What were you doing when you were the tender age of fourteen? Maybe you were playing on your favourite games console, or perhaps you spent that summer enjoying time off from school with your friends. I wonder what you were looking forward to. I bet you couldn’t wait to leave school and start college, hoping to gain some sort of independence from your parents in the process. Whatever got you excited, you had the luxury of being able to look into the future and see positive things waiting for you. Ayden Olson never got the chance to do that. On 14th March 2013, the fourteen year old died. What caused this tragedy? Being bullied to death.
In the wake of this awful event, ‘Ayden’s Law’ was set up to campaign on behalf of the young people who are victims of bullying today. Organisations such as BeatBullying and The Sun have supported this, calling on David Cameron to take action and to prevent heartbreaks such as that of Ayden. Within this, the movement wants to create a law (Ayden’s Law) which would be an anti-bullying bill designed to wipe out bullying in schools across the UK.
However, the story of Ayden is one which is all too familiar. Recently I read an article describing how an 8-year-old girl had her hair pulled out by bullies. The damage caused to her scalp was awful, as part of it was ripped out and she had to shave her hair t reduce the chance of infection. Imagine that, an innocent child having those important years completely ruined by their peers. It’s concerning that children this young are both being subjected to bullying and partaking in it, with their parents not noticing any changes in their behaviour or brushing it off as “playground banter”.
Have you ever been the victim of bullying? Half of those reading this will reply ‘yes’, as around 46% of young people say they have been the victim of bullying at school at some point in their life. It isn’t a surprise that with the increase in technology and social media platforms, 38% say they have been affected by cyber bullying. This is an alarming percentage of all young people in schools, especially since most instances of bullying go undetected. Not only does this hinder a child’s educational performance, it stunts their emotional and personal growth. Childhood is supposed to be a time to have fun and enjoy yourself, not to dread going into school every day. I will admit that I was a victim of bullying for about eight years. It was the worst period of my life, as I was constantly anxious and on edge. My self-esteem took a severe beating and it is only recently, at the age of twenty-three, that I feel completely comfortable in who I am and what I have achieved.
I am one of the lucky ones, as are you if you share my experiences. Some of us make it out the other side, however too many people resort to harming themselves and even taking their own lives. This needs to stop. It’s completely heart-breaking to think that something so precious can be removed from existence forever, all because of some cowardly people who feel insecure within themselves. This needs to stop and it needs to stop right now. Too many innocent lives have been wasted. Let’s not let Ayden’s death be in vain. If you do anything today, please please please sign the petition to get this extremely important bill passed.
The Ayden’s Law petition can be found here: http://www.aydenslaw.org/ and the campaign can be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #AydensLaw