Baltimore Ravens QB Ray Rice could be spending his offseason basking in the warm glow of a Super Bowl victory, touring St. Tropez with hot models and popping bottles on a yacht. And who could blame him? That’s what makes what he’s actually doing this offseason that much more awesome. He’s taking his anti-bullying campaign to a new level after being inspired by a tragic case in Pennsylvania.
Bailey O’Neill, a 12 year old from a Philadelphia suburb, was beaten up by two classmates a few weeks ago. O’Neill had been in a medically induced coma until he died on Sunday. When Rice learned of the story from a fan, he decided to speak out on Bailey’s Facebook wall.
A few weeks ago i shared a link to an article that a fan sent to me. It was about an 11 year old boy named Bailey who had been bullied at school. In the latest incident, Bailey was beat up on the school playground. Hit in the face and pushed to the ground, Bailey began to have severe seizures which required him to be placed into a medically induced coma.
After learning last Thursday that doctors said Bailey had no longer had any brain activity, I reached out to the family and was able to spend about 45 minutes on the phone with them. I could hear their sadness, worry, frustration and grief. They would be faced with removing their son, cousin, nephew, and best friend from life support.
Bailey passed away this morning, one day after his 12th birthday.
I don’t think I will ever be able to understand why kids bully each other and how we are all sitting here after yet another “bully death” getting ready to go through this difficult task of picking up the pieces and the even more difficult task of forgiving so we can heal.
I don’t know if we will ever get to a point where bullying is actually considered a CRIME, rather than “kids being kids” or a “playground incident.”
I don’t know if the kid that did this to Bailey will be punished severely enough or if he will receive the help I know he truly needs. Bullying doesn’t happen for no reason…we have to figure out what the underlying cause it and treat it like the illness it is.
I don’t know when parents, teachers, elected officials and administrators will sit up and take notice…and ACT.
But, I DO KNOW THIS: I will NOT give up my fight. Everyday I will continue to fight AGAINST bullying and fight FOR kindness.
Bailey – my little buddy, I will not let you become just another bully statistic…you are my inspiration and one more angel that will help me continue the fight for kids everywhere. You are going to help me save lives. RIP my little friend.
Rice has been in contact with Bailey’s parents. He’s also pledged to help raise money for anti-bullying campaigns nationwide. Here’s a link to Rice’s ‘Links of Kindness’ anti-bullying donation page for more information.