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The Millennium Gooch

If you were a fan of Different Strokes in the 80’s you might remember The Gooch.  He was the bully that tormented Arnold and other kids on the playground.  In the Flava In Ya Ear remix, Notorious B.I.G. referred to him as an “invisible bully”,  because we never actually saw him on screen.  The Gooch kept Arnold “shook”, and many of us could probably relate to him back then because there was a similar bully on our own playgrounds.  We grew up in a different time, and the bully situation was nothing compared to how it goes down on playgrounds today.  Not that there is ever an excuse to be bullied, but back then kids weren’t hanging themselves with belts because they were tired of being teased and beat up!

Last week an eleven-year-old boy, Jaheem Herrera, hanged himself because he was tired of being the victim of school bullies.  Can you imagine the horror he must have dealt with on a daily basis at the hands of his peers.  How bad must it be if an eleven-year-old boy is forced to take his own life to escape the foolishness?

Of course when I first saw this new story I wanted to know where were the teachers and where were the administrators.  I don’t have children but I know if I had even the smallest inkling that my child was being bullied I would be up in that school turning it out IMMEDIATELY!!!!!  According to the news reports, Jaheem had reported the bullying to his teacher but nothing was done.  His mom and sister were aware of some of the issues, but had no idea how bad the situation had gotten.  There is nothing you can tell me that would make me believe the schools administrators didn’t know exactly what was going on.  I’m sure they have a disciplinary file  six inches thick on each of little Jaheem’s tormentors, but never did the appropriate follow though that might have saved Jaheem’s life.  I am not blaming the teachers per say, but how can a little boy get picked on daily and not one teacher be aware of it.

We all tell our children to come to us with any and everything, and we hope that they will tell us or another adult when they are in trouble or being threatened.  Is that enough?  When I was in school we walked or caught the city bus, so you could avoid a bully if you had to.  In Atlanta most kids take the school bus, so I’m sure the bully action starts popping before they even reach school property and continues until they get home at night.

Some men think being bullied is a right of passage, and tell their sons not to be punks.  Maybe in the 70’s and 80’s that logic might float, but kids are killing each other over sneakers and silly glances so I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s not being a punk when you’re trying to save a life.  On the flip side, what kinds of parents raise a bully?  How does your child going from sharing his snack to giving smaller kids the smack down?  What is the next step after playground bully, campus rapist? Who do we blame: the bully that picks on kids, the parents of the bully, or the teachers that allow bullies to stay in school?  Who should be ultimately responsible for the bully situation in our schools?

April 23, 2009 - Posted by | Children, Opinion, Society


  1. Well you know, it takes a village to raise a child. Everyone is responsible! As parents it is our responsibility to question our children DAILY about their day and probe when given short answers. Teachers and administrators (those that care anyway) tend to pay attention to these situations and make referrals to the school counselors to get the issue rectified immediately. Other adults witnessing this behavior should say something..at least I would. Bullying starts at home. From a DV (Domestic Violence) prospective, children witness their moms being mistreated by their fathers and the men in their mother’s lives. So if your mom tolerates (and does not leave) this mistreatment and you as the bully sees this as a form of power, you will inturn perform this aggresive behavior outside of the home to prove how BAD you are.

    Bullys are terrible. A woman I work with experienced this first hand..her son was being bullyed and she was not aware this was taking place until another concerned parent sent an email to the principal. This parent witnessed this bullying afterschool at the bus stop. When my co-worker addressed the issue with her son, he would not talk. How scary is that, that your child will not tell you as their parent, the person who is supposed to protect you from everything, that someone is giving you the blues for the fear of being called a snitch! This is some NONSENSE!

    Comment by Irving on the Crest | April 23, 2009

  2. I saw the same news cast. However, I would like to point out the parent that said her son was friends with Jaheem and when he went back to school the bullies tormented him for supporting the “loser who was dead.” The fact that the bullies still feel the need to torment and not feel remorse speaks volumes to their mental capacity.

    The school board and parents need to step up to these bullies and send a message that this will not be tolerated. Pretty soon the tormented children will take matters into their own hands and innocent people will be hurt. Do we need another Columbine or Oklahoma City bombing to take some action?

    Comment by Venom Patton | April 23, 2009

  3. I can only say that if that was my child or nephew I will be in that school yard everyday until I could get my hands on those punks. I will plastered their parents homes with posters of their bully kids on their lawn so that the neighbors could see what kind of devil child they are raising. I am mad as hell at the inability of the schools to put a stop to this. If this animals do not go to school to learn then they need to stay the hell home and torment their own parents.

    Comment by Concern Citizen | April 23, 2009

  4. Absolutely the parents need to be involved. When you look at those Columbine parents for example how could you know your kid was making bombs!? Seriously. I could not go to the bathroom w/o my Mom knowing it when I was growing up and while it was sometimes a little more supervision than I felt necessary in the end I was better off for it. You need to be in the mix knowing what is going on day in and day out!

    Comment by ncmama | April 23, 2009

  5. I meant to say how could you not know your kid was making bombs?

    Comment by ncmama | April 23, 2009

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