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9. This is an isolated problem.
Finally, while the recent headlines bring much-needed attention to bullying as a major public-health problem, their horrific nature may also give us permission to separate ourselves and our schools from the discussion. But the towns where these tragic events occurred are not exceptional. The behavior that led to these suicides can be found in almost any school in this country.
For all the rules and workshops and policies that anti-bullying advocates like me call for, there's a powerful weapon against bullying that we can use and model for our children: empathy. It doesn't cost anything, and you don't need to bring any experts to your school to use it. All of us--parents, teachers, mentors, big brothers and sisters--can talk with kids about what someone like Asher Brown must have been feeling as he went to school, day after day: as he was tripped down the stairs, had his backpack emptied and its contents scattered, berated with insults like "fag." You can ask: What emotions did he feel? Is there anyone at your school who goes through that? What can you do to help that person? Where there is empathy, there is hope for respect, and the kinds of communities where every child can learn and grow in safety.