On Sunday, February 17, 2013, Laisha Gross attempted suicide by hanging. The young girl did not die right away, but was sent to a D.C. hospital where she died on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 6:15 A.M. after sustaining injuries. That same day, at 9:50 A.M. all teachers at E. Russell Hicks read a letter that announced Laisha’s death. All I heard, was silence. None of us seemed to process the fact. None of us knew the girl either in our Geometry class.
Regardless of my previous sentence, everybody was stunned. I feel like I speak for everybody in my class, and most of the people in the school at that moment, when I say that we’ve all heard of people committing suicide. None of us really thought anybody would do it, even with lots of people with suicidal thoughts and depression. As the letter was read to just under 800 kids at the same time, emotions and thoughts flowed in after a minute of realization.
From what I believe, the B.O.E. sent members to assist our two amazing guidance counselors. Everybody who needed somebody to talk to about the situation at hand was welcomed to. As I went to DI and lunch I saw a what I call a memorial for Laisha in the cafeteria. A picture of her on a huge pink sheet of paper was put up on the far wall opposite the lunch line across what Hicks students refer to as, “The Pit.” Just about everyone signed the wall.
That wall, was took up by the 8th grade alone, as we had 1st lunch. By the end of the day the size of that pink sheet going from the ceiling to the floor was tripled. 7th graders were crying and my Spanish benchmark was postponed. Our teacher had the student for Spanish and she couldn’t bear giving the 7th grade class the benchmark, so she didn’t for us. The day itself, was one I did not experience in full, as I am not a 7th grader. I could only observe.
I felt it necessary the next day, as an announcer on the morning broadcast team, to ask for a moment of silence for the whole school. I felt that was something I could do at least to pay respects. I had a field trip that day to see Henry V in Washington D.C. so I was unable to see how the school was the next day. But when I got home and went on Facebook, I learned more about possible speculations about what pushed the girl to committing suicide.
I do not want to jump the gun on anything or anyone, because that would be unprofessional and assuming is not what needs to be done in this situation. I have heard though, that a girl in the 7th grade might have bullied that girl, or that she had trouble at home. Most likely, being a student at the school, the cause was bullying. Three years tells you a lot about the status quo of any place, especially an educational one.
With this incident, I’ve rethought a couple things over the past couple years, and I’m pretty sure all of the 8th graders have along with most of the school. I don’t want to blame anybody for the circumstances everybody has faced, but I think this deserves some cognitive truth about what really goes on in school now. School is not what it was like years ago, I think this generation with all the technology at our hands has made us ignorant.
With the generation gap between the teachers and the students, I think they take it for granted that 11-14 year olds aren’t maturing faster. I can’t even explain it, but what I can explain, teachers need to be more interactive with their students. The teachers can’t just be sitting at their desks and letting their students work. The teachers really need to find out what students are doing, what they’re talking about really, instead of playing innocent.
Everybody except for a literal 2 people in every grade say something mean to other people. For us 8th graders, it honestly seems like we’re just playing around. We grew up with this type of joking around. But when somebody takes it too far, especially to another person who isn’t like us, it may become damaging. Maybe this is the truth, or it’s just from my hardened perspective as a person who doesn’t really take insults or jokes to heart.
Parents. are also this way, too. Older parents are most likely naive about what goes in their kids’ lives. Parents really need to talk to their kids, and be accepted. A problem is that sometimes kids are to scared to tell their parents the truth, and they keep feelings and thoughts bundled inside. If students are unable to talk to a family member honestly, I believe they can talk to a school’s guidance counselor.
From experiences and peer knowledge, my school’s counselors are amazing. People are here for anybody that needs help. Finding the right person, is the hard part, but there is somebody that people can talk to. As I write this, today, Monday for myself, two girls were going to fight three times today. After what happened at E. Russell Hicks, I don’t understand why somebody would attempt to harm another person. That’s something I can’t understand.
The point of this blog post is not to rant about what can be changed and what’s wrong with society, it’s to show everybody that this modern day consumer materialistic society can over come the challenges brought in 2013. There’s always that one person, out of 7 billion, that can help you. I know humans aren’t perfect, but if you say something mean to somebody, say “sorry, I was wrong.” That’s a good habit to practice. Learn from this mistakes, don’t be hypocritical and communicate and teach your experiences. Just be nice. Please.
Bullying needs to – and will - stop,
Young people in our community have been touched by violence and by the tragic loss of a young life this week. Memorial Recreation Center, Inc. is hosting a candlelight vigil at 7 pm on Monday, February 25, as part of a STOP the VIOLENCE/STOP the ABUSE campaign. Together, we can work together to recognize and respond to abuse and bullying.
If you are concerned about the effect of violence on young people in our community, please join in on Monday. Memorial Recreation Center is located at 109 West North Avenue, Hagerstown.
For more information, visit Memorial Recreation Center on Facebook.