Bullies are not cool, they’re cowards

Posted on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 9:00 am

Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire addresses students at Louisa County High School on the consequences of bullying and harassment. The other speaker was Senator Tom Garrett, 22nd District.

Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire addresses students at Louisa County High School on the consequences of bullying and harassment. The other speaker was Senator Tom Garrett, 22nd District.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the Center for Disease Control.

For every suicide there are at least 100 suicide attempts and over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, with almost seven percent attempting. Bully-related suicide can be connected to any type of bullying.

Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire and Senator Tom Garrett, of the 22nd District, presented a bullying demonstration to students at Louisa County High School on Nov. 15. The pair introduced terms used to define bullying and what the legal ramifications could be and what they mean for the students and their futures.

“Do you think as your commonwealth’s attorney I want to be prosecuting any of you?” McGuire asked the students. “No. I want to go after the people that are robbing, breaking into people’s homes and those sort of things.”

McGuire then asked the students if they wanted to start off their college years or job with a conviction.

“A lot of things have changed and technology has changed a lot of things and how we interact today versus the way we interacted 10-20 years ago,” Garrett said. “A lot of things have not changed and never will because human nature is human nature.”

According to Garrett, there was bullying and harassment even when his parents went to school. He expressed how the world is different for young people today because their actions are more visible and recognizable, and the consequences more swift and possibly more severe than 20 to 30 years ago.

Garrett asked the students to question themselves about what kind of person they want to be and who they want to be. Then he asked them to think about what kind of person they want to be to other people.

According to McGuire and Garrett, there are many types of bullying that can garner a student jail or prison time.

Some examples of bullying/harassment given during the presentation were:

• physical

• verbal

• sexual

• cyber

• stalking

• relational aggression

Garrett and McGuire told students what they post on the Internet never really goes away. McGuire said the Internet has actually made it easier for his office to prosecute those who use the Internet to bully or harass, as there is a record of it, even if they delete it from their Facebook or Twitter account.

To read the entire story, see the Jan. 2 edition of The Central Virginian.

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