On February 10, 2022 a young boy died by suicide. He hung himself from his bunk bed the evening before using his favourite hoodie. He had been a victim of bullying at his middle school.
His name was Drayke Hardman and he was just 12 years old.
His story has since gone viral and for all the right reasons.
Drayke has sadly become part of a very devastating and excruciating statistic but to those who loved him deeply (and boy was he ever loved) he was way more than just a number.
How can we as a society grow from Drayke’s story? How can we as teachers and educators help change the narrative? How can we as parents and caregivers stop this from happening to another child? How can we all do better?
Bullying of any kind is NEVER okay. We need to teach children kindness and empathy and we need to teach them that our words matter, especially the hurtful ones.
I will not stop talking about suicide nor will I stop sharing the honest truths about suicide either.
Drayke’s story, along with millions of other desperate and frightened “Draykes” out there in the world need to be shared. They deserve it.
Our youth are struggling more than ever before. Suicide among our young people has become a Pandemic within the Pandemic and difficult and often painful conversations need to be had with our kids. Never should we assume that our kid would never be bullied. Never should we assume that our kid would never become a bully themselves and never, ever should we assume that our kid would never take their own life.
Listen to your children, ask questions, watch closely for any noticeable changes in their behaviour. Stop dismissing their unusual behaviours as just a “phase” or a “teen thing”. Let them know they are not alone.
Every child deserves to have their voice heard. Let Drayke’s story be the guiding light we so desperately need right now to help change the conversation. We need to do better. Our kids deserve better.
**This coming Wednesday just so happens to be the 15th Annual “Pink Shirt Day”. Let’s all make a promise to wear pink on Wednesday and stand united against bullying** RIP sweet Angel.
Kids Help Phone: 1.800.668.6868 or Text: 686868
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