Shea Shawhan of Plano Takes on the Bullies and Wins – Ray’s Ray of Hope [VIDEO]
Any parent who’s seen their child go through a episode of bullying knows the heartache that goes along with it. You want to lash out at the kid or kids taunting your child and the parents that raise such emotional misfits – but most of all, you want to give your child whatever love and support they’d need to see their way clear through the ordeal.
Shea Shawhan is one such child. Born with a brain injury which causes her to have seizures, she’d become the target of vicious bullies calling for her to be raped and die.
Stuff you cannot imagine other kids having the viciousness to say to another.
Yet they did; with it having gotten so bad that Shea’s mother, Kerri Ridell would accompany her daughter to school to sit in on her lunch period.
Eight months ago, the 18-year-old girl began receiving hateful text messages on her iPhone mocking her disability and her appearance.
One of the texts read: ‘Why are u still here. Clearly no one wants you. U only have special needs friends. And ur ugly and have a horrible fashion sense. Honestly ur clothes suck.’
Some of the missives addressed to the student were even more explicit and menacing, including one that stated: ‘Shea is so annoying but cute I want to do more than just kiss her I want to rape her then kill her. That will finally make sure she goes away for good.’
Shea’s mother, Kerri Riddell, believes that a group of kids from her daughter's school are responsible for the harassing text messages.
The texts have been sent from bogus phone numbers generated by web applications, making it difficult to identify the senders.
A message sent in late September even boasted that Shea and her mother would never be able to figure out who has been tormenting her.
'I am many because we are a group and a union of people who dislike u,’ the missive stated.
In a bid to stop the bullying, Keri Riddell has changed Shea's phone number and blocked many of the fake numbers, but messages are still trickling in at a steady pace.
‘Shea should just have one of her f***ing seizures and die because people at west don't want her,’ a message read. ‘That's the reason she has seizures, because that's karma for giving birth to a freaky slut.’
Other texts sent to Shea’s number urged the girl to kill herself and ridiculed her for not having a date to the homecoming dance because she is an ‘ugly freak.’
‘I'm pretty sure ur going to hell. God doesn't like sluts,’ a missive read.’ U need to be cleaned.’
Concerned for her daughter’s safety, Keri Riddell has been forced to come to Shea’s school and stay with her for lunch to keep her company.
In the face of such cruelty, a defiant Shea sent a message to her mother saying that she will not let anyone bully her.
‘I'm not popular and don't need to be,’ the teen wrote. ‘I only have 5 friends and that is plenty for me.
Keri Riddell explained online that her daughter’s disability stems from a brief loss of blood to the brain during her delivery.
As a result of the injury to the frontal lobe of her brain, Shea has been suffering from life-threatening seizures.
Miss Riddell had set up a Facebook account called Imwithshea to spread the word about her daughter’s predicament and raise awareness of bullying. So far, the page has drawn more than 19,000 followers. (Note: it has more than that as of this writing!)
Shea’s story has touched a nerve with Internet users nationwide, sparking a firestorm on Twitter and even earning the teen an invitation to a Dallas Mavericks game, where she got a chance to meet with owner Mark Cuban and pose for pictures with the team’s cheerleaders.
According to Riddell, she and her daughter have been overwhelmed by an outpouring of support from students at Plano West and members of the community.
Riddell said that the Plano Police Department has assigned a detective to investigate the alleged bullying, and the school also has been making strides to identify the senders of the menacing texts.
In the face of unrelenting bullying, how many other kids would have the inner fortitude to say that the hateful texts don’t hurt.
Just to say that 5 friends are enough for her speaks volumes for the kind of inner strength Shea has.
However it’s sad to think of how many lives will be lost because of the things little savages say and do.
Shea has won, and hopefully her battle will inspire others to not give up in the face of unrelenting cruelty.
Shea Shawhan - Today's "Ray's Ray of Hope!"