I just read your Coal Valley News article online about Christopher Nelson’s death and the bullying.
I am a 2001 Sherman High graduate and I experienced the same thing while there.
The school seems to have a track record of allowing this to happen. I too was considered an “outsider” and was put through what I would call extreme hell.
This seems to be a trend at Sherman and I am surprised that this is the first time it has led to this. I almost considered suicide myself.
I was there between 1998 and 1999 when the Columbine incident occurred and this gave them ripe ammunition against me.
Students started a vicious rumor that I was like the boys who committed the tragedy at Columbine and said I had a hit list etc. and even told their parents this and it caused a panic at the school and I was the target. The cops came and searched me personally and my locker without my parent(s) and without the school councilor.
I was even told by the cops and the Vice Principle then that I brought it on myself for not conforming and “string the s—t”. I will never forget those words.
By request of a therapist, I was removed from school for a week for my personal mental well being.
Even after that incident the harassment continued and most of the faculty did nothing to stop it. Very few stood up for me.
I was even in a school play and a student in the audience yelled out “hes got a bomb” when I took the stage and nothing was done. We tried to file a complaint with the BOE but were ignored.
I witnessed this happening to others as well over the years and I am told from others I know it was the same before me and apparently is the case today.
Sherman seems to have a track record of persecuting those who they do not see as “normal”.
Reading your article about Christopher brought this all back to me. And for a short time I too thought about taking my own life because of the harassment.
I found the strength to overcome and pushed through to my graduation but the memories of what they put me through are still with me and always will be.
There are even those today who try to bully me and even bring up what I went through those days and use it against me but I still refuse to waver. I understand Christopher and his friends and my message to them is to stay strong. Don’t ever change who you are and don’t let them try to change you. Don’t let them make you a victim, but become a fighter instead. If the other students are making things hard for you I hope there are still some faculty you can turn to who care like there were for me, though however few. You must stand tall and proud of yourselves and strive to be better than those who treat you poorly. Try to focus on your graduation day. That’s what I did.
Get that diploma in your hand and make life yours. As long as you are true to yourself, no one can never have true power over you.
There is nothing wrong with you.
They may think you are an “outcast” but there are many many more out there like you and are with you. It is my experience that it is the so called “outcasts” who seem to go on to do great things in their lives. And to Christopher’s family, my deepest sympathies go out to you as someone who had felt what he did.
You too must stay strong too and fight for justice for him so that those who may have caused his pain can be held responsible.