Via Larry Brown Sports:
A 12-year-old boy named Bailey O’Neill died at a hospital in Delaware on Sunday, one day after his birthday. O’Neill had been in a coma after suffering several seizures which stemmed from a bullying incident at school. His family says he was jumped by two classmates during recess at Darby Township School back in January and left with a concussion and a broken nose.
On Sunday afternoon, Ray Rice (or one of his publicists) took to Facebook to speak out against bullying on behalf of the O’Neill family.
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.
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.
The students who beat O’Neill have been suspended for two days, but it’s unclear if they are going to be criminally charged. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said investigators are in the process of determining whether or not the injuries Bailey suffered during the bullying incident are what caused his seizures. Rice urged parents and teachers to treat bullying as an illness and give it more attention.
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.
If you remember, Rice wrote a similar post on Facebook after a shooting that took place at a school in Baltimore last year. Picking on someone is one thing. Kids will always be kids, but the fact that an 11-year-old was beaten so badly it cost him his life leaves a sick feeling in my stomach. You can argue that the children who bullied O’Neill are too young to know any better, and that’s certainly a valid point. That being said, O’Neill was murdered. Something needs to be done to let these children and others around the world know that there is nothing okay about that.