True Crime Exposure

Suicide by Bully – The Celina Okwuone Story

By Deadmyron

Port St. Lucie, Fl. This sweet smiling little face belongs to 11 year old Celina Okwuone. She was a student at St. Anastasia Catholic School in Fort Pierce Florida. I came across this article and it begged me to do a write-up. My youngest girl is eleven…I would say she was typical of kids her age anywhere. She loves watching Spongebob Squarepants and iCarly. Loves her video games, music, her friends, and her pets. I lack the writing talent to truly express the depth of my love for her.  Last October, she had a very invasive surgery to correct severe scoliosis. I will never forget the mask of pain on her face during her week in recovery in ICU  I shed my share of tears. I would have happily bore the pain for her, but life doesn’t work that way.

I don’t imagine Celina’s parents are that much different from me.  I don’t imagine Celina was much different than my own child.  Unfortunately, the picture Celina’s parents are forced to carry in their minds, will include their little girl hanging from some metal shelving in her own closet.  She had committed suicide with a belt.  The answer to why was found in her diary. Celina was being bullied at school.  At the time of this writing, there was a statement from the Diocese of Palm Beach, expressing their sorrow. They also sent their Critical Incident Stress Management team to the school to help counsel the grief-stricken children of Anastasia Catholic School. The police are planning on releasing the diary to the press sometime in the future. Other than that, there’s not too much to tell. Perhaps that will change by the time of publication.

Of course, there were the general platitudes quoted by well-meaning parishioners. People the press interviewed wanted to know why an eleven year old child would take their own life. I agree with the idea of the Diocese sending their CISM team to deal help the children troubled by this terrible thing. But hey, here’s an idea! Why don’t we find out who the fuck the bullies are? After that, shouldn’t someone be asking the question, “How much did the school staff know and what action was taken?” Apparently, someone fucked up. Someone is culpable and should be punished.

One may argue that Celina may have had depression issues. That may well be, but a depressed child doesn’t suddenly get up and say, “Well, cartoons are over.  Guess I’ll go hang myself in the fuckin’ basement.” There needs to be a trigger…and a breaking point. One may argue it was the fault of Celina’s parents. This is always a possibility, but in this case I doubt it. They cared enough to pay the tuition to a parochial school  No.  I think it’s time we took a long hard look at the school and a long hard look at the bullies and their parents. The parents may be a long shot, but one only needs to think about that crazy bitch, Lori Drew.

Think about all the violent school rampages and the percentage of those incidents that involved school bullying. It scares the hell out of me to put my kid on a school bus. Bullying is by definition torture. I went through it when I lived in a housing project in the racially-charged sixties. My oldest girl went through it when she was in grade school. She was terrified, once even throwing herself on the hood of the car until her mother brought her home. I asked her why she was so afraid of school and she told me that a kid had threatened to kill her. “Did you tell the teacher?” I asked. She nodded and told me the teacher told her to deal with it herself.

At 3 p.m. that afternoon, I went teacher hunting. I found her in her class room. She smiled as she saw me…I had been expected. Her smile soon left. “Hey what the fuck are you doing telling a little kid to deal with a death threat by themselves?”

“Well…uh” she stammered.

“‘Well, uh, well uh,’” I mocked. “My kid is crying all day, because you are too chickenshit to stand up to a kid? I told her to hit the bastard in the head with a chair. She won’t do it though. But here’s what. Either you deal with this situation, or I will. I’ll come in here during class and I’ll chuck the little fucker right through a window. Now, if you think I’m full of shit, call my bluff.”  I walked out of the school and there were no more problems. The teacher even made all the children involved (I found out later, there were ten kids and their ringleader) write a note of apology.

It’s time to make bullying a crime. There are way too many kids dying, either by suicide or rampage that can be attributed to suicide. Why not do something about it before there is an incident? It’s the same thing they do with towns devastated by a tornado. When they rebuild then they erect the shelters and mount warning sirens. Why wait for the disaster?

I’m tired of hearing names like Columbine, Pearl High, Redlake High.  I’m tired of our children being fucking bullied to death. Children like Celina, Megan Meier, Jared High, killing themselves.  This has been going on for far too long.  Our children are looking at these kids like they are martyrs!  The media attention has all been on the sensational aspect and not the causes.  The bullies, the schools, the bullies’ parents, are all culpable in my opinion.  It’s time to hit these bastards where it hurts.  The pocketbook.  In this day and age, sadly, it is the only way to effect any change in the way bullying is handled.

Dylan Theno and his parents did it right.  In my next installment, I will talk with Dylan, who was generous enough to allow me to interview him.  His is a very interesting story and perhaps the answer to the rash of bullying murders and suicides.

Source

27 responses

  1. Pingback: Suicide by Bully - The Celina Okwoune Story | Γονείς σε Δράση

  2. Corinne Gregory

    Bullying IS a crime. It’s defined as such in 43 states across the country. If enacting laws were the cure to crime, we’d have no more crime because we certainly have ENOUGH laws.

    To learn what can really been done to prevent and cure bullying, join the discussion at http://socialsmarts.wordpress.com. I, too, am tired of the “another day, another death” and it’s my personal and professional mission to eliminate bullying in schools.

    June 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm

  3. shelly

    Imagine the pain this little girl was in to do this. Hats off to you Myron for standing up for your daughter, more parents need to get involved! My son was bullied on a nearly daily basis, he was the “shy” kid who wouldnt defend himself. Teachers and principal alike told me “He brings most of it on himself”, by not fighting back he made himself an easy target. Well my “easy target” has a momma bear who will kick anyones ass who messes with her cub, and did just that, drove to the home of the biggest bully and comfronted his mother- while the bully got to see his mother get asked why she allowed the behavior, I quickl saw the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, the bitch said she thought it was funny, cause her son is smaller than mine, I didnt take it lightly and grabbed her around the neck and lifted her off the floor and told her if her brat went near my kid again, I would be back and I would finish the conversation! My boy has never had any more problems with that bully=) Ya me!

    June 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm

  4. With a growing society of parents who couldn’t be more detached from their children, bullying seems to be taking new and deeper roots.

    I consider myself lucky in the fact we’ve always seem to deal with schools well equipped to deal with a bullying situation. We’ve also had long discussions about “acceptable” behavior (playful teasing) and crossing the line into bullying. There is a line – it’s just very difficult to discern because each year there are more factors at play.

    Now we have children at the age of 6 and 7 who carry cell phones, children setting up myspace and facebook pages with absolutely no oversight. As parents, we’re failing our children because we’re not giving them the tools they need when those spaces are invaded by hateful and hurtful people. It’s my personal belief children should be allowed to be children without the added “social” stimuli of these gadgets. I’m not real sure why a child needs a cell phone and I’m equally dumbfounded why children are allowed to set up a social networking page…fuck, I’ve seen so many adults who cannot handle themselves respectfully!

    I see adults daily in situations where they divulge too much personal information online and get kicked for it. Instead of removing the info, changing access to a page, deleting accounts, etc., they dig themselves in deeper by needing to know what’s being said instead of simply turning off the computer or turning off the phone. What the hell is the attraction of having a phone attached to one’s hand 24/7? What the hell is the attraction of having to be connected to the bad shit? Why can’t people just turn the fuckers off?

    Knowing so many adults are like this, and those adults have children, why are we surprised they are ill-equipped to deal with bullying? Children learn by example. If adults cannot handle the pressures, why the hell introduce their offspring to the same things?

    I’m glad to see school districts finally stepping up to the plate but they also need parental involvement. Until the two start working hand-in-hand, there’s not going to be real progress. There needs to be a mandatory program for parents and children to attend – run in conjunction with parent/teacher conferences. Something.

    Our children need to recognize the signs of bullying earlier so it can be nipped in the bud before it’s gotten a stronghold.

    June 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm

  5. Darling Violetta

    Oh the stories I could tell! This area is rather.. notorious for the bullying amongst kids.

    Believe it or not, I’ve had guests of my neighbors (in their 30s) come up and and actually pick on my children. I can recall being called derogatory names by staff in high school. I find it quite pathetic that grown women and men feel the need to act like that, or just as equally pathetic, do nothing when they see other children bullying other children! I can also remember struggling horribly in high school with bullying. Alot of name calling, shoving, but there was some groping from certain boys while in the classroom. There were punches thrown at me because someone said “Oh she used that!”. On one occassion, another student dropped a closed drink on the floor and I picked it up for him. I picked it up, and got kicked hard in the face for my efforts. Yes, I said a HIM. When I decided no more and to transfer to another school, school staff gave me a lot of shit about it.

    I was lucky. Although I didn’t have an extremely supportive family, I had enough confidence to realize that the bullshit wouldn’t last forever.

    I wish that I could have met this young lady, Phoebe Prince, and all of the others and been able to help protect, nurture, and encourage their confidence and self-worth.

    @DM – Thanks for choosing this as a topic
    @Shelly – Thanks for sharing!

    June 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm

  6. Corrine, thank you! I knew bullying was a crime, but only in the abstract…like jaywalking or littering. I wish you the very best on your mission. You have my deepest thanks and respect.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:42 pm

  7. Shelly, there was something about Celina’s eyes. When I looked past her beautiful smile, I could see (or imagined I could) something dark and painful there. I must admit it was kind of fun cornering the teacher and giving her just a little taste of what she helped give my kid. I had some issues back then and I’m afraid I would have taken it to another level had it not stopped where it did.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:49 pm

  8. Thank you for reading, DV. My next article will be a lot of fun to write.

    QUOTE: I was lucky. Although I didn’t have an extremely supportive family, I had enough confidence to realize that the bullshit wouldn’t last forever.

    I love this statement of yours. It’s so very true and very important. I’m glad you came through the other side.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:54 pm

  9. Jodi

    I was going to post something about the teachers bullying myself when I saw your reply. I have 3 children and they all had their share of bullying. My son was bullyed by his Basketball coach in the 7th grade. The coach decided that since they supposedly didn’t have room on the bus for away games he would pick 3 boys from the team that wouldn’t get away jerseys and wouldnt get to go to the games. Well that wasnt going to fly with me. I marched right up to that school and spoke to the Superentendent who them called in the principal and then the coach. Before I left there, they had already written an apology to the 3 children and their parents and magically there was room on the bus, and 3 more jerseys ordered. My point is we as parents can’t just stand around and let this happen. It is OUR responsibillity as parents to teach our children that bullying is not ok and that we must stand up for ourselves.

    June 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm

  10. Darling Violetta

    @DM: One of the best and most inspiring things I ever heard to help keep my head up:

    “.. You tell yourself to keep counting the days and put up with the shit. … It’s passing scenery.”

    June 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm

  11. Darling Violetta

    @TG: Nailed it right on the head! I’ve instilled in my daughter, literally since three days after birth, that she is beautiful, wonderful, loved, and that the opinions and taunts of others will never change those things. My daughter is much taller than most children her age and although she is very witty and funny, gets bullied quite a bit. I can’t say that it doesn’t bother her from time to time, but I wonder just what the situation would be had I taken the apathetic approach since day three. Would she become another tragedy? Reading this kind of stuff just breaks my heart.

    @Jodi: *high fives* I’m really not sure what it is with adults bullying kids. To me, those people are about as deplorable as chomos. Few things disgust me more.

    June 1, 2010 at 7:05 pm

  12. I went to a school where the teachers were bullies. If you were poor and needed help to pay for a school lunch, the secretary would line you up behind her desk until all the paying kids got to eat. How fucking degrading! To this day I hate that wretch and she is probably burning in hell. We also had a teacher that slapped a girl on the mouth for talking. The girl went home and came back with her mother, who slapped that dude silly in front of all of us. I wish they would have had video cameras back then like they do now. It was glorious!!

    June 1, 2010 at 7:27 pm

  13. Darling Violetta

    One of the middle / jr high schools that I went to was like that… Especially with the meal thing! One teacher said that any grade at an 85% of below wasn’t worthy of receiving credit, and instead of giving students the grades that they had earned, MANY students had a row of 0%’s all across his gradebooks for the entire year. Only ONE parent questioned the school about it, at least that was ever made publicly known. I know that ideally, all teachers and students would like A’s! But since when is a B+ not good enough – for a damn teacher!?

    Til someone brought along some legal counsel with them to a meeting :p

    June 1, 2010 at 8:06 pm

  14. Lazlo

    You have a real talent DM. A great write up for a tragic story. It’s great to have to on the team!

    June 1, 2010 at 9:41 pm

  15. ravenblackehart

    another bullying suicide

    June 2, 2010 at 6:28 pm

  16. ravenblackehart

    click the above link in my previous comment for another story of a bullying suicide….

    June 2, 2010 at 6:33 pm

  17. Pingback: World Wide News Flash

  18. Great to be here, Lazlo. Thanks!

    June 3, 2010 at 12:19 am

  19. Once again, huh? See, again I say, Christian may already have problems to begin with, but there had to be that trigger. This sounds like there may have been some complacency on the side of the school board. I hope they stick with their statement about an investigation, but again it begs the question: Where were they BEFORE? These…people!

    June 3, 2010 at 12:26 am

  20. Wow! Thank you!!

    June 3, 2010 at 12:27 am

  21. Krammmer

    I was a bully in school but not the suicide inducing kind and I always kissed my victims and slipped in the tongue. Oh wait that was the shit they used to label me bully. The girls never minded but the boys all got their first hardons and cried.

    June 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm

  22. Dr D. Matthews

    Did you know that there is one incident of bullying every seven minutes?
    According to the experts, bullying behavior must be immediately addressed by adults. Only adult intervention can effectively reduce bullying.
    The first step is to identify unacceptable peer actions. These include:
    • Physical aggression: hitting, kicking, pushing, choking, punching;
    • Verbal aggression: threatening, taunting, teasing, starting rumors, hate speech;
    • Social Exclusion from activities: This does not mean that a student should have to be friends with every other student; it does mean that children should not be allowed to systematically exclude others: “No one plays with Mary;” “No one wants to play with him;” “Don’t be her friend.”

    Bullying is like spouse abuse or sexual harassment in that it is:
    • Done by someone with more power or social support to someone with less power or social support;
    • Often includes the abuser blaming the target for the abuse;
    • Often it leads to the target blaming him or herself for the abuse;
    • In most bullying situations, the target cannot stop the bullying by his or her own actions.
    Children learn more powerfully from what they see adults do than from what we say. When adults do not intervene, bullies may feel there is nothing wrong with their actions. Targets may feel they deserve the bullying.

    D. Matthews, Psychologist

    June 10, 2010 at 8:43 am

  23. Hi,
    I recently created a new anti bully program which schools are currently using with great success which may be of interest to you.
    It can be viewed at my website..

    http://www.wix.com/SpeakUpToYourTeacher/Order-page

    Once at the site press the ( teachers ) button then play the video that appears which shows children performing my song taken from the program.

    Johnny

    June 22, 2010 at 6:18 am

  24. Kuriko89

    Yeah, I was bullied until I put some kids head through a locker. Whats funny though is I never got in trouble for it. This was before we had cameras in the school. I walked away before they could catch me. I was called all kinds of names because I was fat, ugly, stupid, and different. He lived unfortunately. Although I must admit anytime people saw me coming they looked the other way. It was kind of nice. Yes, I am one of those odd balls who liked being ignored. better than dead myself. I had all kinds of problem when I was young. My father was no big help. Blowing his money on whores, drugs, and alcohol while taking his frustrations out on me. (I would lie about the bruises he would leave all over my body from a belt buckle.) My mom was never home, she work’s self employed janitorial. My brother began defending me and once shoved me out of the way. Hence he is no my favorite brother. My favorite grandma (the one who treated all her grand kids equally) died when I was 11, then my best friend at the time drowned saving her younger sisters life while that fucking twat of a worthless excuse of a human girlfriend of their fathers WATCHED her die without so much as a swim out to her. (Oh she could swim. Trust me. Ashley on the other hand didn’t go within 10 feet of water. She only jumped in to safe her sister Rachel’s life.) To top it off I was being sexually molested by my other friends brother from the ages of 10 – 13. So yeah, I had issues. I tried many things to rid myself of existence. Had it not been for my friend and my mother walking in on me, and had she not taken the knife from my hand I would not be here today.
    By the way I apologize for not having this in paragraphs. When I get to writing about this I just go all out.

    July 30, 2010 at 9:09 pm

  25. Dr. Matthews: Thank you so much for your informative response…and apologies for not checking my mail sooner. I have copied your post and will gladly pass it along. Again…my sincere thanks. This will be most helpful.

    July 31, 2010 at 7:53 pm

  26. @Kuriko: I don’t know what to say other than congratulations for coming through such a tough life with your sanity.

    July 31, 2010 at 8:49 pm

  27. A little addendum here: According to WPTV in Port St. Lucie, investigating officers have determined that no crime was committed by bullies.

    From WPTV site:

    “Police spent a week interviewing Celina’s family, teachers and classmates, concluding there was no crime committed, no bullying, at least by the legal definition.

    “What we found were kids being kids and we all know kids can be cruel,” said Port St. Lucie Police Chief Donald Shinnamon.”

    I would be remiss not to present the “other side of the story” as to the determination made at the end of the investigation.

    Would I have written the story had I known this? Probably. Dr. Okwuone, Celina’s father thinks that the term “bullying” should be redefined. Who would know a child better than a parent? Here’s the link:

    http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/region_st_lucie_county/port_st_lucie/police-release-suicide-victim%27s-diary,-recordings

    August 1, 2010 at 2:04 am

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