When Silence Screams the Loudest: A Lesson for McCord Junior High

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Written by:  Jeremy Baumhower
The top story on the local news last night, was about an incident that occurred at McCord Junior High School.
It happened on February 17th, during my daughter’s basketball game. I was sitting right there, next to the student section– little did I know what was about to take place.
A school-sponsored athletic event that was used as a vehicle to benefit Austin’s Book Club. It was a beautiful turnout of enthusiastic children wearing tie-dye and bringing books for Toledo Hospital’s Nicu Unit.  It was McCord’s opportunity to give support and show love for one of their own.
The moment was ruined.

An eighth grade boy with developmental issues, was bullied in a horrendous way. This child has been allegedly targeted by the same students for years.
I will not disclose the alleged specifics — it will make this incident a national news story.
The School District has promised punishment matching the horrendous nature of the action, if found true. The Sylvania Police Department is investigating– people are rightfully outraged.
Besides the irony of bullying a young man while wearing a tie-dye shirt, symbolizing love and unity — there is another element of the story that has me heartbroken.
According to the victim’s mom, the alleged incident happened in front of a pack of 30 kids. It is believed that a female student came forward and made the school aware of the situation. What I don’t understand is why there wasn’t a line of thirty students waiting to tell the office? Why there wasn’t a single student who tried to stop the incident from happening?
If you were one of the dozens who witnessed this and did nothing– I am disappointed in you. What an ugly event you were a part of and allowed to happen.
Picking on those who are different than you because of skin color, how they dress or if they need assistance while at school– is the ugliest thing imaginable.
You know what are three things students have no control over– Their skin color, their parents wealth, and the circumstances of their birth.
I understand you are young, and are prone to make mistakes. I also understand the power of peer pressure and not wanting to appear different; if they can do this to him, what will they do to you? Sometimes you have to be brave and stand up for each another, especially when a friend is making a poor choice.
The beautiful thing about life is evolving; learning from moments, good or bad, and making the necessary changes.
I am fully aware that these two young men and this alleged vile incident does not reflect the love and acceptance that fills your hallways. I see little things every time I visit or am around the students. The littlest of acts of compassion speak the loudest, but so does silence.
When you get off the school bus on Friday morning, don’t be sad, quiet and act like McCord wasn’t on the news. Love extra loud tomorrow. Issue random compliments, hug your friends and the kids that used to be in your squad.
Don’t tear down a single student, build them up.
What you don’t understand is you are a part of a family. You never forget those you went to school with. You will always share these moments together. The person who is sitting next to you today, is shaping who you are tomorrow.
Life is already tough enough, it is better when you fill it with an abundance of love.
Love unapologetically and without fear of peers. One person at any given moment can affect change.
I’m disappointed, but I love you the same. I know you will do better.  I believe in each of you.
Find a way to make this ugly become a pretty.

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

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Posted in Baumhower, Bullying, Family, Feels, Life, love, Ohio, Schools, Sylvania
26 comments on “When Silence Screams the Loudest: A Lesson for McCord Junior High
  1. Lisa says:

    So beautifully and intelligently written. I am going to have my girls read this in hopes that when they get to that age they will be that one girl who spoke up. Thank you for sharing!


    • Anonymous says:

      I am utterly disappointed that the school I just left last year for high school has even become to start this behavior. I was a teacher aide all last year for the special needs kids. I made them feel like they were normal and that they had every opportunity we had. It sad to think that I school that had changed my life is now ruining lives of someone different. In elementary school I was bullied serverly. McCord changed that, I found my place. The bully stopped at the front doors. I fell in love with special needs teaching. I watched them grow and become more confident that they weren’t weird or retarded but, they were special. I think believe McCord Jr High is that best Junior High in Ohio. It’s the people that make it the best. This group of children that have proven they are not able to deal with mature things. Which is okay because they are in middle school, they don’t understand. I hope this all irons out and they do learn their actions do speak louder than words


  2. Carol says:

    Excellent article!! Bullying needs to stop. Children must learn compassion, empathy and tolerance! They know right from wrong—they must learn that they are being held accountable for their actions.


  3. julie mcconnell says:

    wonderful story and I appreciate your words from a mother who’s child is also being bullied. Thank you for trying to help and encourage students to spread love and compassion.


  4. Sue McCollam says:

    I don’t live in the area any longer, but have heard about the incident. Any time there is bullying is awful, but when the individual getting the raw end of the deal is a person with disabilities, etc., it’s crude and absolutely unacceptable. The students involved should be punished severely. And bring in the parents too as many times the bad stuff is being learned at home.


  5. Michelle says:

    Very nicely written, I am also a mom of a son who has been bullied on numerous occasions however he has learned that these “children” will never stop and he just needs to unfortunately ignore them and be the bigger person. He also will be the first one to stand up for those who are being picked on. I also am going to have him read this and remind him of how hurtful it is to be mean to others. Thank you for your amazing words!

    Michelle Tebary


  6. Anonymous says:

    I pulled my daughter out of this very school because of bulling. The school didn’t do anything about it and I was told it’s just kids being kids. Hopefully they are taking this incident more seriously!


    • Julie says:

      I don’t know how long ago your daughter was at McCord, but there is NO way that the present administration told you that it’s ‘just kids being kids’. Not a chance.


      • Abby says:

        Spoken like an administrator. It is imbedded in the culture; Sylvania is not exempt and when a parent goes to administration, the fear of retaliation is real. I speak from experience.


  7. Jessica says:

    I in no way condone what occurred, but shaming 30 middle school children in a public forum for not stepping up in this situation is baffling. You admit you were not there and don’t know the dynamics faced by the alleged 30 kids. Have you stopped to consider that YOUR article shaming them may have a deleterious impact on these children?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paula says:

      Really ??? Are you also the parent who states “kids will be kids?” What if that was your child? What if your child has special needs? Would you feel the same? I am embarrassed to be a resident of Sylvania right now I’m embarrassed to be a part of the Sylvanis school system right now ….. This is shameful & yes if my child was part of the 30 and did not try to stop it…. Then I would feel I failed my child to teach them to do the right thing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jessica says:

        I would try to teach my child the same. I would not abide some judgmental stranger telling me to do it.
        Your impulsive comment seems to have missed the point of what I posted. As I clearly stated, I think that what occurred was terrible.
        I am mindful that children are involved, there are educational and judicial systems in place to deal with such children, and a grown man with no first hand knowledge of the situation should not be convicting 30 alleged “bystanders” like it is the move The Accused.


    • Denise says:

      Jessica, He is NOT shaming the 30 students who stood by and watched an alleged incident of bullying happen. If you read this with your heart instead of 1st moment eyes, you’ll see that he is merely educating these students as well as many others to STAND UP TO BULLYING. Stand up for what is right, yes,they are young, but this is where it starts, it starts with that one voice who encourages others to stand up against bullying as well and to help the victim of bullying by stopping the aggressor(s) and reporting it. 1 Voice can turn into 100’s of voices. Just sayin……


    • Jessica says:

      Please…if this were your child, you would be wondering the same. Wrong is wrong…whether you are doing the bullying or idly standing by watching it happen. It only takes one voice to make a change. Perhaps if one of the 30 bystanders chose to speak up instead of choosing to watch the situation would have ended differently. This isn’t the only forum discussing this despicable act. It is all over Facebook. My child is a toddler and I have knowledge of this incident due to much discussion on Facebook. Perhaps you would prefer CNN as a forum for this? Because Jeremy is absolutely correct. This “incident” could very easily make national news. Have you considered the deleterious impact THAT could have on not just 30 children but our community? Wrong is wrong. Whether you are doing the bullying or watching it happen. It is still wrong.


      • Jessica says:

        As my reply states clearly and at the outset, I do NOT condone what happened. I am so sad for what this child has endured.

        This article just makes a bad situation worse. A grown man saying “let’s not have any media about this” but using the media to bring attention to it is revolting.

        I do not condone an adult with no direct ties to the participants writing an article chastising middle school children who are alleged bystanders. He writes about them as though they were adults who stood by during a mass murder.

        The sanctimonious, judgmental article above is neither well-written nor well-stated. It is a diatribe of judgment and hate against middle schoolers about whom he knows nothing. It is a vehicle to attempt to be the voice of authority when there is no standing for such a position.

        Hear me clearly. I do not think what occurred was ok. If my child stood by, I would have an opinion on it. I would take action.

        But having an adult STRANGER cast public judgment against children is vile. It is up to the parents and educators to deal with this situation.


  8. I have 2 girls in McCord right now. They are constantly telling me about how much they love their school and look forward to going each day. I asked them about this when I first read the news, but I’ll make sure they read your post and talk to them, reminding them to always stand for what is right, even when it is difficult.

    There are a lot of changes happening this year with Mrs. Ogren as the principal. I hope they are positive changes.


  9. Kayla says:

    This is pretty ironic this occurred at McCord Jr. High because back when I was there the same thing occurred…to me. I was bullied and these girls tried making my life a living hell…it all started because I made the cheerleading squad over some one of their friends. This went on for a very long time. My parents house was vandalized, horrible prank phone calls, etc.. Saddest thing is–the school did nothing. Thank God for amazing parents getting to the bottom of it. I blame a lot of it on people’s parents too. I am thankful to have then gone to a private high school (CCHS) where I was welcomed with open arms and where everyone was like family. I was a strong kid that didn’t let that get to me and it has made me into the strong woman I am today. Some of these bullies will see this Facebook message and they know who they are. I won’t mention the names because I am bigger than that and quite honestly have gone further in life than a lot of them. So I conclude with this message to you all: Be kind to one another, compliment each other because you have no idea what one person may be going through or feeling…and that one smile, hello or compliment goes a long way.


  10. Rose says:

    What has gotten into these children! Please see that they are held accountable! Please bring about an awakening in this community! Surround these weaker children with adults and peers to protect them! Make schools a safe haven again! Turn their wicked hearts towards your son Jesus!! Let there be a rally cry for Good hearted children, that have a Love for Jesus. Let them set the example to these misguided kids. How on earth have they learned this hatered? Take mercy on them and show them your face, teach them Your Ways-? Ways of the light and not darkness! My heart is heavy for this young boy! (Knowing his parents). What a lesson in hatred that he will have in his memory! Heal his mind, heart, and body! My son is Autistic and I hope that he would have an army standing up on his behalf!
    In Jesus Name,


  11. Eowynsmama says:

    This is a horrible thing to have happened. However, the fact that it occurred in front of a large group of kids who did nothing is not surprising, it is unfortunately group/mob mentality in action. It has been noted in psychology that people in a large group lose their individuality and tend to do what everyone else is doing. If the observers had been in a smaller group or alone, they would have been more likely to do something while it was happening. This is counterintuitive to what most people would think, but that is what often occurs. Good for that student who was willing to report it, she should be proud that she had the courage to do it. I was teased by a boy when I was in junior high at McCord and I remember those years as the most difficult in adolescence. Hopefully all the students can learn something about courage and compassion from this terrible event.


  12. Shelly says:

    I’m sickened that this continues to be an issue. Especially for kids with special needs. Really? I don’t understand what these kids get out of tearing others down and making their lives miserable. You have to wonder what’s going on at home. This article was very well written and I’m glad I came across it. I too have a child at McCord. Thankfully, she does not seem to be a target. But as I know, that can change. I have had this off and on with my sons. It’s very frustrating. When I was dealing with this in elementary school, the parents of the child could care less. Even went to the school and got them involved. That actually worked. The bullying was happening on the bus and the child was kicked off the bus. It got the parents attention. I hope that the kids that stood by and watched have a change of heart the next time they see something like this happening. I know it can be scary to stick up for the under dog, but someone needs to. I did in 8th grade by protecting a fellow student from a pack of kids that tormented him. It’s disheartening that things haven’t changed even 38 years later.


  13. Jennifer says:

    Learned behaviors begin at home! Acceptance of bad behavior is given when there are no consequences for the actions. Holding your kids accountable for their actions from a very young age is key! Praising a child for doing good is only half of the responsibility a parent has. The other half is making certain there is a negative consequence to bad behavior!

    I have 2 high school age kids that if you were to ask them what their first thought is about bullying… I guarantee you they both would say “My parents would never tolerate me being a bully!” How many parents can say the same about their kids. I started talking about bullying and reading books about it to them when they were old enough to use their ears..!!

    Kids who watch bullying happen and don’t say anything to anyone are no different than the ones who are doing the bullying! They deserve punishment as if they were the bully!

    “kids will be kids” is a pathetic excuse out of society today! Parents should love their children unconditionally, but you have to parent them long before you can be there friend! They will also love you unconditionally in return!

    This incident never should have happened and I do hope that the appropriate consequences are given to all involved and all who knew but turned their head!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. sms001 says:

    “I was sitting right there, next to the student section– little did I know what was about to take place.”

    “If you were one of the dozens who witnessed this and did nothing– I am disappointed in you. What an ugly event you were a part of and allowed to happen.”

    You were ‘right there’ and you did…what?


  15. Gary says:

    We have a youngman who has cerebral palsy.Iam heart broken !


  16. I agree with the mob mentality, that has been proven over and over that no one wants to “make the first move” and will wait for someone else to do it first. These are middle schoolers after all. Who are the parents of these bullies? Were any parents witness to what happened? If yes, what did they do? You state that you were there. Did you witness the action? The media has refused to detail what happened…why?? For no other reason than it happened in Sylvania and they don’t want their school to get a bad rap. You don’t have to say their names, but say what they did. Speaking about what the did is acknowledgement that it is NOT acceptable and that you are not “protecting” the bullies at the expense of the victim. But it will continue to happen since there is obviously a code of silence that even the media follows.


    • Jeanettebieber11@gmail.com bieber says:

      Money does not equal the right to torture others. We cannot control who we are, life just hands us what God feels we can handle, help those who will not speak outfor fear of not having approval. Don’t be silent, we will help you. There is a voice for you, and know, we love you and we will fight for you.


  17. Benjamin Gravelle says:

    As a current student at the school, I believe that this situation was extremely indecent and absolutely unbelievable. I don’t necessarily like the environment upon the school, due to the fact that there is many other students whom have likely done of the sort, but none of them at all have even spoken up. McCord Junior High needs to educate the victims of bullying to just simply speak up. It shouldn’t be embarassing, because as a victim of bullying, I can speak for all of the people around me that they likely have had an encounter with bullying in their life and it is okay to reach out to someone. I know these counsellors very well and they are very skilled at handling these types of problems. Keeping it in is a great deal of the problem, as I am extremely happy with the current ‘upstander’ program as it incorporates a great solution to bullying, but there is many other problems with the causes and other parts of the bullying. I am extremely disappointed of this incident and I most certainly would not be happy if it happened again. Best Regards, Ben


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