TIME TO ACT: Bullying epidemic a matter of life and death
WHEN Dolly Everett took her own life at the start of this year, the country was outraged, heartbroken and demanded change.
The beautiful country girl with her whole life ahead of her was gone and bullying was blamed for her tragic demise.
We shared posts on Facebook, wore blue in solidarity and used social media to vent our anger, shame and despair.
We knew things had to change or it was just a matter of time before our hearts would again be shattered.
But now, nine months on, it seems as if this destructive behaviour has not been slowed or stopped, and is possibly at an all-time high.
In the same community where Dolly went to school and faced the adversity of bullying, we have this week been given the shocking reminder that the toxic and insidious problem of bullying has not softened.
By the hordes of concerned Warwick parents swamping social media in the past 48 hours to share their anguish and hopelessness, it's clear a real solution is needed, or at the very least, a real plan of attack.
Both Dolly's death and all that support we threw around after she died are both in vain if we don't affect change.
Our schools must act now. We, as parents, friends, caregivers, family members and decent human beings, must act now.
We need to stand and say this will not be tolerated.
One of the heart-wrenching things I have heard from parents over the past couple of days has been whether the bullying is at an "intolerable level".
There is no tolerable level.
Our children should not be forced to live with the sadness, anxiety and mental health issues that come from being targeted.
School should be a safe space where they are encouraged to develop into responsible and compassionate adults.
This isn't a state school problem, or a private school issue, and it isn't something any of us can ignore.
This is our children, our grandchildren, brothers, sisters, siblings, friends.
We all have a role to play in reducing the trauma it causes.
Faux outrage, compassion and internet problem solving are meaningless without a commitment to change.
Our children's happiness, mental health and lives depend on it.