When Will We Say…Enough!

A year ago this month I watched a sixteen-year-old boy dressed in a hospital gown and handcuffs being lead to a police car…his name, Alex Hribal.

Alex had gone on a stabbing spree…injuring 21 students and a security guard. It was splashed across screens…giving the media much to speculate about. The big question everyone wanted to know was why! Why would someone do the unthinkable…how does one make sense out of the senseless…how do we explain tragedy?

Teenager Student With Fear Stock PhotoJust a year later the new’s cameras have all gone away…but that young boy (with acne and no facial hair)…not yet a man remains in a juvenile detention center, while his lawyer tries to get his case moved to juvenile court…rather than try him as an adult.

I imagine, in a few more years, it will be nothing more than a statistic to all except those who were directly involved…the victims, Alex Hribal, and his family.

I haven’t been able to get this young boy out of my mind, but before I go any further let me make one thing crystal clear…I do not, in anyway, think taking a weapon and using it on another person is okay! I’m not condoning Alex’s actions! I hope all that were wounded during this horrific event are recovering and will not have lasting consequences! I’m deeply saddened to know that children can no longer go into school without fear that they may be harmed.

Yet, it bothered me to see a young boy (16) maybe 110 pounds shackled and escorted by police. I could only guess at how frightened he must have been…and yes, I can only imagine that his victims were just as terrified, maybe more so.

If we want to make sense of the senseless we’re going to have to be willing to sort out all the facts. Since I was not present at Franklin Regional High School the day of the stabbing I can only present my case based on what I have read. By all accounts Alex was a good kid with no previous record of getting into trouble, therefore, I do not believe for one moment that this young boy woke up one morning and for lack of better things to do decided to go to school and start harming people…there has to be some extenuating circumstances and from what I’ve read bullying played a factor.

Ashlie Hardway Pittsburgh Action News 4 WTAE.com wrote this:

(Psychologists, Dr. Bruce Chambers) Chambers testified Hribal told him he wasn’t bullied any more than any other adolescent, but his witnessing of other children getting bullied is what caused him to want to “change the world because people are hypocrites.” Chambers testified Hribal never told his family or school officials about any bullying issues.
“He was reacting to the general idea of bullying, actually observing people being bullied. This idea that people were hypocrites certainly affected his sense of his own social isolation. He identified with the Columbine perpetrators in that regard,” Chambers said. “The bullying factor did not appear to be an issue. We investigated that in a lot of detail, a lot of depth. As I indicated, adolescents get bullied all the time and it’s a horrible thing, but I don’t think there’s one person who didn’t go through something like that as a teenager and adolescent, so we didn’t see it out of the ordinary.”

(Psychiatrists, Dr. Bruce Wright) Wright disagreed based on his interview with Hribal and testified Hribal told him he was bullied “every day or every other day.”

“‘I was afraid if I opened my mouth, someone would say it was the stupidest thing they ever heard,'” Wright read the statement from Hribal from his clinical report.

Chambers said the conflicting reports to different doctors isn’t uncommon as Wright interviewed Hribal in July, which was after Chambers’ first two interviews with Hribal.

I also read accounts that Alex was bullied the night before the incident occurred.

TRIBLIVE News By Kari Anden wrote this:

A Franklin Regional parent said Saturday that police have been alerted to an online taunt sent the night before to a 16-year-old student who went on a rampage at Franklin Regional Senior High School on Wednesday morning.

A screen shot of the posting by another student that called Alex Hribal, 16, a “rat face” was turned over to police on the same day he slashed and stabbed 20 students and a guard in the school.

Timothy Graham said he is concerned about the issue because school officials ignored his pleas to intervene in bullying that targeted his daughter and escalated into her being attacked in the cafeteria.

Alicia Graham, a freshman, was assaulted on Jan. 30 by a girl who jumped on Alicia, hit her with a cafeteria tray and beat her until a teacher pulled her away, Graham said.

His daughter suffered a concussion and missed three days of school. School officials declined to tell Graham what punishment was received by her attacker.

Graham said he took a list of bullying text messages and social media posts “four to six” students sent to his daughter — some that encouraged her to kill herself — to the school “sometime around Halloween.”

“I felt like they kind of waved a gold wand over it. They said it’s an affluent (community),” Graham said. “My daughter just said that’s how it is at Franklin. Everybody bullies everybody.”

I don’t know all the details about what really happened that day…none of us can truly know what goes on in another person’s heart and mind, but I do believe that bullying played a role in this unfortunate tragedy.

Children are sent to school…they have to go…it’s the law! School policies and school officials do little to deter bullying which gives bullies free rein to inflict their reign of terror. Day after day some children endure constant abuse at the hands of a bully. They enter a cycle of abuse with no way out…they become backed into a corner with nowhere to go.

If children report their abuse usually very little is done to stop the abuse which results in further bullying and often the abuse is worse! When someone is pushed to their limits and they can’t escape abuse…who knows what someone might do to find relief.

If you pull a cats tail long enough it will eventually scratch you!

When are we going to say enough is enough? When are we going to stop sweeping bullying under the rug and hope it goes away? When are we going to stop saying “kids will be kids”…really! Do we say “terrorists will be terrorists” or “abusers will be abusers”…no we take action!

Perhaps, we should ask ourselves how someone can…day after day…intentional inflict abuse (the unthinkable) on another human being. Have no remorse and take pleasure in the act.

If Alex was bullied…then he was a victim. And most likely if someone would have stepped in and stopped his abuse he wouldn’t have taken matters into his own hands. He wouldn’t have made victims of his own…he wouldn’t be sitting in juvenile detention center possibly facing life in jail.

Bullying is very personal to me and I plan to continue writing more on this topic in the coming weeks. Bystanders…those unwillingness to do something to stop bullying are part of the problem. If we do nothing…remain silent…than we can put ourselves on the list of one of the contributing factors of bullying…rather than the solution.

Blessings, Kasey

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32 thoughts on “When Will We Say…Enough!

  1. This is such a heartbreaking story. I always wonder what is going on in a young person’s life to cause them to want to harm others. My prayers go out to this young man.

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  2. My heart breaks for these horrific situations. There is so much hurt – on both sides. Hurting people hurt people. Our children are so precious and even one that is so troubled that they resort to violence is too much. I pray that God can start a revival in the hearts and minds of our youth to turn back to Him. And that starts right here – in my heart. Blessings for posting on this sensitive subject. Visited from Making Your Home Sing Monday and Mary and Martha’s House.

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    • Yes…hurting people, hurt people! Oh for the hearts and minds of our children to turn to the Lord…what a glorious day! So glad you stopped by and shared your thoughts. Have a blessed week. Grace to you, Kasey

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  3. My sister and I are a year apart in age. I am her big sister. Growing up my sister was bullied. She had problems with her eyes, and was constantly made fun of, and physically hurt. When she was around 10 yo, she spent the next two years of her life, every day, planning a way to kill herself that would be foolproof. I will most certainly say that I don’t think violence should be used to stop violence, BUT just being one year older than she, I wasn’t about to wait around until the adults did anything about it (which they didn’t). I was not shy about protecting my sister! (now mind you I was between the ages of 6 and 10 when I took physical action) I found that once the bullies were challenged, they let up. One bully, who decided to physically respond to my verbal rebukes, threw rocks at me while I was pushing my baby brother in the stroller, missing him by inches. A few days later I saw my opportunity to show him that I was not afraid of him, and pushed him down off of his bike. He never bothered us again. Again, I was a child myself, so I am NOT condoning violence, but somehow, even as a child I had this *intense* innate awareness that bullying was not to be tolerated, that it was inhumane. To my childish credit, I did verbally rebuke all bullies multiple times before resorting to physical means 🙂

    It broke my heart when some people that we went to church for asked for prayer as their son was being bullied at school. They had 3 conferences with the teachers/principles on the matter, and it was still not resolved. The husbands response to his wife’s concern for their son being bullied? “He has to learn to be a man.’ This boy was SIX years old!! Learn to be a man? WAs he serious? He was. We’ve left that church since, so I do not know how that boy is doing, but knowing the torment that my sister went through, I would stop at nothing to make sure my children were not bullied. We homeschool, so that is not an issue we deal with, but there was a church (interestingly the same one where the boy was being bullied at school), that my oldest daughter (12 at the time) was being bullied by some girls there. Talking did not work, so we left. No human being deserves to be left in a situation where they are bullied. Upon leaving one lady tried to tell me that I might be taking my daughter out of God’s will for her to be there, in that situation, because He may have wanted to produce a certain character trait in her, or teach her to turn to Him, instead of turning to friends. I can tell you, my eyes bugged out of my head upon hearing that! I believe God entrusted my children to my husband and I, and one of the many responsibilities we have is to protect them from harm.

    Anyways, thank you for writing this. I do believe enough is enough, and that bullies should have very, very strict rules placed on them, then punishments if necessary. It is beyond obvious that sitting back doing nothing, or ‘just talking’ to them is getting us anywhere.

    Blessings,
    Kerri

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    • Kerri, How do I thank you for sharing your thoughts. So many people have felt the sting of a bully. It’s heartbreaking to hear how badly your little sister was tormented. I plan to write more on bullying…I believe it’s time we bring the darkness out into the light.
      I believe you were absolutely right to remove you daughter from an abusive situation…even if it is within the walls of church. I homeschool myself and didn’t think bullying was an issue I would have to face…since my children were not attending school. This turned out to be a false belief…my girls were also mistreated by girls within our church. I can’t go into detail but to say the least much pain has come from it.
      I’ve done a lot of research on bullying and will be sharing in the future…buy in the meantime I found a real interesting book called Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression In Girls by Rachel Simmons you might find interesting. It’s not a Christian book but it sheds a real light on how cruel girls can be. I hope your daughter has been able to move on from her experience.
      We must not only make others aware of the seriousness of aggressive girls and bullies, but we need to pray for God’s intervention to help our children.
      Thank you so much for sharing, I so appreciate your honest words. Blessings to you and your family, Kasey

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  4. I have no clue at all about this situation. But from reading this, I do feel that it is a sad one. I don’t know what led to this young man’s violent outburst. However, his actions was definitely uncalled for. Violence against violence is not the answer, if that was the situation. There is a great falling away of this generation. Some parents are letting the world raise their kids instead of raising them themselves. It is sad. We must cry out to God for our youth. Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he want depart from it. We as parents need to stop letting society train our children. Violence is everywhere…on the television, video games, etc. There is a moral decay in society.

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    • Yes…I do agree violence against violence is not the answer. However, I do believe when someone is forced to endure abuse…day after day…without anyone intervening on one’s behalf it is possible to snap. I do not condone what this young man did…I just have compassion for his plight…he will be held accountable for his actions, but if bullying was involved in this situation will the bullies be held accountable for their actions…I don’t think so. I also agree with you that we as Christians are to Train up our children…and prayer for our children needs to be our first line of defense against the evil one who is behind all this violence and broken people . Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Blessings and grace to you, Kasey

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  5. Kasey thank you so much for sharing this thought provoking post at Good Morning Mondays. Bullying seems to be such a big issue and situations like the one you talk about just shouldn’t happen, where have we gone wrong??? I was the fat kid at school and bullied because of it, but they didn’t call it that then, it was just teasing. I remember going home almost daily in tears wanting my mum to do something. It was brushed over, they just didn’t understand. It was hard to not have any real friends at school and to always want to be part of a group that just kept you on the outer fringe. Words can really hurt and scar and I just can’t imagine what it would be like to be physically abused at school, to be pushed to the point of suicide. Let’s wake up now!! Thank you so much for this, may God bless you.

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    • Amen! Over and over I hear stories of people who have experienced abuse at the hands of bullies…and yet I never hear stories where bullies have been held accountable for their actions. I really don’t think people have any idea what to do about bullying…no one seems to want to get involved. It is my hope that if we begin to stop being silent, eventually bullies will be held accountable for their actions. So sorry you had to endure this abuse…it saddens me to hear how cruel people can be. We must pray for God’s peace and protection for our children. Have a blessed week. Grace and peace, Kasey

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  6. Such a heartbreaking story! Our words do MATTER! I teach Confirmation and a parent recently called and asked if I would speak to my Confirmation class about how we use our words etc. So tonight’s lesson will talk about “bearing false witness against our neighbors” and how that is not ok. I don’t think they realize how hurtful their words can be even if that was not their intention at all. Blessed to be your neighbor at Coffee for your Heart!

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    • Tara, You are so right…words are powerful! They have the ability to build up or tear down. We need to teach our children both empathy and respect for others…without both how will we ever live like Christ? So glad you dropped by. Blessings, Kasey

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  7. Wow, thank you for sharing what you have found. Things need to change, and articles like this are the beginning of the change.

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  8. I was bullied as a kid. It doesn’t excuse what I did, but eventually I snapped too. My bullies mentally and physically tormented me until finally I hit one of them before they could hit me. So many times the teachers brushed it off saying it was “just teasing,” but teasing doesn’t include breaking a wrist. Even the police at the time brushed it off. Something must be done!

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    • Stacey, I’m so sorry you had to endure bullying! I do not understand why those who are supposed to be keeping people safe seem to turn their heads and allow abuse. I plan to write further on this topic, and I hope to write a post asking why those who are supposed to be protecting children refuse to do so. I think the only way we are going to stop this from happening to the next generation is to stop being silent and make people aware of how damaging it is to the person being bullied. People are going to have to be willing to take a stand and stop pushing bullying under the rug if we want to see it stop. Thank you for sharing so openly about how you were bullied. Have a blessed week. Grace and peace, Kasey

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  9. Heartbreaking. Oh to have the power to change the lives of our children and young people. Only One can do that, but we can share the story of His love. Have you read “The Wounded Spirit” by Frank Peretti? Every teacher and parent should read it. We as adults need to be more diligent and aware of bullying. Thank you for spreading the awareness.

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    • I have not read Frank’s book (I will be sure to get a copy and read it…I want to learn all I can to combat bullying), however I did hear Frank share his story on Focus On The Family…so very sad! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. Grace and peace, Kasey

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  10. I recently saw a quote that said something to the effect: “If we see an injustice to someone and we don’t speak up we are taking the side of the abuser” That really hit home with me. bullying is getting out of hand and social media isn’t helping. I hope we can stop the trend. Thanks for linking up #BigTopBlogParty

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    • Yes…bullying is getting out of hand and yes, social media isn’t helping. I’m hoping if parents start to speak out against this horrible problem then perhaps, people will start to take action. Thank for hosting. Grace and peace, Kasey

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  11. Second post in a row I have read about bullying– I don’t think it is any coincidence. Such a sad experience (I have been there too– not of course to this extreme, but still hurt my heart) and I so appreciate you sharing this truth, Kasey. Thank you.

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    • Sharita, Sorry to hear you too have been a victim of bullying. I believe it would be very hard to find an adult who has not been apart of bullying in some fashion…victim, bully, or bystander. I hope people begin to take action and put a stop to bullying. Blessings, Kasey

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