Local Teen Stands Up Against Bullying

The death of a Buffalo teen has brought the issue of bullying to the minds of many.

Family members say 14-year-old Jamie Rodemeyer was bullied for years about his sexuality before he committed suicide.

A local Churchville-Chili teen has written a poem called "No One Knew."

It dives into the emotional damage bullying has on its victims.

Kari Vogel, 16, read aloud a poem she wrote about a months ago about bullying:

"The words you would say they would pound against my heart. They would break my positivity. I felt like there was nothing left of me I felt like I was drowning in the lost sea. A sea made of tears and waves of the pain," reads Vogel.

She says that's how bullying makes her feel almost everyday.

"It's been a rough ten weeks. For the beginning of my junior year," said Vogel.

The Churchville-Chili student says what hurts the most is that the bullies often target her family.

"They'll say things about my brother. My brother is disabled. So I remember them saying 'oh yeah he's stupid, he's retarded.'  It's just not good," said Vogel.

And Vogel isn't alone, her friend Roman Crespo says he is often bullied for his sexual orientation.

"People are just relentless with bullying," said Crespo, who is also a junior at Churchville-Chili High School.

Vogel has decided to become part of the solution.
She has written a poem about bullying in hopes in will open peoples eyes.

"I got so fed up with the bullying I put my creative writing to the test. It's really just about trying to get the word out there to try and stop it and that there are victims out there," said Vogel.

Teachers say they do see bullying in the hallways, and the fact that Kari is taking a stand against the issue is amazing.

"I think it's so courageous for Kari to be able to do something like this. And it's not easy by any means for her to be the voice of thousand and thousands of students across the U.S. who deal with this on a daily basis," said Bethany Gill, a health teacher at Churchville-Chili High School.

"Kari is the one person who truly put art into fighting against it in a sense. That is so inspiring and brave of her," said Crespo.

For Vogel, it isn't about the recognition, she says it's about change.

She wants people to take action before it's too late.

"We don't want students to feel so lost and alone they need to take some sort of a drastic measure ," said Kate Rathbun, a school counselor at Churchville-Chili.

For Vogel and Crespo support from teachers, family and friends have helped them through their low points.

"I don't feel so lonely...It's definitely essential. It has to be there. People need to unite to stop bullying, we all need to be there for each other," said Crespo.

Teachers say they often see consequences not only for the victims of bullying, but also for the bully.

"We see higher frequency of those growing up and engaging in other delinquent behaviors. We see a lot of increased depression and anxiety and suicide tendencies in those who are being bullied as well as drastic measures like suicidal tendencies," said Gill.

Vogel says if this poem helps one person who is a victim of bullying understand they aren't alone, or opens someone's eyes to the problem she'll be happy.

To read all of Vogel's poem click the attachment at the bottom of this article.

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