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.