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Ohio High School Shooter May Have Been a Victim of Bullying

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Sunday Mar 4, 2012
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The teen who opened fire at a high school in Chardon, Ohio, appears to have been a victim of bullying, Rolling Out and other sources are reporting.

Within the last few years bullying among teenagers has gotten the media’s attention countless times, especially involving LGBT youth. Many teens have turned to suicide in order to end the years of harassment, including Tennessee high school student Jacob Rogers. Although T.J. Lane’s case is dramatically different, people who knew him and local authorities say that he was bullied.

Lane, 17, has been accused of killing three students and wounding two others in a shooting that occurred at Chardon High School, which is 30 miles east of Cleveland, the Associated Press reported. Lane was a former student of Chardon High but was enrolled in an alternative school for trouble students. His lawyer has entered the juvenile equivalent of a guilty plea.

Lane used Twitter and Facebook to tell classmates he would bring a gun to school and that was tired being called "mainstream" from other students.

"His only company to confide in was the vermin in the street. He longed for only one thing, the world to bow at his feet. They too should feel his secret fear. The dismal drear. His pain had made him sincere," a Facebook post says, which was made the day before the shooting. "He was better than the rest, all those ones he detests, within their castles, so vain. Selfish and conceited. They couldn’t care less about the peasents they mistreated. The world is a sandbox for all the wretched sinners," the post continues. "They simply create what they want and make themselves the winners. But the true winner, he has nothing at all. Enduring the pain of waiting for that castle to fall. Through his good deeds, the rats and the fleas. He will have for what he pleads, through the eradication of disease. So, to the castle he proceeds, like an ominous breeze through the trees."

Studies from the American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry say that half of all children have experienced bullying while attending school and 10 percent of kids are bullied regularly.

"Bullying is a well-known adversity among school-age children. According to data, approximately 10 percent of US children and adolescents are the victims of frequent bullying by peers," the study says. "In the aftermath of being bullied, victims may develop a variety of psychological as well as somatic symptoms, some of which may persist into adulthood. Psychological symptoms may include social difficulties, internalizing symptoms, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and eating disorders (i.e., anorexia or bulimia nervosa)."

"Bullying behavior can be physical or verbal. Boys tend to use physical intimidation or threats, regardless of the gender of their victims. Bullying by girls is more often verbal, usually with another girl as the target. Bullying has even been reported in online chat rooms, through e-mail and on social networking sites," the study also says. "Children who are bullied experience real suffering that can interfere with their social and emotional development, as well as their school performance. Some victims of bullying have even attempted suicide rather than continue to endure such harassment and punishment."

Celebrities have helped spread awareness about teen bullying. Rolling Out points out that rappers 50 Cent and Waka Flocka Flame have joined anti-bullying organizations. A number of stars have participated in the "It Gets Better Project", which focuses on helping LGBT youth who have been bullied because of their sexual orientation. Celebrities such as, Justin Bieber, Chaz Bono, Ke$ha, Tim Gunn, Kathy Griffin and many more have made videos in hopes of helping harassed teens.

Lady Gaga has also participated in the campaign and has made it one of her missions to end teen bullying. The pop star recently visited Harvard University to launch her nonprofit "Born This Way Foundation," which will help empower kids in hopes of reducing bullying in schools, as reported here.

She told a New York Times columnist that, when she was in high school, she was a victim of bullying.

"I was called really horrible, profane names very loudly in front of huge crowds of people, and my schoolwork suffered at one point," she said. "I didn’t want to go to class. And I was a straight-A student, so there was a certain point in my high school years where I just couldn’t even focus on class because I was so embarrassed all the time. I was so ashamed of who I was."

Gaga also told the newspaper that the scars from bullying are still with her but she hopes the foundation will prevent teens from having the problems she faces.

"The Born This Way Foundation is not restitution or revenge for my experiences," Lady Gaga said. "I want to make that clear. This is: I am now a woman, I have a voice in the universe, and I want to do everything I can to become an expert in social justice and hope I can make a difference and mobilize young people to change the world."

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