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Ray Rice calls for bullying to be criminalized in response to 12-year-old’s tragic death

Mar 4, 2013, 10:08 AM EDT

rayricegetty Getty Images

When pro athletes use their powers for good, it can be an inspiration to us all. And hopefully in the case of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, it can make a real difference.

Rice wrote a touching statement on his Facebook page late Sunday on the tragic death of 12-year-old Bailey O’Neill, a Darby Township, PA, boy who was beaten by other kids on the playground of his school in an alleged bullying incident. O’Neill suffered seizures soon after the incident, was placed in a medically-induced coma, and passed away Sunday night.

Rice reached out to the family and then released this statement on his Facebook page:

“I don’t think I will ever be able to understand why kids bully each other and how we are all sitting here after yet another “bully death” getting ready to go through this difficult task of picking up the pieces and the even more difficult task of forgiving so we can heal.

“I don’t know if we will ever get to a point where bullying is actually considered a CRIME, rather than “kids being kids” or a “playground incident.”

“I don’t know if the kid that did this to Bailey will be punished severely enough or if he will receive the help I know he truly needs. Bullying doesn’t happen for no reason…we have to figure out what the underlying cause it and treat it like the illness it is.

“I don’t know when parents, teachers, elected officials and administrators will sit up and take notice…and ACT.

“But, I DO KNOW THIS: I will NOT give up my fight. Everyday I will continue to fight AGAINST bullying and fight FOR kindness.

“Bailey — my little buddy, I will not let you become just another bully statistic…you are my inspiration and one more angel that will help me continue the fight for kids everywhere. You are going to help me save lives. RIP my little friend.”

The other boys involved in the incident at Darby Township School were suspended for two days, and police are deciding if they should be charged with a crime. O’Neill died one day after his 12th birthday. NBC10 Philadelphia:

While the students who jumped Bailey were suspended for two days, police have not yet revealed whether they will be criminally charged.

“I would like to see these kids punished,” said Joy Fecanin, the boy’s grandmother, when she spoke to NBC10’s Katy Zachry last month. “Something has to be done. I don’t know what’s taking them so long.”

If you would like to offer support to Bailey’s family in any form, here’s the Building Hope For Bailey Facebook page.

  1. rmfields - Mar 4, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    A two-day suspension for bullying a kid literally to death is a joke. I mooned a school bus when I was in 8th grade and got a three-day out of school suspension. Very sad indeed. We need to set an example and get it through to these kids that bullying is no joke.

  2. krispc - Mar 4, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Physical bullying is a crime it is called assault and battery. When the person dies of injuries sustained during the assault then it elevates up to either manslaughter or murder I believe. The question here is did the injuries cause the death.

    The problem with bullying besides the obvious callousness and visciouness is the fact most bullying is not reported. If people are held accountable then most likely the amount of incidents will decrease. Another law just to have a law is redundancy. And we don’t need any more departments of redundancy departments.