Toni Medrano, a 29 year old Minnesotan, set herself on fire in her mother’s backyard and died five days later. Why did she commit suicide in such a public manner?
Because she’d been bullied relentlessly on television and the internet, at least in part. Bullycide is not just a teenage problem.
Last November, three weeks after giving birth to her son Adrian, Toni Medrano allegedly drank a fifth of vodka then went to sleep on the couch next to him. Sometime during the night she rolled over and asphyxiated the baby.
Medrano was charged with two counts of second degree manslaughter on June 8th, which caught the attention of the Nancy Grace show. On her June 11th talk show Nancy Grace dubbed Toni the ‘vodka mom’ and viciously ridiculed her. The nickname and story was picked up by news agencies who continued the harangue. Cyberspace sheeple followed the popular Grace’s lead and took the cruel humiliation, abuse, and threats online.
TwinCities.com’s Pioneer Press reports that this isn’t the first time a subject of Nancy Grace’s particular brand of judgmental derision has killed herself.
I am not condoning Medrano or her actions in any way. But I am saying that with popular celebrities modeling bullying behavior it’s no wonder kids follow suit in schools.
To stop our school children from becoming bullies we must stop giving adult bullies not only our permission, but financial rewards for public bullying. Bullying isn’t entertainment and shouldn’t be promoted as such.