Meier’s lecture opens eyes of sophomore students

Danielle Fox ('13)/ Eastside Entertainment Editor

Tina Meier, mother to Megan Meier, the fourteen-year-old who committed suicide as a result of cyber bullying, came to East to speak to the sophomores about both the consequence of verbally abusing others, as well as the reward of showing valor in the face of bullying, during sixth and seventh period, on May 5.

Meier began her presentation with a recollection of her daughter, Megan’s, story. On October 16, 2006, Meier found her daughter Megan hanging in her bedroom closet, after a day of receiving a substantial number vile MySpace messages. Megan passed away a day later, one of the many victims of cyber bullying.

Megan had faced the cruelty of bullies during her sixth and seventh grade years, and had transferred to a private Catholic school to avoid future trauma. According to Meier, Megan’s social life took a turn for the better, as she began to make a new group of friends, and encountered for the first time a friendly, dapper-looking boy who was interested in being her friend on MySpace.

Megan began an exclusively online relationship with this boy, Josh Evans, who had just moved to the area and was home-schooled. However, just as Megan happily anticipated her fourteenth birthday, she received a message from Evans that changed her recent optimistic perception of life. On October 15, 2006, Evans wrote, “I don’t know if I want to be friends with you any longer because I hear you’re not nice to your friends.”

On October 16, 2006, the messages continued, harsher and increasingly putrid as one followed another, and as Evans got more kids to join in on the cyber bullying.

As a result of the cyber bullying, Meier’s daughter took her own life.

Meier later discovered that the true identity of Evans was one of her neighbors who lived four houses down the street, the parent of one of Megan’s old friends, Lori Drew. Drew admitted to creating the MySpace account with her thirteen-year-old daughter and Ashley Grills, Drew’s 18-year-old employee, with the intent of finding out what Megan was saying about her daughter.

After sharing her daughter’s story, Meier conducted a power point presentation, including the different types of bullying, the ways to prevent bullying and a pragmatic metaphor, which allowed students to openly express their feelings. Meier presented the students with a picture of puppies, to which many of the responded with, “Aw!” She then went on to question why the students would feel upset if she shouted at the dogs to go away, or kicked them away if they came up to disrupt her during her presentation. Some responses included, “They’re innocent,” or “They’re defenseless.”

Aaron Gomez, (’13), said, “Animals are people too.”

Meier explained that the puppies were just as “innocent” and “defenseless” as many of the adolescents that are victims of bullying.

To conclude her presentation, Meier opened the floor to the students’ questions. Ravin Patel, (’13), said, “How can we help prevent bullying at our school?”

Meier explained that students should make an effort to always stand up to others when they see others serving as the victim to either verbal or physical abuse.

Greg Greenberg (’13) said, “How many schools have you visited?”

Meier did not specify how many schools she has spoken at; however, she guesstimated that she has spoken to over 90,000 students within the past three years to present her Megan Meier Foundation.

The Megan Meier Foundation exists to promote awareness education and to promote the positive change to children, parents and educators in response to ongoing bullying and cyber bullying in children’s daily environments.

She said, “I know some of you are happy I got you out of class. Some of you are interested in listening. And some of you are probably thinking ‘Lady, I know already.’ Or ‘Lady, you’re wasting my time.’ But I don’t want any of you to be standing where I am today. There are no words to describe what it feels like to lose a child.”

If one thing can be learned from Meier’s inspirational lecture, it is that absolutely nothing warrants bullying, and more importantly, it only takes one person to stand up and say “Enough.”