above, jumped to her death from a cement plant tower just over a year ago- a response to cyberbullying by two former friends. So much in life is in the eye of the beholder- and it’s quite likely that Rebecca alone ever fully understood the despair she’d come to feel every day.
As this story http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/22/us/charges-dropped-against-florida-girls-accused-in-cyberbullying-death.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 explains, charges against the former friends were dropped. Rebecca’s death remains no less a tragedy, though- and a preventable one.
On the 10th and 23rd of October, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand at two of our local libraries to speak with parents and offer tips on dealing with both bullying and cyberbullying situations. I hope the sessions are well-attended, and holding them will have been worthwhile if just one case of bullying can be discovered, prevented or stopped because of them. For those outside our area, I urge you to observe National Bullying Prevention Month by attending a similar event near you.
We often hear that today’s kids live and go to school in a world much different than the ones their parents and grandparents experienced- and I suppose that’s true. As a 13-year-old high school freshman in 1982 who towered above no one at 4’10″and tipped the scales at a solid 80 lbs that none would ever call intimidating, I never once experienced an instance of bullying. I was very fortunate.
I thank the good Lord above for the provision of some wit and a knack for humor and talk that managed to fend those things off, I suppose. In today’s world, though, who knows? Whether the next “Columbine” or “Jonesboro” wrecks lives there alone or also leads to the next “Virginia Tech” or “Sandy Hook” is surely a concern- but it all boils down to one thing: doing our best to save one child at a time.
And saving our children starts with a stop…or a “whoa”.
Bullying and Cyberbullying… Just say whoa!