Baumhower: The Anonymous Bullying Continues #StandUpForKayla

Written by: Jeremy Baumhower

It has been a week since the world lost Kayla.

It only took 5 days before the anonymous bullying started again.  Thank God this time it was directed at me, I can take it… I’m used to it.

Earlier this year while sharing the story of Marlee Eckert and the anxiety she gets from the Waterville Primary father-Daughter dance, I received the following anonymous letter sent to my home address.  In all my years of being in the public eye, from my radio career to my writing, this was the first time a letter was sent to my house, of course there was no “return address”

Read the letter here —> Page #1 Page #2

When I was notified about Kayla’s passing, there was an continued theme amongst the information I received, she was bullied and the School’s bullying problem was out of control.

Here were just a few of the immediate posts reacting to the news.

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As I continued to learn more about this troubled soul, I found there were many more things she was dealing with besides being bullied at school.  Her parents had told WTOL that “Bullying was not the reason” but her own siblings shared their beliefs that bullying was definitely a factor. Their posts are heartbreaking to read and out of respect to them, I will not share them.

Anonymous Twitter Accounts that had been used to bully not just Kayla but other students were deleted within hours of her death.  With names like @AWHookupss and @AWConfessions0 you can see what the kids were facing.  The good news it has been replaced with a positive twist with @AWCompliments.

As I started sharing the news about Kayla’s passing and the #StandUpForKayla campaign, the bullying focus turned to this website and myself. The bullying came via numerous anonymous comments calling me pathetic, spineless and other names. I want you to notice how some of the comments look very similar, only using initials to ID themselves, sometimes using false names, often writing with like-styles.

Here are some of the highlights.

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The irony of their comments completely lost on the anonymous authors. As I am pointing out a bullying epidemic in not just their school, but every, they tried to bully me and my point of view.  The bashing and sometimes name-calling all without giving their own names and hidden by IP addresses, proves how much of an issue this community has, that society has.

I have thick skin; I am a grown ass man with 38 years of life experience, many of which spent being criticized publicly for a living. I am conditioned to read anonymous jabs from cowardly commentators.  16 year old girls are not.

Shame on you for teaching your children how not to act or how not to love.  Bullying is a learned behavior and it appears you are teaching it beautifully.  Hopefully after this loss and reality’s wake-up call, it can be unlearned.  The students are already trying to fight the problem with positive solutions, something I applaud.

#StandUpForKayla

Please follow @AWCompliments and if you are in a different High School be the one that carries this beautiful concept into your hallway. Love each other, you are all from the same zip-codes and will face life together.  Love above all else is the answer.

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Columnist, Writer for Radio Shows across the US & Canada, Promoter, Believer, Father

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Posted in Baumhower, Bullying, Column, Death, Discussion, education, Facebook, Family, RIP
15 comments on “Baumhower: The Anonymous Bullying Continues #StandUpForKayla
  1. Lola says:

    How about you uh get a life and leave AW alone. You must really have a lot of time on your hands. You, yourself are the bully here. You do not know the AW school or community so quit acting like you do. So pathetic really. I hope one day you find peace in your own life so you won’t have to continue to tear down others peoples.

    Like

    • Mrs B says:

      Sounds to me like he hit the nail on the head with the AW community, especially if people like you are the ones representing the community Lola! I know quite a few people from the AW area (although I do not live there). None of those people are disrespectful, negative people like yourself. I hope that you are able to find peace and understand that everything Mr. Baumhower is doing is to HELP the community understand the problem and fix it. If you are not part of the problem, then you should not be concerned. You should be happy with what he’s doing.

      Like

    • Benny Fish says:

      Keep reaching for a positive attitude Lola. You’ll get there.

      Like

    • CV says:

      oh yes, lets just brush it under the rug instead so our community and school district look perfect

      Like

  2. CJ Newsome says:

    He (Baumhower) may not know the “AW” school or community, but I do. I had three boys in AW, even the teachers bullied, A former councilor told me in a conference, that I should just go and enroll my son in Lott Industries, because he wouldn’t do homework. He passed all their tests, he answered questions when called upon, he even volunteered answers in discussions. He always scored high on state tests, but he didn’t do homework, so he was not able to graduate. He was different from all the preppy little snobs that were pushed through because of their family names or high incomes, who then after having a 4 pt average all four years of high school at “AW” flunked out of their first year of college because they couldn’t do the work!! So those of you that think “AW” is perfect, are wrong! There are things that go on in every school or community that aren’t right and should be pointed out to be fixed. Not to be hidden away to happen again and again. If these problems are not taken care of, it could be your child the next time, who can’t handle being picked on, then would we have a problem???

    Like

  3. ladygreystoke1 says:

    Bullying is so wrong. When I confronted a parent about her child bullying another child, this parent said to me: ” You need to learn the difference between bullying and joking around” !! With parents having this mentality ( and this parent was a school teacher!!) I say heaven help us all!! Thank you Jeremy for standing up for Kayla for Sweet Kaylee and for all the others being bullied!! Thank you for taking on a school system who does not seem to care!

    Like

  4. Brian says:

    Wow. As a graduate of AW and a former Waterville resident growing up, I can say Lola doesn’t represent this community. Its crazy to see what happened to AW after I left, not even that long ago. What I loved about AW and told my college friends about was that we had so many cliques at AW but we all grew up together and had each others back no matter what, no matter what clique you were in. Unfortunately, some have taken to social media to tell others how they really feel. See how that gets you in the real world. Sadly, the problem is your parents, who probably arent home at all and havent taught you what being a human being is all about.

    Like

  5. Scared Mom says:

    It is really unfortunate that people have to get so defensive when someone is practicing one of their rights. Lola, you do not have to agree with Jeremy however you do have to respect his right to free speech. If you don’t agree with him it is probably best if you just not say anything at all. You have actually proven his point….bullying is a problem in this community.

    I live here and I have a child at each of the AW schools. Many of the children are just right out spoiled and rotten, a few of the teachers piggy-back on a lot of the bullying that takes place in their class rooms, the bus drivers turn a blind eye when they are not bullying themselves, and the Administration is too busy trying to keep the parents with money and status happy. I could share multiple examples of situations where my children have been bullied beyond belief but it’s not going to erase the pain they’ve had to endure. It’s not going to change anything either because there are multiple layers involved with the bullying situation in this community.

    I chose not to socialize within this community because people (parents) will turn on you in a heartbeat and they are teaching their children that. The “straw that broke the camel’s back” for me and my family was the weekend my 9 year old daughter was picked on relentlessly by a group of boys. Over 100 text messages where sent to her telling her how “ugly” and “fat” she was. When she didn’t respond to the texts they would call the house phone and my cell phone (they got the number out of the student directory). When I confronted the parents, ALL of them played it off as “boys being boys” and when I took it to the school, they claimed there was nothing they could do. That night she received one group text……it simply stated, “die fat, ugly bitch”. She no longer has an iPod and I changed the house phone and my cell phone number.

    Maybe if I was a Surgeon or a big Computer Programmer or maybe even owned a business I wouldn’t have to teach my kids morals and values. Maybe my kids could get away with smoking pot, drinking on school grounds, failing grades, and being just mean as hell to anyone and everyone. They would still be able to participate in sports and other school activities like all the other popular rich kids, right?

    Jeremy, you are absolutely right…..there is a problem in this community. These children are our future leaders and it scares the hell out of me to think about where we are going to be in the next 5 to 10 years..

    Like

  6. Keep up the good work, Jeremy.

    Like

  7. nickrokicki says:

    That letter… wow. It makes me shake my head every time someone chooses to spout their opinion and never have the guts to back it up. I’ve gotten anonymous letters in my mailbox after having letters to the editor printed in The Blade. Always nasty, perpetually filled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. If you’re willing to stand up and speak out AND then sign your name to it— that’s when you’ve won my respect. Keep up the good work, Jeremy.

    Like

  8. Rachel says:

    I’m a senior at Anthony Wayne High School. I was shocked at the news of Kayla and very sympathetic, because I know first hand how it is to feel depressed and alone. I also know that suicide is not just fueled by bullying, it is fueled by self hate, and depression, which is caused by a chemical imbalance of the brain. Being a kid is confusing, which is why I am puzzled at all of the comments that have been made. A lot of you like to think of what goes on at our high school, but you don’t. You complain about our generation, yet you are the ones that have raised it. No, I do not know what it is like to be a parent and I’m hoping that I don’t know for a while. I can imagine it’s hard, there are no perfect parents. I’m not expecting any of you to hear me out because you probably are thinking I have no idea what I’m talking because I’m young and adults “know best.”
    1. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. We have had countless speeches and lessons on how wrong bullying is. For example, the show “If You Really Knew Me” came to our school 3 or 4 years ago and taught us how to be kind and compassionate towards others. It lasted for a week. These things take time to develop, you can’t just teach us one way when we have already adapted to another. The age group you SHOULD be focused on is preschoolers.
    2. Be the change you want to see in your kids. You cannot sit here and complain about how bad bullying and judgement and harrassment is, when you sit at your homes and make nasty comments about people you know/see on tv, about their weight, their appearance, their life choices… Kids pick up on that. Your kids can only be as good as the example you set.
    3. We have all been bullied, and we have all been bullies. Neither one feels good. I can sit here and talk about how much I hate bullying and how I wish people would stop bullying, but the truth is, all high schoolers gossip. All adults gossip. We all sin. That is human nature, and it won’t change just because you want it to. Be accountable for yourself.
    4. Since bullying will never stop completely, teach your children how to handle bullies and how to feel about themselves. Help them develop a strong self worth and a positive outlook on life. People are always going to make you feel cheap no matter your age, it’s up to you to rise above that.
    I like to think I have wonderful parents who have raised me to be a strong willed person, who will not question who I am because of someone’s opinion of me. I also have been absolutely blessed to have recieved a wonderful education at Anthony Wayne. They do a lot of things I don’t agree with, and I sympathize for parents/kids that have had problems with bullies and recieved no help from the school, but don’t blame that on the whole district. THAT’S LIFE. You can’t run from your problems, you have to deal with them the best you can. Also, I saw a comment made about “rich popular kids.” So… This isn’t bullying? This isn’t ostracizing? My family isn’t “rich” but we are lucky to live in a nice neighborhood and are able to afford everything we need and even more than we need. This is exactly what I’m talking about. If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Let’s be logical about this. I rest my case.
    As for you Jeremy, I think it’s wonderful you are spreading Kayla’s message and creating awareness, I think a lot of people like to twist things.

    Like

    • Wow, Rachel! You, Darling, are a testament to what a quality raising can do! I would be beaming with pride if you were my Daughter! I hope you take up writing in your future! You have skills that few people do. To intellectually express yourself with such grace and wisdom is remarkable! Your ability to write and communicate is elegant and very rare! Good for you! You’re future is bright and has no limits! I hope you continue to be so widely translucent with your insight. I am in Awe. Wow. If only all kids/teens/young adults shared your outlook and class, our future would be Golden. Any way you can infect the rest of the country with what you have?? We could all use it! Your parents should be so very proud!! <3

      Like

  9. so sad lately says:

    Well, Rachel sure gives me hope. What a wise young lady. I’m hoping that she is the majority and that eventually the majority will rule our community.

    Like

  10. Geez…Jeremy, you Sir, are an inspiration! I, too, know the struggles in combatting Bullying and trying with all your might to reach these victims before they hurt themselves! It’s so, so hard! It is earth shattering when you are met with such resistance to change of this magnitude, with so much at stake like the life of a 16 yr old girl.
    There IS Bullying everywhere, so TRUE. Bullying today is an epidemic that is literally plaguing our children across the country. The Bullying that goes on today is so much worse and volatile than anyone who is not currently attending K-12 has ever experienced. Shining light on any story where Bullying is being ignored is admirable. Regardless, if the focus, for the time being, is one school district and one community vs. all, if you’re community and school district is a REPEAT OFFENDER, than shame on you! Don’t bite the head off of a person who takes notice of the wrongdoing and chooses to report on it! The way you are all responding in the comments here and the other sources is exactly what the problem is. You’re all mean and righteous! It’s quite sickening. If you don’t like what’s being reported, then STOP the incidents from happening! IF you all do not get your sh!t together and adopt a genuine ZERO Tolerance climate you will continue to get bad press, all of which has been warranted!! Have none of you ever seen The Bully Project or Stand For The Silent? Please, enlighten yourselves! Y’all make me sick and literally want to vomit!!
    Jeremy, please, continue on…you have more supporters than haters! Take Care. <3

    Like

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jeremybaumhower

jeremybaumhower

Columnist, Writer for Radio Shows across the US & Canada, Promoter, Believer, Father

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