The Dangers of Bullying: From Hurt to Help - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

 

The Dangers of Bullying: From Hurt to Help

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Kaitlin Loux, 17, a student at Parkway High School took her life on May 15, two weeks after graduation. Her parents say she was a victim of bullying. Kaitlin Loux, 17, a student at Parkway High School took her life on May 15, two weeks after graduation. Her parents say she was a victim of bullying.
TZ Blanc, 13, a student at Elm Grove Middle School in Bossier City, loved robotics and horses. His parents say constant bullying is the reason he took his life on May 15. TZ Blanc, 13, a student at Elm Grove Middle School in Bossier City, loved robotics and horses. His parents say constant bullying is the reason he took his life on May 15.
BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

She loved music and photography and appeared happy on the outside, but deep down 17-year old Kaitlin Loux was depressed. Her parents blamed that on two years of constant bullying.

"Kaitlin was a beautiful wonderful child very sensitive child who stood up for anybody and she did not deserve the treatment that she got," said Kaitlin's mother Evelyn Loux.  "Her main bully told her texted her and said I'm going to destroy you."

Evelyn says some students her daughter was picked on by students at Parkway High School mostly because she didn't go along with partying and drinking.

The taunting was so unbearable that Kaitlin tried not once, but twice to kill herself. The second time was fatal. She died May 26 just a few days after graduation.

13 year old TZ Blanc loved robotics and horses. Like Kaitlin, he was also taunted at Elm Grove Middle School according to his parents.

It got worse after they say two of TZ's bullies took nude pictures of themselves and sent them to a handful of boys. TZ was one of them.

"He didn't take the pictures. He didn't ask for the pictures but they ended up on his phone they didn't leave his phone and he didn't forward them to anyone," said Blanc.

He was called to a principal's office and told he did nothing wrong, but it turns out something was horribly wrong. 

"Something was said in that office that scared him enough to cry," said Blanc.

That same afternoon while Jennifer went to pick up her other son at the bus stop, TZ took his own life.

Kaitlin and TZ aren't the only teenagers who took their lives after being bullied. Two years ago, Danielle Cox ended her life after being bombarded with numerous hateful text messages.

Centenary College psychologist Dr. Amy Hammond says years ago children who were bullied could go home and escape. That's not the case today.

"Now all of those bullies follow us into our home not our bedrooms into our facebook page into our text messages and there is no escape. These kids are bombarded 24-7," said Hammond.

Hammond says a child's brain is not fully developed and therefore children lack the necessary coping skills needed to protect themselves from today's bullying.

"And that is a big part of why we have seen an increase in the seriousness of these events over what we would see a generation ago,"  said Hammond.

In Bossier Parish alone, there were 99 reported cases of bullying and cyberbullying in the 2011 - 2012 school year. That number was cut to 41 the next school year according to Bossier parish officials.

While Bossier school officials won't comment on the deaths of TZ Blanc and Kaitlin Loux, they say they have taken steps to combat the problem of bullying. 

In recent years, Louisiana legislators passed laws that require districts to have bullying policies including training sessions for employees.

Just a few weeks ago at Parkway High School, the TAG (Take it Seriously, Ask Questions, Get Help) program was introduced to students. It taught them how to recognize signs of depression and what to do about it.

In the meantime, the Blanc's and Loux's want the entire community to come together and find other solutions to bullying.

"I want there to be an outlet for these kids that are being bullied or having emotional problems or struggling with something at home," said Jennifer Blanc. "They need to be heard."

Other families have joined in on the effort. Jodie Green's son Tyler was picked on several years ago about his medical condition. 

"I think we just decided we're just tired of seeing this swept under the rug," said Green.  

Green started a Facebook page entitled South Bossier Anti-Bullying Coalition. Her page provides an open forum for parents including bullying forms that can be printed and filled out and turned into schools. The page also provides up to date information about efforts to end bullying.

Community discussions and unified action are critical to tackling today's problems with bullies.

"Really a big part of it is to build communities within usually the school that make bullying an unacceptable behavior," said Hammond.

Hammond said schools that aggressively target the bully eliminate the problem.

"Rather than the child who is being bullied who is the one being isolated who is being taunted who is being excluded from the community that the bullies become who are the ones engaging in socially inappropriate and unacceptable behavior."

A tougher approach in school and community action against bullying won't bring back TZ and Kaitlin, but their parents say everyone needs to take a strong stand now before someone else gets seriously hurt or dies. 

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