Letter to the editor: Darling Condemns Online Bullying

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Dear Editor:

Yesterday, I attended a press conference where an app was introduced in furtherance of our RSVP-3 Program designed to keep students safe by monitoring “red-flags” through an anonymous reporting system. The purpose of this program is to prevent problems from starting in the first place, and one of the reasons students act out against other students in instances of school violence is bullying.

The internet has made bullying a commonplace occurrence, as it allows individuals to hide behind a computer screen, and often a fake persona, from which they can comfortably attack another without fear of retaliation.

They subjects of bullying suffer greatly, both at the time the bullying occurs and for the rest of their lives from the emotional scars it leaves behind.

Right here in Morris County we have had people take their own lives because of the cowardly torment of bullies.

In Chatham, less than a month ago, the Out of the Darkness Walk took place to raise awareness about suicide and help prevent the suffering that leads to this end. We have all heard stories of the impact of bullying and torment on individuals throughout the county, including elected officials who have had the courage to come forward and speak about racist attacks or harassment because of their sexual orientation that nearly caused them to take their own lives. No one should ever find themselves contemplating suicide as the result of the prejudice, jealousy or hatred that is manifested in torment by others.

I am absolutely disgusted by something I saw on social media today, directed toward one of our citizens, that is completely contrary to our efforts in Morris County to prevent bullying and the harm it causes. In Morris County, we have people who are of different genders, religious beliefs, sexual orientations and ethnicities.

I denounce online bullying and intimidation by anyone and believe that it should be accepted by no one. We all coexist here and there is absolutely no room in our community for intolerance toward others and the clearly documented damage it does to the targets of these cowards. Morris County does and always will promote a stigma-free environment, embracing diversity within our community and denouncing hate in all of its forms. There is absolutely no place in Morris County for bullying of any kind.

Heather Darling

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