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Monday, April 4, 2016

*Bullying* A Tribute to Evan Ziemniak. Warning: Language Alert

I read tonight about a story that broke my heart. 12 year old Evan Ziemniak hung himself after months of bullying. His family reported these incidents and school officials did little to nothing to deter it.

I see a lot of myself in this young man. I was subject to years of bullying and a lot more harassment than most kids are subject to. I wanted to take my own life in 9th grade often because EVERY. SINGLE. DAY there was a group of people waiting to make fun of me or treat me like garbage.

I had a rough family. I didn't have a lot of money growing up. 90% of my family members were drug addicts or alcoholics. It wasn't a fun time.

I wish I could talk to Evan, to tell him that it gets better. I wish I could give him a hug and reassure him that one day, he's going to grow up and lift weights and no one will DARE harass him. That he would go to college and those assholes, those cowards will get what they deserve, because LIFE catches up to people. 

I grew up. I lifted weights. I took martial arts. I became a teacher and I protected my kids. When I saw bullying in my class, Mr Garcia would have a very direct and very unpleasant convo, explaining in great detail what a weekend surprise home visit would be like.

I wrote a teen book called Teen Juggernaut and included a chapter on bullying and how to deal with it. I made it free online here:

But its not enough. Because this shit still is happening. 

Evan, you were a great kid. You were probably just like me, quiet, polite, and didn't want to bother anyone, just finish school with some awkwardness and see what the future held. I read that you liked 
collecting coins and you had pet rabbits and cats. 

But that's what bullies do. They find quiet kids that cant defend themselves. They act in a revolting and cowardly fashion. I would give anything ANYTHING to catch someone doing this to you. To catch them harassing you on the bus. I wish I could have been your big brother Evan. Because you had a big heart. You had a lot of spirit. I'm writing this with tears in my eyes, because you were so close to my own life. I'm sorry for your pain, I'm sorry that there are bad people out there. 

And I'm sorry that you suffered alone. But you'll never be truly gone. We will remember you. And Amanda Todd. And every teen that decided they couldn't take the pain anymore. 

I'll keep speaking in schools, Ill keep writing and Ill keep mentoring. I'll do it for kids out there, just like you. That need my help. Your story really moved me. And I hope you're at peace. 



  1. Oh I am so angry at this. I was a substitute teacher for so many years and I saw at first hand how this can affect a student/child. My daughter went through it via middle and high school. Robert, I posted it on my facebook page, to encourage my family and friends to be more involved and stand up to make a difference on their kids and at school. My little nephew is going through it right now, he is only 9 years old. My sister went to school to talk to the teacher and principal, because nothing is being done. My nephew does not want to go to school, he cries to not send him to school and he is depressed---he is only 9 years old!!! *shouting* When I worke for the school system, I was involved, now that I am not at all. It seems, like I will be doing so now. Thanks Robert! :-)