12-Year-Old Bullied Boy Dies & ‘Bullying’ Becomes Much, Much Worse Than We Thought

school yardThis is the kind of story that makes being a parent so terrifying. A 12-year-old boy who was the victim of a bully attack died. Bailey O'Neill, who had just celebrated his birthday on March 2, was in a coma for weeks after being beaten up during school recess.

Bailey's family said he was jumped by two classmates at his Philadelphia school in January and had a concussion and a broken nose. The next day, he started having seizures, and doctors put him in a medically induced coma from which he never woke. It's just heartbreaking. Now the question is, what's next? A boy is dead. But this is no longer a simple case of bullying. It could be murder.


The bullies were suspended for two days, but is that really enough? As of now, officials haven't announced whether there will be any criminal charges as they try to figure out if the fight definitely caused the seizures. They are also interviewing staff and other kids who were on the playground when it happened. But if what they did led to another kid's death, shouldn't they be charged? 

They are described as classmates of Bailey's, so presumably they are around the same age. It's sad to think that kids so young can do such horrible things to each other. But regardless of age, they shouldn't walk away with a mere slap on the wrist if found culpable. Their brutish act cost another kid his life. So this begs the question of whether they should be charged as juveniles or adults.

I haven't heard all the facts in the case, so I don't feel comfortable making that call just yet. But I understand why it will be a part of the debate. I just hope the prosecutors weigh all the facts very carefully and come to a conclusion that is fair to Bailey's grieving family. The O'Neills even had to take their younger son out of the school because they feared he would be attacked too. Unbelievable that they continue to feel terrorized as they plan a funeral, for which they've set up an online fundraiser to help cover costs. Heartbreaking, isn't it?

Do you think there is ever a reason to charge juveniles as adults?


Image via dno1967b/Flickr

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