John Gomez Bullying

May 4 was Anti-Bullying Day. As a law firm, we are deeply committed to the fight to end bullying altogether. On May 4, we showed our support for victims of bullying and raised awareness by wearing our own custom-made “Bullying Stops Now” t-shirts. That text is made up of empowering and inspirational quotes. Our team members spread the message as did our family members and children. Two of the daughters of one of our attorneys proudly wore their shirts and even led a discussion of bullying at their school. As part of our commitment to helping “at risk” kids and preventing bullying, we sponsor a free youth boxing program at the Community Youth Athletic Center. Those kids also wore our shirts. We believe every time a person wears one of those shirts, it will promote conversation or at least reflection.

Let’s work together to ensure that “Bullying Stops Now.”

Anti-Bullying Day was instituted to prevent further bullying. The United States Department of Justice showed that one out of four kids will be bullied during their adolescence. More than 150,000 kids miss school every day out of fear of being bullied. Most of the time it continues after the first incident; statistics show that 71 percent of students that are bullied, keep being bullied making it a problem with no end. According to the Yale School of Medicine, a study in 2010 discovered a connection between being bullied and suicide. The term to describe this is “Bullycide” where someone who is bullied commits suicide as a result. Suicide rates continue to grow among children and adolescents more than 50 percent in the last 30 years.

Bullying affects all kids. While historically it was the male bully, today female on female bullying has exploded. Kids can be bullied over boyfriends or girlfriends, because of race or ethnic value, because of gender or sexual identity, or for no real reason at all. Cyber bullying, of course, has also rampantly increased. Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. By definition, it occurs among young people. When an adult is involved, it may meet the definition of cyber-harassment or cyberstalking, a crime that can have legal consequences and involve jail time

Because many kids are reluctant to report being bullied, even to their parents, it’s impossible to know just how many are affected. But recent studies about cyberbullying rates have found that about 1 in 4 teens have been the victims of cyberbullying, and about 1 in 6 admit to having cyberbullied someone. In some studies, more than half of the teens surveyed said that they’ve experienced abuse through social and digital media.

This year I launched our “Children’s Rights” practice. Through this dedicated practice we represent kids that have suffered harm because of bullying, sexual or other abuse, or preventable injury while under the care and supervision of adults. A big part of that decision was my commitment to do whatever I can do through my law firm to prevent bullying. We see time and again that schools and other responsible adults do too little or too late – or nothing at all – to prevent bullying from continuing or occurring at all. The current state of the law does little to encourage schools and responsible adults to step in and do their jobs, and does even less to hold bullies themselves accountable.

As a law firm, we first work to hold those responsible for bullying accountable through litigation. Our lawsuits against individuals, school districts and bullies will deter bullying in the future and raise awareness in every single case we litigate. We empower the victims of bullying we represent by standing up for them. We work with community partners and elected officials to change laws and raise awareness. On a grass roots level and every day, our law firm community and each of our family members, children and friends knows exactly where we stand on this important issue. Stand with us. Let’s work together to ensure that “Bullying Stops Now.”