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Death of Iowa Teen Inspires a “Pledge for Peace”
On Thursday, September 25th, a high school altercation turned deadly. Council Bluffs’ teens, Dakota Escritt, 17, and Gregary Teer, 16, had an intense exchange of words followed by pushing and a single punch. Escritt was taken to Children’s Hospital in critical condition after the punch knocked him to the ground, causing him to hit his head on the tile floor. The teen died on Saturday as a result of his injuries.
While the fight’s details are still being investigated, some of the student witnesses are saying that this is another case of bullying in their school.
“The bullying should stop. Everyone should be treated nicely. If bullying didn’t happen then Dakota would still be here,” Devon Yoshida, Escritt’s friend, said.
According to StopBullying.gov, bullying is defined as an unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. An imbalance of power could be someone’s physical size, strength, popularity, or ability to gain information that could harm or embarrass others. Bullying also involves repetition or the possibility of reoccurrence.
Research has shown that victims of persistent bullying can carry psychological wounds for many, many years. These victims are three times more likely to develop mental health conditions such as anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and suicidal ideation. They also have an increased risk of abusing alcohol and controlled substances.
Support from school counselors will be available to students, as well as additional counseling support from The Green Hills Area Education Agency, said Diane Ostrowski, spokeswoman for the Council Bluffs Community School District.
“It’s about encouraging open conversation and mutual respect and not spreading rumors and understanding feelings and where to go to help if they need someone to help them through the grieving process,” Ostrowski said.
According TO KMTV, dozens of classmates and friends of Dakota’s are making a pledge for peace, promising to never raise a fist; turning this tragedy into a lesson.
To learn more about bully prevention, go to:
About Jill Sauser, The Kim Foundation Project Coordinator
Jill has a B.S. in Journalism (PR/Advertising) and a Minor in Speech Communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. During her time at UNO, she completed a two year PR practicum program where she worked with numerous nonprofit clients including the MS Society, The Archdiocese of Omaha, The Omaha Food Bank and YWCA. Jill joined The Kim Foundation as Project Coordinator in April 2014.