Bullying definition

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Re "Was teen's suicide fueled by bullying? Family left with unclear answers" (Tribune, Dec. 9):

Tragically, David Phan committed suicide. We'll never know whether he did so because of being bullied.

The Utah Code defines bullying as physical acts that endanger the health or safety of a school employee or student: whipping, beating, bruising, electric shocking, consumption of food, liquor or drugs, obstructing freedom to move and harm to school property.

Seriously? What about detrimental attacks on the heart and soul? What about nasty, demeaning taunts, painful exclusion, not-so-private twitters, texts, Facebook remarks and ugly postings in school lavatories?

The perpetrators of these insidious acts feel a sense of power and control, while their victims are overwhelmed with feelings of worthlessness, diminished self-esteem, dread, self-loathing and emotions they are unable to express to anyone, including suicide.

Survivors of bullying carry their trauma into adulthood, affecting every life experience. Utah's definition of bullying is an antiquated joke.

I'm proud that bullying does not exist at The McGillis School because it is not tolerated. Every student is taught, "You must never look down on another person unless you are bending over to pick him up."

Joanne S. McGillis

Salt Lake City