HERE FOR YOU: Bullying in ETX schools

Covering two recent ETX suicides linked to school bullying and ways to help change the cycle.

Bullying. It is not an easy topic to discuss, but it is an an important issue to address.

Its impact is a growing problem in East Texas and beyond.

According to Stomp Out Bullying, one out of four teens is bullied, and out of those students, at least eight percent stay home from school because they are afraid of being bullied.

The reality is...that's eight percent too many and the problem is hitting close to home. Two East Texas families share their stories after losing their sons. 

It is our hope that these lessons learned will save future lives.

DYLAN ALVARADO 

Dylan  is the second  teen in East Texas to commit suicide  in less than two weeks.

An East Texas family reached past their pain to help others just two days after 16-year-old Dylan Alvarado committed suicide due to bullying.

Alvarado was a student at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler. He died Monday, Sept. 18. and is the second teen in East Texas to commit suicide in less than two weeks.

Alvarado's mother, Kelly Ellis, is a nurse, a mother and the newest member of a growing group no one wants to be a part of.

Like so many nurses and mothers, she tried to be strong.

“I’m okay,” she said, as her eyes filled with tears. “Not really. To be honest, my heart’s in a million pieces. All the bullying at school has been affecting his emotional state.”

While he dealt with his own personal issues like depression and anxiety, she said the bullying became overwhelming.

“He never wanted me to report it because he felt like it would make it worse,” Ellis said.

Recently, Alvarado asked to be homeschooled.

“Then it just got to be too much,” Ellis said as her tears fell. “He decided to take his life away. We did everything we could for him.”

Ellis and her family have a message for others struggling like her son did.

“I want adolescents out there to know to know to reach out to their family and friends and church members and neighbors,” she said. “Don’t be scared to talk to somebody. Nothing in this world is worth taking your own life. If this will just help save one kid’s life, it would just melt my heart and help bring it back to become whole again."

Service will be held for Alvarado Saturday, Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. at Burks Walker and Tippit Funeral Home, located at 215 E Front St Tyler, TX 75702. There will be no viewing or visitation but a graveside service will follow.

The family asked that instead of flowers, donations be given to jasonfoundation.com in memory of Alvarado. The site is a resource for those experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress. If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, call the free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family to help with medical expenses and can be found by clicking here.

DALTON BIGHAM

Two weeks ago, 14-year old Dalton Bigham took his own life after being bullied by classmates at school.

His mother, Monica Bigham, said that she hopes other bullied teens will learn from his death.

"You're not alone. You don't have to do this alone," Bigham said.

After notifying the school of the bullying, she said that the school conducted an investigation but found nothing conclusive.

That's why she hopes more will be done in future to prevent another child from thinking suicide is the only way out of a situation.

"If the school doesn't know it's happening, they can't fix it," Bigham said.

In response to Dalton's suicide, the superintendent released a statement saying in part:

I can assure you that the faculty and staff go above and beyond to love and care for all students striving daily to prevent correct and intervene on any instances which may be harmful to a student. 

Bullard ISD released the following statement:

Bullard ISD Bullying Statement by KYTX CBS19 on Scribd

ADVICE

Dr. Richard Idell, MD, a child psychiatry expert from UT Health Northeast, joined CBS19 on Facebook on Sept. 20 to answer viewer questions on bullying.
 

Dr. Richard Idell, MD, a child psychiatry expert from UT Health Northeast, joined us on Facebook Live to answer viewer questions on bullying.


Dr. Richard Idell, MD, a child psychiatry expert from UT Health Northeast, joined us on Facebook Live to answer viewer questions on bullying.

DAVID'S LAW

Bullying is not just a problem in school, its happening online and there's a law that just went into effect Sept. 1 that addresses the issue.

David's Law is named after San Antonio teen, David Molak, who killed himself after months of bullying via social media.

The law requires school districts to include cyber bullying in their district bulling policies and to notify a child's parents if he or she is a victim or suspected of bullying.

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CBS19 is Here For You and will continue to tackle this growing issue. If you have been impacted by bullying and its effects and would like to share your story, we welcome your story.

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