Bullied Fil-Am girl sets up support group to help victims

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at May 07 2014 04:46 PM | Updated as of May 08 2014 12:46 AM

CARSON, California – A Filipino-American girl who was teased and called names by her schoolmates for most of her school life nearly ended her life.

"When I was 12, I tried taking my own life because people told me to kill myself and I did it. I tried to do it because I believed them. I felt worthless. Because that's how they made me feel and they were never held liable for that," said Jade Archer.

Archer not only survived the attempted suicide three years ago, she has since gained the strength to fight against bullying by starting the support group Jade Against Bullying.
On Tuesday night, she shared her story with the City of Carson as they voted to outlaw bullying.

"Bullying is not a part of growing up and it never should be. No one should ever grow up feeling like they're worth nothing because that's what I did. It's not a fun experience," Archer said.

The City Council, including its Filipino vice mayor, voted unanimously to advance a local ordinance that makes bullying a misdemeanor offense.

US officials said more than a quarter of children are bullied.

Under the proposal, Carson, which has one of the highest Filipino concentrations in the country, would make bullying--whether physical, emotional, and online--a misdemeanor offense.

The ordinance will now go through a second reading later this month and may go into effect as early as next month.

"It gives us hope because I've been bullied throughout my life and I never had anything like this that helped me," Archer added.

While some community members took turns on the podium addressing the council including Jade's mother.

"She wanted to take herself and kill herself. If it weren't for one person to stand and say I know something's going on with you I wanna know. If it didn't take one person to step and say hey there's something wrong she wouldn't be here today," said her mother, Valerie Archer.

Other Filipinos, especially those with children, said they support the efforts to outlaw bullying.

However, they wonder how the 86-page ordinance can be enforced and implemented with long term and educational goals in mind.

"I am not for bullying that's a fact but I am for teaching and as far as this, I don't know if that would be teaching anything it would be a slap on the hand then what will happen next," said Primrose Villenas, a kindergarten teacher and a mother.

Community leader Fe Koons added, "They have to hold workshops for parents and teachers how they can deal with kids who bully other children in school".

Several cities throughout the US have also made anti-bullying laws that would punish parents of alleged bullies.