Silence results in the death of an 11-year-old bullying victim

We have all heard the saying “snitches get stitches.” In tough neighborhoods, people live by the phrase and absolutely refuse to tell what they see. But really, what is the big deal?

If it’s confidential and no one knows that you told, why not speak your mind?     It’s a shame that so many people are held back by these “street guidelines.” And not only are older people affected, but the younger generation is beginning to welcome it with open arms.

According to an article from CNN, a sixth-grade boy recently committed suicide because he couldn’t take the pressure of being bullied at school. He feared being labeled a “snitch,” so instead of him coming forward with the names of those who tortured him, he took the seemingly easier route and ended his suffering.

Carl Walker-Hoover was 11 years old when his mother found him hanging from an electrical cord on Monday. He had been bullied incessantly at his school, the New Leadership Charter School, in Springfield, a town in Boston. 

Dr. Eli Newberger, a pediatrician and an expert on child abuse, commented within the article and said some schools do not do everything they can to protect the well-being of a child. He said a strategy teachers can use is to encourage empathy in their classrooms. He said children should be taught to be sympathetic to one another. He also advised that parents be watchful of signs of aggression and depression in their children, especially in boys. The behaviors can be early notifications that the children are being bullied.

His mother said she reached out to him and offered her motherly help. She said her son was always reluctant to tell any information he had. He was too afraid of what his classmates would think about him. When she asked him to release the names of the kids picking on him, his response was ” I don’t want to tell on them because they’ll label me a snitch, a rat, a tattletale.”

I guess being a “tattletale” holds more weight than your own life.  I guess standing up for yourself and going against those hurting you is completely out of the window.

But is that true for an 11 year old?  Is it okay for him to have those kind of feelings?

I doubt it.

I wonder what people in the ‘hood have to say about this.  I wonder when we will we let go of this nonsense.

Skyy Sandifer for the Editorial Board.