#StandUpForKayla

Written By: Jeremy Baumhower

This is the beautiful face of Kayla. Late last week, she chose to end her time here amongst us. It is very apparent that she was a victim of bullying.

This is the third time in the last 4 months where I have addressed a form of bullying in the Anthony Wayne School district. Something terrible is being accepted in this small town located in NW Ohio… that acceptance of behavior left with Kayla.

Kayla’s death is proof that words can kill. I encourage the prosecutor’s office to seriously consider charging all those who publicly bullied this young lady with Involuntary manslaughter. I understand it is a hard case to win, but sometimes it’s the right case to prosecute and lose. Let a Grand Jury decide if there is enough to charge the bullies and let their families feel the public scrutiny from this behavior.

Those who picked on this poor soul will have to live with the consequences of their actions for a lifetime, just a drunk driver who claimed a life.

The time is now to stand-up for the bullied, for the Kaylas.

#StandUpForKayla

For Kayla’s family and those who loved her: I have no words to share with you that would give the illusion that I have any understanding of the pain you are going through. They don’t exist.  I am incredibly sorry for your loss and unnecessary pain.  As a father of four, Kayla’s choice weighs heavy on my soul and heart.

Please go to the Stop Bullying’s Facebook Page that was set up in Kayla’s honor for updates.

UPDATE: Baumhower: Kayla’s Tragic Life Lesson

RELATED: #StandUpForKayla Tributes

 

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

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Posted in Baumhower, Column, Death, Family, News, RIP, Toledo
37 comments on “#StandUpForKayla
  1. Jamie says:

    There are no words to express how sorry I am for the loss of this beautiful innocent young lady. These kids now a days no better and I agree that they should be held responsible. My daughter is a senior and had her ups and downs. She is now a member of Rachael’s challenge at school to help stop bullying. I wish there was something I could do to help. If there is let me know and I will do it. Again, so sorry for their loss.

    Like

  2. April Ankenbrandt says:

    What a loss of such a beautiful girl! My family did not know her personally but we remember seeing her amongst sporting grounds over the years. My kiddos have been going to AW schools since 2007 and sadly we have dealt with a few situations of bullying, it is truly sad how mean some individuals can be:( I dealt with a couple bullying situations from a group of girls in my youth, as well as a teacher, it led my parent’s and I to proceed with homeschooling. From my experiences, sadly the kids that seem to be doing it come from very busy family homes and to me negative attention is their form of attention? I hope that the youth/future youth of AW and all other school districts learn something from this tragic loss of a precious life! There is so many other things to do with ones time, then being a coward and bullying other’s!!!!! Are we as parent’s forgetting to teach our children the Golden Rule? My heart aches for Kayla’s family, friends and other’s dealing with bullying situations….

    Like

    • Lorrie says:

      My son is a band called “After Romeo”. They are on their national “Bully Proof Tour” which they spend a week in a select city and visit various middle schools and high schools talking to the kids about anti-bullying and becoming “Bullyproof”. Afterwards they perform a few songs and invite the kids to their free concert at the end of the week.
      Since we are Maumee natives, our last wek of the tour we will be in Toledo (May 26-30). I am sad to say that Anthony Wayne was the first schools to turn down our offer for this free anti-bulling campaign at their school. Too many administrations are in denial of this national epidemic of bullying that is sweeping our country!

      Like

      • lisa says:

        That is sad..what schools will the band be at?

        Like

      • April Ankenbrandt says:

        Is their schedule all filled up now? My daughter’s Uncle brought Devin Fox fishing yrs ago, which turned her on to the band and she would love for them to come to her school AW Fallen Timbers. We are willing to start a petition if need be..These kids need something positive and their can NEVER be to much education on this very touchy subject! What better way to reach our youth than with music:) Thank you to After Romeo and whoever else is involved with this tour!

        Like

      • April Ankenbrandt says:

        Is their schedule all filled up now? My daughter’s Uncle brought Devin Fox fishing yrs ago, which turned her on to the band and she would love for them to come to her What a loss, such a beautiful girl! My family did not know her personally but we remember seeing her amongst sporting grounds over the years. My kiddos have been going to AW schools since 2007 and sadly we have dealt with a few situations of bullying, it is truly sad how mean some individuals can be:( I dealt with a couple bullying situations from a group of girls in my youth, as well as a teacher, it led my parent’s and I to proceed with homeschooling. From my experiences, sadly the kids that seem to be doing it come from very busy family homes and to me negative attention is their form of attention? I hope that the youth/future youth of AW and all other school districts learn something from this tragic loss of a precious life! There is so many other things to do with ones time, then being a coward and bullying other’s!!!!! Are we as parent’s forgetting to teach our children the Golden Rule? My heart aches for Kayla’s family, friends and other’s dealing with bullying situations….

        Like

      • Rebecca says:

        Lorrie
        Perhaps in this horrible tragedy we can collaborate. My daughter Ruthanne was bullied and her story has a happier ending paved with pain and humiliation of bullying. She was on the oprah show 2 years ago to tell her story. She attends Toledo School for the Arts and is a singer. She has her own anti bullying foundation “Be You Foundation”.

        Like

      • Shelby brown says:

        Have they offered to come to Springfield?

        Like

      • Shelby brown says:

        Have they offered to come to Springfield

        Like

  3. Nikki Bailey says:

    So so sad to read about Kayla a beautiful young person driven to her death because of bullying. I totally understand how Kayla may have felt having been a victim of bullying myself as a child. I’m so sorry for her Loss of a future, happiness because of bullying.
    Something has to be done & making an example of these bullies is a starting point to say bullying is unacceptable & has to be challenged! RIP Kayla xx Nikki Bailey @NikkiSalsa xx

    Like

  4. joe meeker says:

    thank you so much Jeremey, this means alot to me and my family ❤

    Like

  5. kmhines73 says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of this beau girl. AW is a great school on so many levels however they are in denial of the bullying. My son went through it last year and when he finally hit back the kid who called him dirty awful names and pushed him around my son was suspended and the boy a known bully got nothing. My son left AW. If your not part of the certain crowd it can be rough. The fact that poor Kayla suffered is a shame and those responsible should be held accountable.

    Like

  6. Cassidy Sloan says:

    Great article. I worked with Marlena, Kayla’s older sister, today and designed some beautiful tshirts. They will be for sale at the candle light vigil on Friday but we need help getting a closer head count for quantity to order by tonight.. Please email me if you’re interested – PRbyCassidySloan@yahoo.com

    Like

  7. amy says:

    Such a sad, sad story. This should NEVER be tolerated. The kids doing the bullying should be charged, done. Unacceptable, inexcusable.

    Like

  8. Bonnie says:

    This should not be happening. Here’s a thought. If you’re the victim of bullying and are receiving harassing texts, take a screen shot. Share that lovely note with EVERYONE! Post it on fb, share it with friends, send it to the TV stations, police, fire, radio, papers, motorcycle clubs, print it and post it on your front lawn, THEIR front lawn, staple it to telephone poles. Pass it on to EVERYONE you know. Let the bully experience shame and hate. You don’t have to post their name and become a bully yourself, but they’ll recognize who they are and I think it may stop them. They won’t want it revealed what vile creatures they are. If it’s happening in person, have it video or audio taped by a friend or do it yourself. Look what happened to the guy in the NBA last week who was taped making vile remarks about minorities. Get the public involved, let us know where this is happening, when it is happening. IDK, this just infuriates me! Teach our children that it is safe to tell that they are being picked on and that what others say is not a Reflection on their character but on the bullies character.

    Like

  9. Mary Sue Leck says:

    My daughters went to AW some years back they where bullied as kids and continued in high school the school aloud these kids to do this with no consequences they also let an Alumni teacher do the same for years again no consequences. I as a parent stood tall and fought everytime someing happened to save my girls from such a choice as Kayla made parents need to listen to their children and take action every single time otherwise it will continue, the AW board of education needs to step up and save these precious lives they would if it was their child they are responsible for our children make the right decision and STOP BULLYING in our schools don’t punish the bullied but the bullyers. My heart and prayers go out to Kayla’s family.

    Like

  10. Tom says:

    I feel horrible for the Meekers. I know them a little through coaching their son. They are wonderful people who don’t deserve this pain and burden. I don’t know any of the detalis of the situation and would never want to Monday morning quarterback. Having said that, we need to do a better job of teaching our kids how to handle bullies. My son came to me one day and said a kid was bothering him. I don’t remember if it was on the bus or at school. I told him he had a few ways to handle the situation. Ignore it and turn he other cheek. He could tell his teacher or bus driver. Lastly if the kid didn’t stop, he could punch the kid square in tne nose. I also told him that if he chose that option he should prepare to get his butt kicked. I’m a little old school. I don’t believe in sugar coating a situation but do believe in giving kids the facts and supporting their decision on how best to handle the ordeal.

    Like

    • Dawn says:

      i agree that we need to teach our kids how to handle bullies but unfortunately a lot of kids who are bullied are vulnerable for whatever reason and cannot stand up for themselves. Likewise this will not stop the bullies, they will just choose another victim–yes I said victim. We need to prosecute these kids to get the message across that it is not acceptable and there are consequences for their actions. This girl will never get married, have children , go to college……Let the bullies have their life changed forever like this girls and her family.We need to have teachers and school systems that do not tolerate this kind of behavior. Shame on the teachers who do nothing because they are just as responsible as the kids that bullied!!

      Like

  11. Keith says:

    My youngest daughter had same issues with AW. Meeting with teachers and counselors to help my daughters struggle did not help matter. She is no longer in the school district. I could continue to bring up my issues with the lack of help from this school district and some teachers, but it would not be a step forward.

    Like

  12. Tiffany says:

    My heart goes out to this beautiful girls family. We moved in the AW district almost 4 years ago and unfortunately both my girls have gone through similar issues I hope this community steps up on this issue! Again I am so sorry for the loss of this girl it breaks my heart.

    Like

    • Keith says:

      Tiffany, what is most discouraging us the non response or Blaise attitude from teachers. My daughter left the school when, the 3 bullies named numerous times to teachers later in school year her 3 partners for a project. They mentally abused her the entire day, the last day she attended an AW school. Every week we called school to check in and every other week with a counselor, how could this happen? How could a teacher knowing history, let this happen? This district is has blinders on..

      Like

  13. Jamie Foos says:

    I myself was bullied and picked on as a kid. My German last name was changed around to be a bad name, I have (proudly still have) a gap between my front teeth, my Mom was a factory worker, not a lot of money. Today, I respect ALL ppl, do not make fun of anyone and instill values in my step children. I am marrying my best friend and believe it or not, one of the kids at my school who made fun of me and picked on me is affiliating our wedding! I make sure my step kids always help someone in need (unless it will endanger themselves, then get help), become friends with all sorts of ppl and show respect to anyone different from themselves I would NEVER want my kids to endure what I went thru in elementary and jr high and I would never want them to be like my bullies either. I pray every day that the old saying “can’t we all just get along” could ring true. In the late 80s/early 90s, kids made fun of clothes, shoes, weight and looks. Sadly, now it involves SO much more. Looks, money, home, smarts, parents, jobs, car your family has or you have, jewelry, if you have sex, if you don’t have sex… No matter what, ppl FIND something to make fun of about. You could be the NICEST person in the world, the prettiest person in the room, but there will ALWAYS be SOMEONE making fun of someone. Let’s work hard with OUR OWN CHILDREN! Respect and values start at home. Don’t depend on a teacher, other classmates and anyone besides those at your own home to teach your children how to imply those same values in others!

    Like

  14. Cindy says:

    My heart goes out to the family of this beautiful young lady. Truly time for parents and schools to step up and allow zero tolerance for bullying. Mean words can be life altering.

    Like

  15. Michelle says:

    I write this as tears stream down my face. My heart is breaking for this child, her family and her friends. Their pain and loss is beyond comprehension. As parents we all need to realize that it can be any child, my child, your child. Rest in peace, angel Kayla.

    Like

  16. denise says:

    How sad for this beautiful girl! My heart breaks for her and her family! Being a victim myyself from little bitc*es and teachers I can rememberfeeling like the world was coming down on me! Something needs to be done and it starts at home but when you have parents that are selfish and act like THEY are BETTER than everyone its going to be hard since most of these kids are raised to think that the world revolves around THEM!! This area has more litte snobby bitc*he’s what are they going to do in the real world? Oh yeah my bullies? Are all fat and the teachers suffered with cancer!! Karma?

    Like

  17. Angelina says:

    Jeremy. you reach far more people than I ever will. Could you please consider making an update to this or posting something maybe a picture or a few sentences or something that can be shared on fb, re-tweeted, etc. with a short blip about vowing to THINK before you speak, share, tweet, etc. ask yourself “Is it…True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, & Kind?” and the hashtag #StandUpforKayla? And, yes, I realize that was one heck of a run-on sentence. If nothing else, I want the Meekers to know there are plenty of us out here her no the blame falls on every one of those bullies. In my opinion, and others’, when a teacher, coach, staff member, all the way to the school district knowing allows a culture of bullying to breed and grow, they themselves are guilty as well. Just about any of us are only built to stand and take so much. The constant barrage of negativity spewed at our children these days starts younger and is more profane than the torment some of us were exposed to growing up. No matter how much I teach my children to stand up for themselves and stand up for the under dog, the responsibility ultimately rests on the shoulders of the adults we place our children in care of and the adults in the lives of the children are in contact with. So many schools in the area boast of their “Zero Tolerance Policy”. That really seems to be translating to we have zero tolerance for documenting bullying so we can continue to talk about our “Zero Tolerance”. To the Meeker Family, if you see this, I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting you or your beautiful angel. I have never lived anywhere near the AW district. However, my heart aches for you all. I will not make it out for the vigil or anything like that; but on Friday, whether Mr. Baumhower posts something or not. I will come up with something and try to spread the word that enough is enough already we need to #StandUpforKayla! Sending hugs and prayers.

    Like

  18. Nathan Dipillo says:

    “Kayla Your free now you can spread your wings and fly, it brings a little happyness to my heart to know my Mom’s up there to be your guide, your family loves you so much, the pain there in words cant even begin to describe, let them see your smile every time the sun comes up, every time the sun begins to shine, let them know your doing ok let them know things up there are fine, let them hear your laughter in the wind as the breeze flows through the wind chime. Let there hearts mend, let there sadness fade with time, be there to bring them strength when all they want to do is cry, and finally let them know that you knew you would see them again thats why you choose not to say goodbye.”
    #standupforkayla

    Like

  19. Lorrie says:

    April, AW schools said no because they had a national speaker already coming in. From what I understand though, this speaker was more for the parents than for the students.
    Rebecca, TSA was the second school that turned down our offer 😦
    We now are having to say no to schools. We typically do 3 schools a day but we have already scheduled 4 a day for that week. If one more of the suburban schools wanted them I could possibly shuffle a school on Fri May 30 between 10:30am and 2pm
    lorrierae@gmail.com

    Like

  20. stacy says:

    I would encourage everyone to take 60 seconds and watch this, however I would like everyone to pay close attention to the words at the very end. As I have seen many disappointing post from adults and kids in this community regarding the loss of one of our own, many were quick to turn into “bullies” themselves, and possibly alienate and take down other children who may not have been necessarily guilty of the crime and they were ok with it, which is not ok. None of us lived in this child’s house, none of us new the demons she may have or have not been battling, none of us know the help she may or may have not been getting, none of us walked the halls with her. The two things that we do know is that as a community we lost one of our own and know one except for maybe her family know the true circumstances surrounding this loss. Out of respect for this family so that they may grieve and perhaps try and recover from this tragedy. …….let’s just stop……just …..stop

    Anthony Wayne students, parents learn dangers of cyberbullying
    http://www.toledonewsnow.com

    Like

  21. Kim says:

    Anthony Wayne is TERRIBLE at helping these kids who are being bullied. You turn them in and they get a “slap on the hand” and a “don’t do it again”. I have taught my girls and told the principal of the high school that if someone starts something with my daughter(s) be prepared for them to finish it. I was bullied from second grade til my high school senior year by the same girl. Schools did nothing. Then after graduation I ran into her and she said she hated me because i was pretty. I WILL NOT and DO NOT tolerate any bullying of any kind. My kids have had to deal with it and I march my ass right up to that school and make my voice heard. They’re are too many snobby rich kids in our district who have parents that just don’t give a crap and still feed them with a silver spoon in their mouth. They need to be prosecuted and spend some time in jail and then maybe they will rethink about what they say and do. Just because you don’t wear the top brands in clothes and shoes, or aren’t the prettiest or the most outgoing doesn’t mean you deserve to be picked on. Rest in Heaven Kayla…..I know you had many demons but if we can help another child by listening to your story it is well worth it.

    Like

  22. Matt says:

    As a father of three young daughters this is absolutely heartbreaking and terrifying. My heart goes out to the Meeker family and friends of this beautiful young girl who’s life ended way to soon. I see bullying and hear about it in our schools here in Northeast Indiana and my girls are only in grade school. I see a lot of comments about the school system and other things as to why this is happening and they should do more. Let us not forget that at the end of the day it is up to us as parents to teach and guide our children. I think if this is going to change or get better, we as parents need to express to our children the horrible ramifications that can come from ill mannered words and actions. Teach our children to talk to us as parents and help their friends in need when they see these things happening. I realize this is easier said than done and I have not even reached the tough teen years. Faith, Family and Friends is the motto I was taught growing up and I just feel we have lost that mind set as a society.

    Like

    • keith I says:

      Matt,

      I agree with it starting at home, a few of children graduated from AW with no issues, my children learned the values of what words or actions can do. My youngest child was bullied, and as a parent not a parent/ friend did all in my power to help her. From counseling to help with stronger coping skills to meetings with teachers school counselors. These 3 kids who bullied others were then 6 months later put on a 4 person team with my daughter. So that is my issue with the district, I could do as much at home to have it torn down at school and how could a teacher who knew the situation let those 4 be together, a teacher who along with family mold shape a child’s future

      Like

      • Kim says:

        I just don’t think the school wants to deal with it. They don’t wanna be in the middle of it. BUT it is THEIR job while the children are at school to protect children. It is my job to teach them right from wrong and discipline them, but it is ultimately their job to protect them when they are on schools grounds, and unfortunately AW schools fail to do just that.

        Like

  23. Ann says:

    This child’s mother has told the media that bullying was not a factor surrounding her death, while this is an unbearable tragedy I think one thing that is getting lost in the media feeding frenzy is that children suffer from mental illnesses just as much as adults do. Perhaps bringing awareness to this may also help many other children.

    Like

  24. my daughter had the same problem at Woodmore Elementary in Woodville Ohio. That school did not do anything about it there a posters even hanging on the walls of the school about bullyingI complain to the teachers who witnessed it I complained to the principal refused to do anything about it she told my daughter it was just words and to stop acting so dramatic. Kalie would come home crying everyday…we moved to Rossford me and my husband graduated from there.it is absolutely not tolerated in that school Rossford one that’s one of the best schools for this kind of problem. they have a zero tolerance I am so very sorry for your daughter I am so very sorry for your loss it’s a shame that all schools don’t recognize this and take the proper actions to prevent this my heart goes out to you and your family

    Like

  25. […] student used my words, “#StandUpForKayla “ as inspiration and the basis for a support page against […]

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  26. Carly says:

    Hi I’m carly Meeker and she was my big sister thank you for all the support

    Like

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jeremybaumhower

jeremybaumhower

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

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