Ronin Shimizu’s story is breaking hearts all over the country. We have been told for many years that bullying hurts people more than we realize. But stories like Ronin’s bring that lesson home in a devastating way.
Ronin Shimizu killed himself last week. When the story broke, it was learned that Ronin had been the only male cheerleader at his school. Kids said that he had been bullied mercilessly about it. Everyone feared that Ronin had finally reached a point of no return because of the bullying.
Up till now, Ronin’s parents have been silent. But now Brandon and Danielle Shimizu have issued a statement. They say that Ronin not only was bullied for his cheering activities, but for other things as well.
“The tragic loss of our son has and will forever change our life.
"The people close to our family know exactly who Ronin was, but since the story of this tragedy has spread worldwide, we want to take a minute to let the world know who he was. Ronin was one of the most loving, compassionate, empathetic, artistic and funny kids to grace this earth. Ronin was a child who was not afraid to follow his heart, and we as his parents did everything in our power to allow him to pursue his passions, while protecting him from the minority that could not understand the specialness he possessed.
"As you already know, Ronin loved to do Cheer, but he also loved art, fashion, being a Scout and most recently crew/rowing. It is true that because of his specialness, Ronin was a target of bullying by individuals that could not understand or accept his uniqueness. Ronin was not just a target of bullying because of his participation in cheer, but for him just being Ronin.
"We as his parents always knew that he would make an impact on the world, we just thought it would be in something like fashion design or art related. We had no idea that God and Buddha had a more important role for him, and we as his parents will make it our mission in life to turn this tragedy into something positive and hopefully prevent another senseless tragedy.
“In closing, please remember that education in regards to bullying prevention does not only need to occur in our schools but also in the home."
Ronin Shimizu's story breaks my heart. Not only because he's a baby but because I can relate to him. #RIPRoninShimizu
— Derrick Dean (@DerrickDean) December 11, 2014
The specter of bullying has been around forever. But in an age of social media, it has a particularly devastating effect. A bully’s reach does not stop at school and only during school hours. Now kids can be harassed and made fun of “in front of” hundreds or even thousands of people, and at all hours of the day. They can’t go home to escape it.
While this is true even for adults, kids don’t have the experience in life that assures them that this will pass. To them, this could well be all they ever know.
For a boy like Ronin, that was too much to live with.
Ronin Shimizu, 12, a California boy, committed suicide this week. Tired of being bullied. Shame on all of us...
— JohnMichaelWilliams (@_johnmwilliams_) December 10, 2014