SOUTHGATE (WWJ) – A Downriver community is grieving the loss of a 13-year-old boy who took his own life in a middle school bathroom.
In a live interview with WWJ Newsradio 950, Birmingham psychiatrist Dr. Gerald Schiener said parents should take this opportunity to talk to their teens about bullying.
“We have to remember to tell our kids that it’s never OK to make fun of another child; that it’s never OK to make a kid feel bad, because we’ve all had the experience of being bullied or teased,” said Schiener.
“We have to convey that a popular kid, a good kid, will help a kid who’s being bullied and report a bully and talk to someone — a teacher, a class representative, a counselor or a parent,” Schiener said.
District officials said Thursday that there is no evidence at this time that the student in this case, an 8th grader at Davidson Middle School in Southgate, was bullied — and they’re still looking into what may have led to his death.
Schiener said we need to make it clear to our kids that no situation is so bad that you can’t ask for help.
“Because the reason that a child would do something like this is because he feels like he’s dealing with it all alone — and we have to convey that these children are not alone,” he said.
Schiener said parents also need to understand that these things don’t happen out of the blue.
“They’re planned and there are often signs,” said Schiener. “When you see your child changing in his behavior — getting more withdrawn, getting more irritable, losing his appetite, not wanting to be with his friends — you have to ask why and you can’t take ‘I don’t know’ or ‘nothing’ as an answer.
“You have to say that I can tell that something’s wrong; that I’m here to help you and I need to know. If you tell me I can help you … we are here for you,” Schiener said.