Could High School Bullying Help Create A Killer?


Shortly after his arrest, high school people who knew him took on social media to voice their opinions.

Luis Gutierrez, Podcast Director

Full disclaimer: murder is never okay no matter what you’re going through. This is the writer’s own opinion on what he believes the outcomes of being bullied can escalate to. This is not blaming anyone or any entity, the examples used are just that, examples. 

Joseph Ramirez Perez, a Downey High School graduate class of 2015, was recently arrested for stabbing a man on a park bench. The victim did not survive the attack and died shortly after he was taken to the hospital. There is no motive to why Perez stabbed and killed the unknown man.

After hearing this news, my heart was broken because I knew this guy. We went to high school together and I would even go as far as calling him a friend. It got me thinking a little bit more to why he may have done it. Perez, who we’d call “Jessie” back in high school, had a few flaws.

He was a little bit on the heavy side, short, walked with a limp, and always had the same expression on his face. This made him an easy target to pick on in high school. Perez was bullied heavily and he turned to drugs to cope, falling down a rabbit hole of bad decisions. He was always known as a “weirdo” or a “creep” who would look at you funny, and no one really gave him the time of day. He would be mocked before he had a chance to speak, even I followed the trend of making fun of him. I was just as guilty as any one of my peers who had done the same.

Near the end of our high school careers I realized what I was doing was wrong, and befriended him but at the end of the day it didn’t change what I had done.  He had started taking a therapy class and it seemed to have a positive effect on him. I remember him coming to me and some teachers saying things like “thank you” and ”you guys are really helping me out, I actually enjoy coming to school now” or even ”I’m actually thinking of going to college now and can’t wait to start my life.”

Even though he was starting to have a positive output in life, the bullying still continued. People kept picking on him and it only got worse. It was high school kids at their worst, picking on Perez because they knew they would get away with it. No one really knew what he was going through at home, myself included, but what he was facing at school didn’t help him at all.

So when he was on the news for killing someone, the bullying didn’t stop there. People actually picked up where they left off saying horrible things about him. Granted, some people didn’t say bad things at all, but there were a lot more negative comments than positive. I strongly believe that the bullying and hazing he was put through in high school carried on with him and may have caused him to snap.

This is why bullying is never okay! No one knows what will happen to the person in the future. It is said that bullying is a major risk factor for poor physical and mental health. Could my high school class of 2015 be somewhat liable for Perez’ decision on killing the man sitting on the bench? Could Perez’ choices been different if he were never taunted? These are answers we will never know.

What I do know is that picking on someone for how they look or whatever it may be that makes them different is not acceptable. Bullying shouldn’t be seen as a normal “rite of passage” for anyone. You don’t know what they’re going through or who they are. Not to mention these actions stick with a person and sometimes turns them into something that no one would ever want to be.

I recommend you read this article by the National Institute of Health and it’s research on the long-term effects of bullying.

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