July 26 – Dedicated to Tyler Long and his parents

My blog post tonight is to help bring attention to yet another event that is devastating a family who has already lost their son.  For those that don’t have access to my Twitter or Facebook,  this is here for you to read.   If you read this post and get angry, that is the right response.   In my opinion, this family should not be made to pay a school district this amount of $$ considering what as also said by a judge.   To Tina and David, you have the support of myself and all those that follow Amanda’s story (in good standing).

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Tina and David Long lost their son Tyler to bullying which occurred while he attended school.   This family has indeed suffered with their loss as has other parents with similar stories.  If you watched the movie ‘Bully’, directed by Lee Hirsch, you will see Tyler’s face smiling at those watching in the opening credits.

This past July, when I was in Las Vegas at the at a conference on bullying, Lee  was one of the keynotes.  He showed parts of this movie.  I wasn’t able to sit past the opening credits.  The room was full of professionals who worked with kids and parents who had kids.  I was sitting in that room relating to the movie for the wrong horrible reasons.  Even though I was sitting in the front row, I had to leave.  I found Lee sitting in the foyer making some notes.   I apologized for not being able to sit through his movie (although I had seen in 3 other times in different settings) and the rest of his keynote.  He understood as he had been through probably the similar emotional conversations with the Long’s and the Smalley’s from the movie.

So now as we read the articles that are flowing through the news feeds, we see this.  Parents owe $30,000 to school over lawsuit.  I am stunned.  Dismayed.  Agonized.  Horrified that this family has to go through this.

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You Tube Video (made by Kevin Epling) – For the Longs

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“Our son, Tyler Long, was a victim of peer abuse driven bullycide.  His story was told in the documentary ‘Bully’.  Our family sued the school and lost.  We also lost the appeal because Tyler didn’t “report” enough in his last few months.  It seems like reporting for the past 6 years prior to his death should have been enough.  A Judge ruled that the bullying in Murray County Schools ultimately caused Tyler to take his own life. See his words in the attached document.  Now, the Murray County School District is suing us for almost $10,000 because we fought for our child.   Please read attached release at the bottom.
We hope that you can help us get this message out.  Something positive MUST come from our son’s death.  Our family has suffered enough at the hands of this school system.  Please share with anyone and everyone.  This is devastating to our family.  What kind of people does this?
By raising this awareness, we pray that laws can be put in place to protect our children.  We are currently working with many schools to create a climate of love and acceptance free from bullying.”
Please visit our webpage
We ask for assistance.  We need YOUR help.
Respectfully,
David and Tina Long
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INFORMATION RELEASE BY DAVID AND TINA LONG FROM FILM ‘BULLY’

To:  All those that care about our children and their futures…

A parent’s role is to protect their children as best they can.  However, parents can’t always be there, and it is the responsibility of our schools to allow all children the opportunity to participate in an educational environment free from bullying, discrimination, and harassment.

Our son Tyler Long was bullied for many years in school and died from peer abuse driven bullycide on October 17, 2009.   Tyler was diagnosed with Autism.  His story was told in the award winning documentary film ‘Bully’.

Because the school would not share information with us about the environment that Tyler faced on a daily basis, we were forced to take legal action against the school.  We ultimately lost our court case at the federal level and our appeal even though the judges at each level were in agreement that:

“There is little question that Tyler was the victim of severe disability harassment, and that the Defendants should have done more to stop the harassment and prevent future incidents.”

Other comments from the federal level judge included:

“The Court finds that Plaintiffs’ evidence is sufficient for a jury to conclude that the harassment of Tyler was sufficiently severe and pervasive that it altered the condition of his education and created an abusive educational environment. First, the evidence shows that Tyler suffered harassment that went well beyond the bounds of “teasing and mere name-calling among school children.” Plaintiffs provide a wealth of evidence establishing that Tyler suffered from severe, nearly constant bullying. Students called Tyler names and pushed him in the hallways nearly “every day,” students harassed Tyler in his Spanish, English, math, and guitar class, and witnesses reported numerous incidents of students picking on Tyler in the bathroom and the cafeteria. In addition, there is evidence of numerous incidents of physical bullying.”

“Under those circumstances, the Court finds that the harassment was severe and pervasive.  Plaintiffs provide evidence that the years of harassment ultimately caused Tyler to commit suicide-necessarily barring Tyler from educational opportunities.”

The judges ruled that bullying caused Tyler to commit suicide but:

“The Court cannot find that Defendants’ response to students’ disability harassment of Tyler constitutes deliberate indifference. Although Plaintiffs establish that Defendants should have done more to address disability harassment, Plaintiffs fail to meet the high bar of deliberate indifference and demonstrate that Defendants’ response was clearly unreasonable.”

 The Murray County School District, Murray County, GA is now asking the appeals court to make us pay almost $10,000 just because we pursued our right to appeal.  They took our son and now they want to financially devastate us. 

We believe people need to know that we must do more to protect our children from bullying and other severe harassment in school.  We believe laws need to be updated to protect our children.  We believe schools need to be better equipped to proactively protect our children and maintain a safer learning environment for all children. Tyler’s school knew the bullying was occurring and knew their response efforts were not working. The lack of response and follow-up led to Tyler’s suicide.  We must help schools implement more effective procedures for intervention and response!

We must come together as human beings and demand better.  Now is the time to take a stand and make a change.  We believe more innovative solutions (such as the award-winning prevention platform calledTIPS – www.TIPSprevent.com) that have been proven in other schools and colleges must be implemented immediately to combat this epidemic.

Will you join us to do more and help ensure no other children or their families have to endure what we have experienced?  We must come together as a society to demand better.

We cannot continue with status quo approaches while children continue to take their own lives.  We vow that Tyler’s voice will never fall silent.

David and Tina Long from documentary film ‘Bully’

www.everythingstartswith1.org

www.facebook.com/everythingstartswith1

email:  info@everythingstartswith1.org

Attorney for David and Tina Long:

W. Winston Briggs Law Firm/Zimring Law Firm

404-522-1500

email: wbriggs@winstonbriggslaw.com

Laurie Webb Daniel | Holland & Knight

Partner

Document link:

http://www.tipsprevent.com/20130718-DavidandTinaLong.pdf

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About Carol Todd

Being the mother of Amanda Todd has lead me on this journey shortly after Amanda's death on October 10, 2012. Amanda's prolific You Tube video has been viewed over 33 million times. Through this video, there has been an increased awareness about cyberbullying, social media safety and mental health. www.amandatoddlegacy.org
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8 Responses to July 26 – Dedicated to Tyler Long and his parents

  1. Gemma says:

    Have shared on my Facebook page Stand Up And Say No.
    People need to hear about this.

    Like

  2. Gemma says:

    I remember reading about his story a couple of days ago, It is absolutely disgusting. The fact that a school, actually a person, has the guts to do that to a family who is already grieving, is not even human.
    It angers me to the point of where I cannot find any words to say, it sickens me.
    Tyler’s family is already grieving his death, they DO NOT need this kind of behaviour.
    Some people absolutely disgust me!

    Like

  3. Andria Drica says:

    Não acredito que uma escola possa dar um exemplo tão feio desses ..é como dar razão para as más pessoas que fizeram mal para a criança ..acredito que possa haver uma abertura na lei que proíba esta falta de respeito a qual a escola esta demonstrando não só contra os pais da vitima mas para com todos os pais que têm seus filhos na escola …A escola é responsável pela integridade de seus alunos e se todo o mal ocorreu enquanto ele estava na escola …acredito que a escola que deve pagar aos pais não o contrário ..Isto não é escola é uma enganação !!!

    Like

    • la Punisher says:

      Translation for Andria:
      I do not believe that a school can give you an example so ugly .. these is how to give reason for the bad people who have done harm to the child .. I think there may be a gap in the law that prohibits this lack of respect which the school is demonstrating not only against the parents of the victim but to all parents who have children in school … the school is responsible for the integrity of their students and all evil occurred while he was in school … I believe that the school should pay for parents not the other way .. This school is not a crock!!

      Like

  4. Hamsi says:

    How do people expect young people undergoing extreme distress to “report” on their situation? Their instinct would be to hide form the world. Is it not the duty of grown ups and those in authority to look for signs? The entire system seems clueless. And now they wnat to extract money from bereaved parents? I hope other parents in the school stand up and protest, at the very least.

    Like

  5. la Punisher says:

    Yes, this is truly a travesty, I really can’t find the words to express how I feel about all the crap that is going on between Gov’ts, justice system, schools,etc. All children are at risk, We some how need to make our voices louder, Sometimes this BS is just so discouraging, One step forward and ten steps back.

    Hugz 2U

    Like

  6. merle48 says:

    “What kind of people do this” they asked? Greedy, money hungry (people) who don’t care about anything else…unless of course the shoe was on the other foot! I am horrified! At the same time, I really shouldn’t be as this type of behavior happens a lot. The human aspect in all of this does not appear to be affected. This is truly a travesty which lacks any human compassion!

    Like

  7. H.I.D. says:

    I think I feel my Blood Boiling Over.
    I can’t Beleive it.
    Makes me feel sick. Those poor parents……. o.m.g.
    Also, I do have the dvd “BULLY” directed by Lee Hirsch,
    bought it last Feb, I have only watched the first 5 min
    or so, I wasn’t feeling well that day.

    Like

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