Wednesday, June 11, 2008


No one's listening to 13 year old Patrick Kohlmann. He's a victim of bullies in Long Island's West Islip School District. Time and time again, he and his parents have asked school officials to do something, but each time their cries were ignored.

Patrick and his parents tried to take the message to the school board, but again, they were greeted with deaf ears and blind eyes. Patrick wanted to show the school directors a 7-minute anti-bullying video he produced and then posted on Youtube, but the board decided it was too graphic. I watched it. It's not too graphic, compared to what kids watch on TV each day and quite frankly, it sends a powerful message to school administrators that it's time to wake up and smell the coffee.

I feel Patricks pain. When I was about his age, I too was bullied. Pushed down, books knocked out of your hands, slaps on the head, etc. I remember school officials telling my parents to just ignore the kids and it'll go away. It didn't. It didn't for Patrick, either. In his video, Patrick notes that in some cases, bullying results in death, either by suicide or as in the case of Columbine High school in Colorado, the deaths of many at the hands of gun toting bully victims.

In my case, I decided to fight the bully when he "called me out" one day. We met on the other side of hill behind the school after classes. My friends showed up for moral support and so did the bully's friends. We fought. He won. But, the kid walked away with a bloody nose and mouth and ever since that fight, he never picked on me again. We actually became friends. I'm not suggesting that fighting is right for everyone, but there would be no need to fight, or kill yourself or gun down the entire student population, if the administrators weren't looking the other way in the first place.

I'd like to help Patrick and his cause and you can too. Simply send the Youtube video link to your local school district. Let them see first hand how bullying affects the lives of so many young people. Do it for your kids. Do it for Patrick.

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