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So very, very sad.

Looking back on my adolescence I find it hard to believe that every little thing was so important and so vital to my happiness. Whether it was waiting for a parcel that arrived a few days late, or a look from a friend that I misinterpreted. From walking into a room and thinking the reason they all stopped talking was because they were talking about me, to reading the cricket scorer's book and seeing that a really hard catch I made had been put down as a 'duck'. Life back then was lived superfast, and yet time also crawled by. And emotions! Emotions were off any kind of rational scale. Yet, luckily, I'm still here.

I think that the proliferation of the internet, mobile phones and social media has a lot to answer for. Now you can 'out' someone without having time to think it might be the wrong thing to do. If you're an angry adolescent with a mobile - and adolescents are angry a lot - you can fuck someone's life up forever in under 30 seconds - and with a picture, too.

We are who we are. I'm out if anyone asks, but I don't flaunt it. After all, it's nobodies business but my own. If I was an adolescent now, in 2011, would I be different? I honestly don't know. I think I might be. I might be in the gay soc at school - if my school now has a gay soc. Jamie was apparently open about his sexuality and the fact that that's even possible has to be a step forward in the right direction. That he was bullied is awful, but, sadly, pack mentality and bullying is inherent human nature.

I don't have any answers and I really wish I did.

RIP Jamie.


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I really think we've come a ways forward, societally. Individually, people are still people and will act like they do. I hear so many success stories of kids in school being themselves and other kids treating them like they're simply another variation on the theme. Then there are the schools and bullies we read about that are so heartbreaking. I really do think school administrators should be held more accountable. So many deny anything is wrong. As in the Larry King case. The pricipal kept claiming there wasn't anything more they could do. Which is a load of hogwash. Adults in responsible positions monitoring kids need more training, and possibly removal from their jobs if an attitude adjustment isn't forthcoming. But in today's economic climate where teachers are being given more and more to do that has nothing to do with teaching, where classroom aids are being cut along with the budget for essential classroom supplies, where libraries are being closed and another safe haven disappears, there are fewer eyes to watch what goes on on the playgrounds and in hallways and restrooms. Kids need supervision. Without it, bullying will thrive. Perhaps harsher penalties for the bullies would help. But if the people in charge don't see it as a problem, that'll never happen.C C

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Cole, I agree that society has come a long way in a short time. Unfortunately humans, as a species, haven't. We might think and talk and have the trappings of civilisation, but we're still animals in a very real sense and are manipulated by chemicals in our bodies over which we have no control.Then, at school, you have an unwritten honour code which says 'don't tell adults anything (and if you do you're ostracised).'The mix of the two can be lethal.

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