There has been a lot of media attention the past few months about the tragic suicides of several gay teens as a result of gay bullying. So often these vulnerable teens do not find any support in their schools, churches, communities and even families, and see the ending of their lives as their only recourse.
With this senseless loss of lives being an American tragedy, entertainment leaders such as Chris Colfer of the TV show “Glee” and Ellen Degeneres, as well as many religious leaders from several mainstream denominations have spoken to our country to address this bullying. But what is often missing is our business leaders and political leaders addressing the impact this bullying has on our entire country at the macro level.
Certainly the main focus of this discussion has to be preserving the dignity of every human life. But what we can add to the discussion is the wider impact. Behind the several teens who have ended their lives, there are also thousands of other children who are bullied and as a result participate in destructive behavior. These can include dropping out of school, alcohol and drug abuse, and running away from home. This leads to the downward spiral of ceasing educational and vocational development. We then as a country foster a set of second-class citizens who have dropped out of society and are not encouraged to grow with their skills to become contributing members of our economy. This will eventually develop into a drain on our country’s social services and health programs.
I believe every political voice on both sides of the aisle as well as business, education and community leaders can all unite on this issue to not only save lives, but to also contribute positively to the growth and education of every citizen. To complete in the growing global economy, we need everyone in our country to contribute to their full capabilities. It is good for every person as well as our country for each person to pursue education and vocational development with passion, not having to fear bullying in these same places they attending for this education. Every leader needs to step up to strongly advocate for strong laws as well as in depth education to stop all bullying of all people.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis with 27 employees recently posted a video for the “It Gets Better” campaign that underscores how bullying can affect the work force. View her video on YouTube.