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I’d like to introduce myself to you, my name is Jonathan Bertrand. I’m contacting you because I believe you can help me with my mission. It saddens me to live in such a cruel and uncaring World. I am a 17yr old man who attends Maynard Evans High School in Orlando, Fl. I have been a victim of severe bullying and even cyber bullying for some time. My attire and style 

was the main focal point of this bullying. I am different and I believe all people are created the same. I have grown thick skin because of what I had to endure in my life. All of this started when I was in grade school, then it progressed. For years, I was scared to even leave the class room fearing that someone would harm me. My anger started to grow inside myself. I am a very “happy-go-lucky” type of person, always trying to keep the “the glass is half full” attitude. This attitude has been pushed to the way side because that person who was so positive, turned into a very emotional distraught, low self esteem and depressed person. I managed to keep my sanity because I started to separate myself from others….from the World. 

Like I said earlier, I’m only 17yrs old. I have lived with so many incidences of bullying, but I’m still standing. The school districts can only enforce what’s in their guidelines, their rules and regulations. It was my eight grade year and a student ran my head into a brick wall. The student was punished but was allowed to complete his punishment on campus. My freshman year of high school was even worse. I was put into a locker from the football players because “I talked white”. I have several examples of bullying but I think you get the point. Most of the school administration would turn their head until they where forced to do something. The reason for this is when it continued to happen; it was more out in the open. People started realizing that I was being tormented on a daily basis. Administration finally issued a “No Contact Policy” arrangement with me. It’s a double standard because the students who would assault me would tell their friends. Then their friends would take up where the assaulters left off. Needless to say, this policy or arrangement didn’t work at all. I expressed my concerns to (the School Administration; My Principal) who would turn their head and look the other way. I contacted the Superintendent of schools to help me. I was told that I may even be treated worse because of this, but I saw it as my last resort. Things managed to get a little better but Administration and my Principal alienated me. I was alone but it was better than being picked on anymore. I am an African American student; I hold my head up high as I should. Some students of other races have been treated with more respect, with more attention. Regardless of my ethnic origin, ALL students should be treated fairly and be able to gain an education without living in fear.

Everyone has a breaking point and I had reached mine. I understand why some students turn to drugs; skip class, suicide and other negative avenues. My grandparents & parents have been my rock, they have saved me. I made it through because I had a great support system. I was never able to talk about this to them because I was ashamed. I never took matters into my own hands because I will not tarnish my good name or ever embarrass my family. Some teens DON’T have a “rock” or a support system. They feel lost; they feel like there’s no one to turn to. These people, these loving beings are the ones you read about in the papers….the statistics. It’s a different era now and people go to extremes. Instead of fighting it out and calling it a day after you win or lose. People involve guns, kill and do even more insane acts. I’m not a fighter anyway, I would certainly lose. An older friend of mine had to fight all throughout his middle school years. He was 1 out of 3 American Indians out of his entire school. He was picked on every day until he was forced to fight. He told me it was easier back then. I asked him why and he stated that when the fight was over, everything was over. He may have had black eyes, busted lips, broken teeth but the abuse stopped and that was fine with him. I am fighting this battle using my brain and I know you can help me. Mothers driving their children to fights, jumping on school buses, airing differences on Facebook or Twitter makes things even more difficult. Adults acting like children, it’s a sad state of affairs in which we live. Cyber bullying just escalates matters and this is why LAWS governing Bullying must change. I write scripts in hopes of writing a movie addressing the social prejudices of students in our school systems. I’d like to start awareness programs in schools to address these issues. If people can love each other in school, it will certainly change people’s lives outside of school.
It saddens me to know people are killing themselves because the pain is too severe to deal with. Martin Luther King once said he had a dream, well so do I. Florida has implemented some laws regarding Bullying and other forms of Harassment, UNFORTUNATELY, these laws are not being enforced. I have attached a copy of the Florida Statute regarding this topic. What are the consequences? There are no fines implemented. This is another example of a law that looks GREAT on paper but does absolutely nothing. Help me change these laws; help me get legislature to implement harsh penalties for these crimes. Yes, I call them crimes because that’s exactly what they are. If the police were called on you at your home, they would call this Aggravated Assault OR Battery. Fortunately these crimes are not at someone’s home but for 3-4 yrs out of a child’s life, it is… What would you do if this was affecting your son or daughter? What if they committed suicide because of depression or feeling inferior? In the grand scheme of things we are ALL brothers and sisters. I LOVE THEM ALL regardless of what they look like, who they are or their ethnic background. If I sent this letter to you, it’s because you were the most influential person I know. It’s not a question of if you can help me, it’s a question of will you help me? You have my attention, HOW DO I GET YOURS? Please feel free to contact me via email.
These great minds that are being tormented here are the minds of potential leaders. Help me be the leader I need to be to save lives. This is a picture of me, I depend on you, my brothers and sisters do as well. I will not live in fear. I will do whatever I have to do to save lives. If you want to interview me, please do. These LAWS NEED TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN ALL STATES, NOT JUST FLORIDA. Felicia Garcia, 15 of Staten Island….I’m sorry you threw yourself in front of a train. I wish I would have done this earlier; maybe I could have saved your life. Rest In Peace.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying
10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above
According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying.

Jonathan Bertrand
Orlando, FL


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