This 12-Year-Old Boy's Suicide Proves America's Bullying Crisis Isn't Over

After years of bullying, a 12-year-old California boy has taken his own life.

Folsom preteen Ronin Shimizu had to be home-schooled because of schoolyard bullying, according to KXTV. Much of the torment stemmed from Shimizu joining the Vista Junior Eagles Cheer Team, a local cheer squad on which he was the only boy.

Source: Dailymail

A statement from the school district called Shimizu a "positive and outgoing child." John Bliss, his former middle school principal, also wrote a letter to students and families:

"Today we have and will continue to provide counseling and support to students and staff who need assistance dealing with their grief. And while do not know all of the circumstances surrounding Ronin's passing, we will continue our work to maintain a safe, caring and positive school environment free from bullying and harassment."

Friends and parents spoke out about bullying in the wake of Shimizu's death. "I've had a son that's been bullied," one parent told KXTV. "It's so scary."

The boy's death is a stark reminder that bullying has real consequences. Nearly half of students in grades four through 12 have been bullied, according to StopBullying.gov. While that percentage tends to go down as students get older, it can be hard for bullying victims to understand that it does get better. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, LGBT teenagers are much more likely to both contemplate and attempt suicide due to bullying than their straight peers:

Source: Phillymag

Adding to the crisis is the potential for social media to exacerbate bullying. To make matters worse, only 20% to 30% of parents know that bullying is occurring.

We all need to fight bullies: While the It Gets Better Project, an initiative aimed at showing childhood victims of bullying that their lives will improve, has made massive strides, preventing bullying's most devastating consequences shouldn't just be left to the victim. The Centers for Disease Control bullying guidelines say that prevention must "involve the entire school community—students, families, administrators, teachers, and staff such as bus drivers, nurses, cafeteria and front office staff—in creating a culture of respect ... Bystanders who intervene on behalf of young people being bullied make a huge difference."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Matt Connolly

Matt has written for Mother Jones, the Washington Examiner and Chicago Public Radio among many others. He's a resident of Washington, D.C., but much like Bruce Springsteen and pork roll he is a product of New Jersey.

MORE FROM

Twin bombings in Pakistan market kill at least 15

This story is breaking.

Federal judge blocks deportations of Iraqi Christians

The ACLU celebrated the decision as a "life-saving action" temporarily keeping Chaldean Christians from facing religious persecution in Iraq.

Johnny Depp jokes about assassinating Donald Trump

"It's been a while," Depp said, "and maybe it's time."

Trump says he finds special counsel Mueller's relationship with James Comey "bothersome"

Trump says "virtually everybody agrees" that there's been no collusion or obstruction of justice.

'Hot Mic' podcast: GOP Senate health care, Comey tapes, 2016 election data stolen

The important stories to get you caught up for Friday

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.

Twin bombings in Pakistan market kill at least 15

This story is breaking.

Federal judge blocks deportations of Iraqi Christians

The ACLU celebrated the decision as a "life-saving action" temporarily keeping Chaldean Christians from facing religious persecution in Iraq.

Johnny Depp jokes about assassinating Donald Trump

"It's been a while," Depp said, "and maybe it's time."

Trump says he finds special counsel Mueller's relationship with James Comey "bothersome"

Trump says "virtually everybody agrees" that there's been no collusion or obstruction of justice.

'Hot Mic' podcast: GOP Senate health care, Comey tapes, 2016 election data stolen

The important stories to get you caught up for Friday

Watchdog groups sue Trump for deleting tweets, allegedly violating Presidential Records Act

Trump's deleted tweets may come back to haunt him.