Rampant Bullying Problem? Share Your Story

In the wake of David Hernandez Barros' death, bullying brought to the forefront in East Hampton.

Bullying is on the forefront of everyone's minds after David Hernandez Barros, a junior at East Hampton High School, died on Sept. 29. 

In a story in The East Hampton Star on Thursday, Carmita Barros confirmed rumors that her son was bullied by other students because of his sexual orientation. She claims school administrators did not do enough to stop it.

The school has not issued a response. 

What is your response? We know bullying happens in high schools across the country, but do you feel it's a rampant problem at schools in the Town of East Hampton? If you have a story you'd like to share — you may do so below or email the author.

The Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth network announced Tuesday that it will host a meeting at East Hampton High School on Oct. 22 at 6 p.m.

David Kilmnick, the chief executive officer of the network, said that nationally 90-percent of gay teens feel bullied to some degree. Gay teens are also three times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers, he said.

But he said East Hampton School District has been amongst the most proactive district, holding sensitivity workshops, and forming Gay Straight Alliances in both the high school and middle school.

What can we as a community do about bullying? Tell us in the comments below.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also visit The Trevor Project's website, a national organization providing support to LGBT youth, or call them at 1-866-488-7386. And if you're worried about a friend on Facebook, you can report troubling posts. They'll connect your friend with a representative from National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


ViralGrain October 13, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Do you have any scientific proof that anti bully campaigns and rallys and assemblies are but all completely ineffectual? I don't think so. Those of you who want to use this blog as some sort of group counseling session or political platform should not be so selfish to do so. Taking a proactive stance and using this space to brain storm workable solutions to be applied would be great. I don't care how long you were a teacher or what some of you know, don't know, or think you know. If your not willing to apply your self and just want to vent your jibba jabba go to the bar or A/A or where ever you go to ramble on. Some of you are missing the bigger picture. Its not just about bullies, or screwed up family life, systems, schools, teachers or coaches that fail or the fact that a young man is dead rite now. The issue of a kid taking his life is a clear indication of low morale in the school, in the community and all around! Kids and adults not feeling good about things in general. The world is always in a state of conflict. Its been screwed up since Adam and Eve. The fact that allot of the core values, beliefs and principles that we may have took for granted when we were in school are non-existant now. Our foundation that made us strong as a community and as a country that excelled us very quickly from colonies to #1 in inovation and in leading the world are gone. Motivate these kids to have a positive attitude, to live with integrity. Life is about having fun. The love for living.
Kathleen & Mike October 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM
I, for one, if anyone cares, am tired of this political rant. (If this was a political forum, I'd say I VOTE FOR GAIL SIMONS...SHE'S GOT GOOD COMMON SENSE!) Bullying by children from the beginning of school years to the end is NOT Washington's problem...it is OURS. Our young people need to know that they are safe,loved and protected at home, in the community,in school. The issue is NOT bullying outside of school. The question presented in this article was if bullying in school is a problem. The answer,from my experience, is YES. Having a motivation speaker,depending upon who it is, what they say, and whose ears the message is falling on, could make all the difference in the world. No one will know until they come in and spread their word. If ONE student is touched and changed, or ONE life was saved, it wouldn't be a total failure. It would mean ONE less bully. Children at home should be talked with and taught the right way to treat others,no doubt about it. But kids often leave much of their training at home and their parents wouldn't recognize the behaviors outside the home as coming from their kids. What I'm saying in a nutshell is, the schools need to support the parents in their efforts to raise decent,caring human beings. Let's stop attacking and join together to save our kids, or we're no better than those we are accusing as bullies or those adults who do nothing.
laszlo Lowenstein October 13, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I am going to make a controversial suggestion but follow me here: the GL kids need to get tough. Train them in martial arts and confidence building. If they get bullied, FIGHT BACK. HARD. Bullies stop when the victim fights back. The dynamic changes. Take a cue from Israel. After WWII did the Jews sit around trying to sing Kumbaya with their enemies. No. They formed the Mossad and kicked some tail.
Kevin Reynolds October 13, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I would like to congratulate Mr. Lowenstein for having the carriage of making a controversial suggestion. That sometimes helps lead to the answer. I believe that he maybe in the right Church but the wrong pew. Instead of children learning how to physically fightback, they need to Strike Back in a monviolent manner. I think the problem partly lies with the children that are bullied, choosing resignation over empowerment and too many children today are choosing resignation, hopelessness and "there's nothing I can do". Part of this reason I feel, is the lack of help from us. As parents, we all experienced bullying or being bullied as children when were in school but the results were not as extreme as they are today. I like to say that " I love the abuser and the abused for I am (was) both". I feel we need to better understand why children are going to extremes as a result of bullying. I pray that we come together as a community and create a Strike (Back) Force (nonviolent, of course) of teachers, parents, students, professionals and find a means to bring peace to this issue. Let it start with me. I commit to attending meetings on the issue. Kevin
Kevin Reynolds October 13, 2012 at 04:31 PM
For those that are not aware of it, sending a message in capital letters is considered shouting. And as we all know, shouting is a form of bullying. Peace, Kevin
ViralGrain October 13, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I think verbal judo would be more appropriate. Your rite about how bullies do stop when a victim fights back. But there are more then one way to fight back and physical violence does have severe consequences. Especially in our culture today. Violence justified or not is seriously frowned upon. Its not going to help any of these kids get into college, maintain a job or succeed in life by learning to use physical violence to settle their differences. Take a cue from Israel. Their neighbors hate them. In many ways they went from the one being bullied to being a bully. The same way a child who is abused by a parent grows up one day abuses their own child. Teaching a kid to resort to violence is depriving them of being able to problem sove by thinking. There is always someone bigger and badder and then there is luck. So what happens when the kid gets hurt or is about to get jumped? Violence creates more violence and court dates. Verbal Judo classes I think would be an effective measure to help teach young adults to defend their selves in a effective and more positive manner that will last a life time. Mossad LOL! This is not post WWII. We do have some civilized order here at least for now.
ViralGrain October 13, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Verbal judo is extremely effective and I think would be a very valuable class to be taught in the schools. We have plenty of classes that tech history, language, science etc.. But in a world full of conflict through out history on every stage life has to offer, is there one class that offers knowledge and tactics on dealing with conflict in a healthy and effective manner? Shouldn't our children be prepared to deal with conflict in a healthy and effective manner? Vebal Judo saves lives. It can prevent someone from being bullied and prevent a bully from bulling. Collaborating this kind of class along with things to boost the morale of the students such as inspirational speakers would be a positive step in a good direction. Or we can just continue to do nothing, collect a paycheck, and say what a shame when things go so wrong. Things will surly continue to go wrong sometimes. But at least if we do something such as mandating a class like this for our students, and bring in motivational speakers to boost student moral, at least we can say we tried. At least the students will see we tried and know we care not because we say we do but because our actions show we do. For those who do not know what Verbal Jujitsu is or what a class would be like I erge you to watch and really listen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btBw70HAys4&feature=related
Ehtownlocal October 14, 2012 at 01:23 AM
As a parents of a EHHS student, here is a bit of some insight of what's really going on..my child knew David and it seemed like he was not as much bullied as everyone is trying to put blame on, but it was a little more in depth. David family brought him to EH not to long ago from another country (as well as a different culture). He seemed depressed and very closed off in recent days. He had many friend back in his home town as well as family who were very loving and open to his sexual preference...As days went by weather it was in school, home or even at church people seemed to tell him that its a sin not to love the same sex..as a parent who has a child who is exploring with day to day teenage problems knows many who are either guy Stright or bi sexual, but yet keeps an open path as well as my family not to judge. So what would Mitt Romney say to a family who's child just killed himself because he was guy..we as adults not government officials should be a bit more open and loving and teach our young ones from an early age color, race, political thought or sexual preference does not matter..it's the person who really counts
Kathleen & Mike October 14, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Margaritta...we GET it. Now,will you PLEASE stop ranting,shouting,attacking and using your vile vocabulary and continue this discussion in a manner showing consideration of others, and a use of words more appropriate to a person who has,as you have reminded us five or six times,'taught school for 34 years." All I can say is,I'm glad my kids didn't sit under your teaching and example.
Blue Heron October 14, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Here's a little interesting insight: My son, as mentioned by David Buda, is president of the GSA in East Hampton High School. He's just been a finalist for a national award as GLSEN's (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) Student Advocate of the Year, out of 500 nominations. It was picked up by Newsday but I have yet to have a single phone call or email from any of the local reporters. Go figure.
Ehtownlocal October 14, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Congrats!! GSA helped my child. You are an amazing parent and has raised an amazing child!
Blue Heron October 14, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Taylor has just contacted me, and a story will appear on Patch soon. Way to go, Taylor!
Kathleen & Mike October 14, 2012 at 08:18 PM
We all KNOW of David's tragedy.If you will scroll back to the article,& then to an earlier post by me,you will see what this thread was originally posted for. It was/is not for political opinions,nor for cursing (nor is appropriate in any other place in Taylor's publication). It's not about sin/non sin issues, not even specifically about David. Specifically,it is/was to find out our stories about bullying.Most of us are sticking to that subject.Others have not...and my sincere concern is the issue of bullying. You have clearly indicated YOUR issues, which ,truthfully, deserve the least of my attention, so,don't flatter yourself.
ViralGrain October 15, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Maybe I should take some of my own advise on verbal judo but I cant rite now. Perhaps I am a little to lazy rite now or perhaps some of you are just a little to pathetic. How dare you turn this into a forum to boost your own political forum, your kid's gayness or anything other then to a reconciliation as to why a young man is dead rite now and how to prevent something like this from happening again. You have turned what could of been into a mockery. Learn to shut up.
Andrea Schulz October 15, 2012 at 05:31 AM
People process the stages of grief at different paces depending on many personal reasons. The stages of grief are DABDA Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. All stages are crucial to experience fully and all stages take varying amounts of time for different people to get through. Viralgrain needs our support and validation right now. David's family needs our support and validation that a life has been lost and cannot be replaced. We need to take the time and acknowledge the loss of this particular, irreplaceable, individual life. I would like to hear from friends and family ideas on how best to honor David.
Ralebird October 15, 2012 at 05:36 AM
"Just shut up"? That's a sure way to foster understanding.
laszlo Lowenstein October 15, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Self defense is self defense. This isn't about getting into college it's about gaining respect from your peers. If a kid throws your books on the floor and you simply wince and pick them up it is an invitation for that bully to do it again. And again. If the same kid dumps your books, you pick up the heaviest one and strike the kid across the face with it, what do you think will happen? He or she will slink away because bullies are cowards. Every kid who sees this happen will text their version of the event to their friends and you can bet it's not going to happen again. I know, you are thinking that this will just escalate. If it does, you will be prepared and you will have friends to back you up. The bully stands alone.
Melpo October 15, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Mr Lowenstein, I had brothers who travelled from upper manhattan on the subway & who attended Stuyvesant high school...The subway can be a very unfriedly & bullies travel in packs & in gangs...They never once got into a fight ....I am not saying to stand there & take it but this sort of advice is not good...it breeds violence...bullies gather people together from other areas to drive out here & point out victims to attack..are you aware of Lily Pond? Well, it is a place where youngsters go ( no booze allowed ) and dance in East Hampton..youngsters have settled bullying disputes there & have been sent to the hospital & one youngster was killed there a few years ago...So, you must have this hidden need to prove something via using forceful strength & hitting with text books...my goodness...please get some help...
Melpo October 15, 2012 at 07:31 PM
BTW, I read many of the posts here extensively & I agree with many people but making a threat to destroy someone's computer is clearly a threat...It is bullying & should be reported...I know in NYC, they can locate who the individual is making inappropriate threats..Cursing is not a threat & was used here twice to describe at a moments worth of anger...it was not menacing...menacing remarks need to be looked into...Saying shut up is just infantile & reflects someone who just cannot handle nor contribute to intelligent discourse....But, that too has undertones of bullying...so, i do not know how this town expects its youth to behave when folks are making menacing & threatening remarks on this forum to people who are just sharing & explaining extensively how to tap resources to install preventative services...
laszlo Lowenstein October 16, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Melpo, I like your subway story but we are not talking about NYC and enclosed spaces full of strangers. We are talking about a school environment in EH. Here are some simple rules of engagement for stopping bullying without getting the "grown ups" involved: 1. If attacked, strike back quickly and twice as hard. The element of surprise is critical. Trust me, most bullies will stop after a single surprise attack in self defense. 2. Never, ever agree to meet for a fight (as Melpo mentioned above). It is critical for you to set the terms. If a bully wants to set up a time, tell him you are not interested (see "element of surprise" under #1) 3. Work in groups. Don't allow yourself to be caught alone against a gang of bullies. If you are, take these steps: a. Pick out the leader and strike him first and strike hard. If the others see weakness in the leader they will back down. b. If that fails, run like heck Before taking these steps on, kids will need basic self defense skills to build confidence. Bullies aren't interested in a chat or "working things out." They need to bully to prop up their self esteem. They respect strength (because they are weak) and you must show it to them or you will always be bullied.
Melpo October 16, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Mr Lowenstein, those are the rules set forth by all the gangs of LA, NY, Chicago etc....many of these gangs go back many many years & what you are describing is Introduction to Gang Warfare, 101....Please go & see West Side Story if you haven't seen it...they too spelled out all the rules in Hells Kitchen in the 1950s & 1960s.. Now, middle class youngsters put on white outfits & their parents take them into Martial Arts Classes to learn the rules of the street with gentrification...Same thing different outfits & in fancy studios.....it doesn't matter where you are... in Rural America, Gentrified America, Paris, Hong Kong, LA, Chicago, NYC, Athens, Venice, Rome, Amsterdam, London etc ...the rules of Bully Fighting are the same & do you know how many murders & deaths go unreported in suffolk county alone? You are quite an angry individual...you remind me of the Preppy College Boys or Out Of Towners who come to NYU or Columbia as College Freshman & their parents tell them to carry a knife just in case...They do & look into the reports of stabbings at Cornell Medical Center & NYU Medical Center Emergency room at any given weekend night..College boys from out of town playing macho men who had their weapons turned on them....You & i are not on the same page...You have a lot of aggression issues that need to be worked out or perhaps fear issues..Anyway, I am not a professional ....But, in your scenario, someone gets hurt, stabbed, shot or killed...no one wins....
Melpo October 16, 2012 at 07:26 AM
I have just been informed that someone on this thread followed through on a threat & hacked into someone's computer.....this is bullying behavior...it is going to be investigated fro what i heard ....What a shame....
Melpo October 16, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Yes, it is true...someone's computer was hacked ...It was just confirmed & an investigation has begun....What a terrible thing to happen to someone ....Well, it will take some time to gather evidence but these investigations are discreet but accurate... very sorry to hear you were hacked ....Such a shame...
Melpo October 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Two members on this thread are going to be looked into for Making Threatening comments & possibly hacking into someone's computer ..I have received info from a friend that an investigation is going to be requested...My goodness, what has happened to people?.
Melpo October 16, 2012 at 01:42 PM
It is a bad thing when someone threatens to hurt someone's computer ...It is sad when hacking becomes an issue on a thread that is so sensitive & serious....what a shame that people have to seek the assistance of Law Enforcement & possibly the courts & detectives to find out who threatened them....what an awful thing to happen just because people were conversing & sharing lots of detailed thought....menacing threats are so wrong....People start seeking the help of authorities b cause they are concerned about personal safety...How terrible...Now, time & effort goes into locating the individual ....This is so non productive.....
laszlo Lowenstein October 16, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Wow, your ability to diverge from the subject is astounding. Who said anything about knives and guns? In what world is standing up for yourself a bad thing that demonstrates "aggression issues?" And yes, you are not a professional and have no idea what you are talking about. At least we can agree on that.
Catherine M. Casey October 16, 2012 at 08:02 PM
To answer the question, I can only compare my children's 8 years in EHHS to my own high school experience which was, admittedly, in the previous millenium and then some. I believe EHHS is sensitive to the issue and they are doing everything within their power and resources to address it. This is taken directly from a school communication to the school community: "Programming Update-School Culture and Climate: 1. LIGALY Program-Community Forum-October 22 2. Class Meetings-Ongoing 3. Consultation with National School Climate Center-October 17 4. Cyber-Bullying Program-Oct or November 2012 5. Suicide Prevention Program-January 2013 6. Challenge Day(s)-Spring 2013 7. Staff Development-currently working on program and training 8. GSA Meeting and Programs-Ongoing 9. Justice League-Ongoing" participated in Challenge Day as a parent and it was a very powerful experience, one I will never forget.
Melpo October 16, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree......
Dana Kalbacher October 16, 2012 at 08:26 PM
What's "happened" is that people sit behind their keyboards and become very brazen and rude behind closed doors. They wouldn't take that chance face to face..or would they? Anonymous postings and comments on websites all over the internet world promote bullying in many cases. JMO..
Catherine M. Casey October 16, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Ditto, Dana. A good test for integrity is: if you won't sign your name to it, perhaps you shouldn't share.


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