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Letters to News Stations and Suicide/Abuse in the News
(This page is always being updated)


A Few Letters and Responses from the Local News Stations

August 2000

I wrote to Ted Canova WCCO News Director and he replied:

Julie, Thanks for your email. In May our Dimension team produced a story on suicide that was very powerful. I’m going to forward your message to the reporter. Your mission seems like an important follow-up to that story. Ted

October 2000

I wrote to Don Shelby with WCCO News and he replied:

Julie, What a wonderful program. I’ll spread the word, and see if we get any bites from around here. Keep me posted. Don Shelby

January 2001

I wrote to Ted Canova WCCO News Director again and he replied:

Thank you for your email. I think your website would be a great story. I’ve instructed other news managers to pursue it with you. Ted

May 2001

I wrote to Randi Kaye one of the News Anchors for WCCO and she replied:

Hi there…

I haven’t forgotten about this. I’m trying to get some days nailed down to do a story with you. What’s your schedule like? What days/times are best… As you know I do a lot of technology stories so I would have to gear it toward the website and then expand to the teen suicide problem. Does that sound okay to you? It sounds like your website it pretty active. Do you give advice/counsel online or what? Please let me know. Thanks, Randi

To KARE11...

Thanks for sharing your story with KARE11. This information will be directed to our news department for possible coverage. Keep up the good work!

I was on both the WCCO 10pm News and the KARE11 5pm News. The only way to get through to them is persistence and it was much appreciated as I soon had plenty of volunteers.



Suicide in the News

Good To Know: Trying To Understand Youth Suicides
October 13, 2010 9:57 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — TV news usually won’t dwell on the reporting of suicides. But the loss of two Minnesota ninth graders in these woods is among the exceptions, because their deaths seem so unusual to us. In Good To Know, Don Shelby says kids killing themselves are an all too common story these days.

The World Health Organization says two million children will attempt to take their own life, every year, in the United States.

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, suicide is the fourth leading killer of children 10 to 14, and the third leading cause of death in adolescents 15 to 19.

Mental health experts say that underlying most of these suicides is depression or another untreated mental issue. We do not suggest it was the case in Lakeland. We simply don’t know all the facts, yet.

But, people who work in the field tell us there are signs: sadness, withdrawal, expressions of hopelessness, depression.

**Parents are apt to tell their teenagers to just snap out of it, to tell them it is just a phase, it will get better.**
For two million kids a year, they won’t live long enough to find out that might be true.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This page is dedicated to some who have decided the only way out of their misery is to die, at a very young age, by their own hand. It’s also to share a bit of their story and why they felt the need to leave us so soon. My heart breaks for each one...and their families. And, perhaps it’s for my own selfish needs...to remind myself, when I come to this page, how tragic suicide is and how much work needs to be done to help those out there still hurting and wondering their fate.

My prayers to all of you who have yet to reach out. God Bless You. Love, Julie

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Following Are in no Particular Order

6 Teen Suicides in 6 Months in 1 Ohio School District
January 17, 2018


Florida minors charged with cyberstalking after girl's apparent suicide, police say


Two minors in Florida have been charged with cyberstalking in connection to a 12-year-old girl’s apparent suicide, police said.

The arrests of two Surfside Middle School students, both 12, follow the Jan. 10 death of Gabriella Green who reportedly hanged herself, Panama City Beach officials said in a news release on Monday. The medical examiner is working to determine Green’s cause of death, police said.

During their investigation into Green's death, authorities said they identified two minors, whose names were not released, after being notified of potential cyberbullying.

After checking social media accounts and examining cell phones, investigators said they interviewed the two suspects, with parental permission. Both minors reportedly admitted to cyberbullying behavior and told police they knew “that said conduct would result in emotional distress,” a police report said.

During the interviews, one suspect reportedly told an investigator that she had started rumors about Green, saying that the deceased had “sexually transmitted diseases,” the police report said. The behavior also reportedly included "vulgar name-calling ... and threats to 'expose' personal and sensitive details of the victim's life."

The second suspect allegedly told authorities that he’d had a video call with Green, during which she reportedly said she’d attempted to hang herself and had red marks on her neck.

"(He) responded by saying something to the effect of, 'If you're going to do it, just do it,' and ended the call," police wrote. "He immediately regretted that statement, and began calling and text-messaging her, but did not receive a response."

Authorities noted that while the reported bullying occurred before Green’s death, their investigation did not reveal that it was the direct cause.

Tanya Green, Gabriella’s mother, told the Panama City News Herald that the arrests were “gratifying” but still laid blame on parents and the school system for what happened to her daughter.


Families blame '13 Reasons Why' for 2 teens' suicides
Published June 27, 2017 Fox News

The grieving families of two California teens who committed suicide in April just days after watching Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” said the show acted as a trigger for their daughters. Bella Herndon, who was three days shy of 16, and Priscilla Chui, who had battled depression and struggled in school, did not know each other, but had watched the show at around the same time and died four days apart.

“It’s very graphic, especially the two-minute scene where she slits her wrists in a bathtub,” Peter Chui, Priscilla’s uncle, told KTVU of the show. “I feel it’s dangerous for that small percentage of young adults who the show can become a trigger for them and I feel as if the show gives only one alternative for cyber bullying and other teenage issues.”

Chui, who lived with his niece in San Mateo, said his niece was battling depression and was having trouble with her grades. Chui said Priscilla, 15, told him he hated school.“And I feel like the absolute worst adult because I kept forcing her to go to school,” he told KTVU.


September 2017
Clive Teen’s Suicide Fuels Parents’ Mission to Find Help for Others


CLIVE, Iowa--As a young boy, Sergei Neubauer suffered abuse after the government placed him in an orphanage in Russia. A Clive couple eventually adopted him and brought him home to Iowa but could never truly take away his pain. Sergei took his own life after struggling for years with mental health issues. Last month, his parents buried him on what would have been his 19th birthday.

"There just isn't any," Mary Neubauer, Sergei's mom, said of the long-term mental health treatment facilities she believes her son really needed.

Neubauer said Sergei dealt with night terrors from his abuse in Russia, along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and depression. The family tried counseling and while Sergei would sometimes show outward signs of happiness, he frequently struggled with the weight of his mental health challenges.

His parents struggled to find the right place to help him get better. They could never find appropriate treatment in Iowa but tried expensive out-of-state facilities. Neubauer remains frustrated that there was no better option.

"If you break your arm, your family doctor says, 'here's the specialist you should go see.' If you--God forbid--have cancer, your doctor says, 'here's the specialist you need to go see.'" Neubauer said, "And in Sergei's case, it was obvious that he had mental health needs. And we were saying to people where do we go?"


Lee’s Summit North rallies around suicide prevention effort after losing student
SEPTEMBER 30, 2017


The student section at Lee’s Summit North High School’s stadium took on a purple tinge Saturday, which seemed odd considering that’s also the main color of the Blue Springs team on the other side of the field.

Purple is also a color that symbolizes suicide prevention.

The day before, that issue became all too real for Lee’s Summit North’s students and staff when Gemesha Thomas, a 17-year-old senior, shot herself in the school and later died at a Lee’s Summit hospital.



AUGUST 26, 2015

Father of Suicide Victim Hosts Teen Suicide Prevention Seminar

NKENY, Iowa -- As the school year gets underway, a Johnston father is urging educators and parents the learn the signs of adolescent suicide.

On Wednesday, Brian Carico will speak at the a teen suicide prevention seminar in Ankeny. His 15 – year – old son, Cameron, committed suicide in January of 2012.

After his son's death, Carico has made it his mission to help others identify mental illnesses before it's too late.

“Many kids suffer in silence, sometime what we see in kids with depression is sometimes different than what we see in adults and a lot of times we misinterpret the signs ,” he said.

The seminar will discuss how parents can approach the topic of suicide with students on the elementary level through college level. Suicides are the second leading cause of death in people ages 15 – 24.

Carico worries the stigma of mental health prevents people from getting the help they need. He hopes the seminar will help bridge that gap.

“I felt that with kids coming back to school it would be a great time to talk to parents about some warning signs and things to work for to just have a conversation about what depression looks like and how we could help as community,” he said.

More than 200 people were registered for the event.


March 17, 2010
After 7-Year-Old Gabriel Myers' Suicide, Fla. Bill Looks to Tighten Access to Psychiatric Drugs


The apparent suicide of 7-year-old boy Gabriel Myers, who was taking several psychiatric medications, has led to the introduction of a bill in the Florida legislature, which would assure that powerful mental health drugs dispensed to Florida foster care children would be more closely monitored. The proposal is largely based on the findings of a task force formed after Gabriel locked himself in a bathroom and hung himself with a shower cord last April.

Gabriel was on Seroquel - used to treat bipolar disorder - and other psychiatric drugs linked by federal regulators to potentially dangerous side effects, including suicide, but the risks may not have been adequately communicated to his foster parents.

The drugs are not approved for use by young children. But doctors often prescribe them 'off-label,' for purposes for which the drugs have not been approved.

Sen. Ronda Storms said prescribed drugs have replaced talk therapy and are over-prescribed to subdue unruly children. The measure would require an independent review before psychiatric drugs can be administered to children 10 or younger. "All you do is mask the behavioral problems by treating him (psychotropically). All you're doing is putting him in a chemical straight jacket so that he can't act out so you can get him to 18 and dump him into adulthood and that's not acceptable," said Storms to CBS affiliate WFOR.

Gabriel's death prompted a statewide investigation that found 13 percent, or 2,699, of all foster children are on such drugs, according to a Department of Children and Families(DCF) study. That compares with only an estimated 4 percent to 5 percent of children in the general population.

Child advocates say the prescribing doctors often lack pertinent information on the child, including medical history and behavioral background. The bill requires caregivers and doctors to report any adverse side effects, which DCF must document.

The bill also requires children to have a mental health treatment plan that includes counseling for children prescribed such drugs.


8-year-old Gabriel Taye died by suicide 2 days after being assaulted at school
January 26, 2017 - Cincinnati, Ohio


CINCINNATI — An Ohio coroner has reopened an investigation into the death of an 8-year-old boy to examine security-camera video from the boy's school that shows him getting pulled headfirst into a restroom wall two days before he died by suicide.

On Friday, Cincinnati Public Schools released 23 minutes of the Jan. 24 video from Carson Elementary School that shows Gabriel Taye on the restroom floor, not moving, for six minutes as more than a dozen students walk by him. Some students kicked him, others poked him until an assistant principal came to Gabriel’s aid. The tape was released after The Cincinnati Enquirer learned of its existence and requested it.

Gabriel, the statement said, “was an outstanding young man, and this is a great loss for his family and our school community.”

Gabriel hanged himself at home Jan. 26, two days after the restroom incident. The school video shows Gabriel walking into the restroom and reaching out to shake another student's hand. That student then pulls Gabriel into a wall. Gabriel slumps to the tile and lays motionless.

A Cincinnati police homicide detective investigating Gabriel's death looked at the video nearly a week later and wrote a Feb. 3 report to Cincinnati Public Schools officials recounting the assault. The detective, Eric Karaguleff, called the incident bullying bordering on criminal assault. The police closed its investigation after Karaguleff's report.

The school district had refused to release the video but decided to do so to counter what it said was the detective's suggestion that the children who poked or nudged or kicked Gabriel were assaulting him.
You can read the full article here


A Minnesota child dies by suicide April 19, 2017


These are dangerous days; this is the time of the year when people are most likely to die by suicide.

Without mentioning why Stillwater Area Schools’ Oak-Land Junior High School posted suicide awareness phone numbers and a few pieces of advice on how to talk about the problem. That’s almost always a sign that a student has died by suicide. [ed. update: The school sent letters and made robocalls to parents]

Experts often fear that if suicide is mentioned publicly, more kids will succumb to it. It’s called contagion, which forces schools to walk a delicate line when bringing up the reality of suicide.

Colin Morrissey was just 14 years old when he took his own life last week.

His obituary is not a whisper.

Colin Joseph Morrissey, 14, of Stillwater MN, a perpetually kind, intentionally quirky boy who wore size 12 shoes but never grew a whisker; took his life in a bad moment in time on April 11, 2017. He will grow into adulthood under God’s direct care with the help of his Grampa Garry DeMott, Grandpa Larry Morrissey, Great Grandma Margaret Morrissey, his mother’s friend Nancy Chinander, and so many others who have greeted him at heaven’s gate with love.


Authorities Won’t File Charges in Minnesota Suicide

May 9, 2012 5:00 PM


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities say they won’t file charges in the suicide of a 13-year-old girl in southeastern Minnesota whose parents say she was bullied.

The Dodge County sheriff’s office issued a statement Wednesday saying “harassment and bullying were likely factors” in the death of Rachel Ehmke of rural Mantorville on April 28. Her death prompted an outpouring of grief and much discussion about the problem of bullying, including a front-page editorial in The Post-Bulletin of Rochester headlined, “Please, can we stop it?”

But the statement said investigators found no specific incident or action by any particular student they believe was responsible for the seventh-grader’s death. Because of that, the county attorney’s office decided there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone.

Rachel’s father, Rick Ehmke, of Mantorville, said he was initially stunned when he learned prosecutors had decided against charging any of the teens who allegedly bullied his daughter. But he said charges wouldn’t bring her back, and that the guilt they should be feeling might be punishment enough. He said he’d like to see them now become champions of the anti-bullying movement.

“These girls, they’re going to have to live with this their whole lives and unless there’s something really wrong inside their heads, they’re going to carry a heavy burden for a long time, and that’s charges enough,” Ehmke said.

Investigators also determined it was likely Rachel who sent a derogatory text message about herself to several students at Kasson-Mantorville Middle School two days before her death. The message urged students to forward it to others as a way of driving her out of the school. A police officer questioned her about the message the day before she died. Authorities later determined the text originated from her father’s house “and possibly from Rachel herself.”

Sheriff’s investigators said they found no suicide note or any specific indication from Rachel in a search of her mother’s house that explained why she chose to kill herself.

“Rachel’s family indicated that she was upset about the text message being investigated and she mentioned wanting to change schools. The family said that Rachel had been dealing with on-going bullying in school for several months,” the statement from the Douglas County sheriff’s office said.

It continued: “Due to there being no suicide note left, we can only speculate as to her motivation for sending this message out. We did receive information that she had been talking to friends about trying to transfer out of (her school) because of problems she had been having there and had mentioned this to her parents.”

Ehmke said he believes his daughter’s decision to send the anonymous text was just another effort to switch schools and get away from the kids who had been bullying her at least since last October. He said Rachel texted him the night before she died and was adamant that she was not going back to school the next Monday. He said he told her they would discuss that when her mother returned from an out-of-state trip, but they never got the chance.

The sheriff’s office also decried “a rush to judgment” about other teens whom some people blamed for the text message. It said several students and even some parents had been “singled out, harassed and bullied” over the incident, and that those who targeted them risk being charged if they continue.

The investigation remains open pending final autopsy results.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Katelyn Nicole Davis (February 20, 2004 – December 30, 2016)


Katelyn Davis was a 12-year-old American girl who died by suicide. She hanged herself from a tree in her back yard while live streaming the event. The video was shared on social media, particularly on Facebook. The resulting publicity brought an outpouring of online support and attention to the issues of suicide causes and prevention, child abuse, bullying, and appropriate use of social media.

Davis was an active blogger on multiple social media sites, and recorded dozens of videos in the last month of her life. The videos detailed insight upon the experiences in her life, leading up to the day of her death. In various videos, she sings, shares spiritual philosophy, or takes care of her younger siblings Abbigail and A.J. In other videos, she argues with her mother, alleges criminal activity, breaks down emotionally, and claims being neglected by her biological father alongside being physically and sexually abused by her stepfather. In one of her videos, she mentioned that her stepfather encouraged her to kill herself. She commented: "He told me I should go hang myself because I was worthless." The allegations of abuse caused the Polk County Police to open an investigation. Davis also said that she had been bullied at school, and that she had been a victim of catfishing by someone pretending to be of the opposite gender online.

Davis considered herself to be emo and struggled with depression. She had previous suicide attempts, most recently through medication overdose, for which she was hospitalized. She also engaged in self-harm, cutting her wrists and thighs, just a few days before her death. However, she also sought to help others overcome problems with both self-harm and depression.


Candlelight Vigil To Honor Bullied Iowa Teen

April 23, 2012 7:56 AM

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A candlelight vigil will be held Tuesday in Davenport in honor of a bullied Iowa teen who committed suicide.


Fourteen-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr., of Primghar, died April 15 of what the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office has described only as a “self-inflicted injury.”

The teen’s mother, Jeannie Chambers, has said she knew her son was being harassed for being gay but she didn’t realize the extent of the bullying.

Q-C Pride Inc. is organizing Tuesday’s vigil.


Anoka Parents Protest Treatment Of LGBT Students

February 28, 2011 11:24 PM


ANOKA, Minn. (WCCO) – Parents and students packed the Anoka Hennepin School Board meeting Monday tonight to express their concerns about harassment and bullying, especially of LGBT students.

“Things need to change,” said Tammy Aaberg, whose son, Justin, committed suicide last July. Aaberg said her son, who was openly gay, was bullied at school.

“They need to rescind the neutrality policy and get these teachers training,” Aaberg said.

Aaberg joined about 100 other people to protest the district’s refusal to create a safe learning environment for all students.

Among those in attendance were straight allies. Student Mike Thurston spoke out in support of changing the district’s policy. Thurston said he has been bullied at school and thinks the only way to stop it is to change the district’s policy, which does not allow teachers to address sexual orientation.

“So that they don’t get the wrong idea or too scared or not knowing,” Thurston explained. “Hopefully it gets some teacher training to as far as being able to talk to students about this issue.”

The school board would not comment, but it did distribute a three-page letter outlining the steps the district has taken to address the issues of harassment and bullying.


2 Teenagers Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide

March 22, 2011 10:20 PM


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A tragedy has gripped the close-knit communities of Perham and Amor in Otter Tail County.

A 16-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy have both died as a result of a shooting. Police say it appears to be a murder-suicide, with one of the teens suffering a self-inflicted gun shot.

The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office said they received a call about shots fired at 30811 Twin Lake Road around 9:07 p.m. When they arrived, they found the two teens with gunshot wounds.

The boy has been identified by Sanford Medical Center in Fargo as Dylan Cox. The girl, Tabitha Belmonte, was a sophomore at Perham-Dent High School.

Belmonte was pronounced dead at the scene and Cox was airlifted to Sanford Hospital, where he later died.

The Sheriff’s Office said that the incident is under investigation with help from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

As a safety precaution, the Perham School District placed the schools on lockdown, so they could monitor who was coming in and out of the building. They had counselors at the school, as well.

Perham-Dent School District Superintendent Tamara Uselman says the middle school also received a threatening prank voicemail that police say was unrelated. Normally, that sort of call would send the school into lockdown, according to Uselman, but the school was already in lockdown.

Uselman says the school will keep counselors on hand through the week. She says Cox used to be a student at Perham High School, but had enrolled in another area school.

Those who knew Belmonte describe her as kind and determined, keeping up her grades as a teenage mother and even devoted herself as a member of the school speech team.

Belmonte’s family released this statement Tuesday:

“We are in shock and disbelief about this tragic event, which we do not understand. We thank you all for your sympathy and prayers, but request that the privacy of both families be respected as we grieve. Please pray for the souls of both children involved as well as baby Emma who has sadly been left behind!”


Grieving Father Talks About Teen’s Suicide

April 18, 2011 7:59 AM


NEW LONDON, Minn. (WCCO) — Hundreds of people from the small community of New London-Spicer gathered Sunday to deal with the crisis of teen suicide and embrace two grieving families.

A father says through his community, he’s able to find strength following the death of his teenage daughter.

Earlier this month, Tim Lucas of New London-Spicer found his 15-year-old daughter Haley dead. There was a suicide note next to her.

Two days after Haley’s death, 19-year old Zach Jones killed himself.

“Somehow suicide was an answer, was the way out. That was a huge lie. And spread that to our children and let them know it is not a solution. It does not help anything. It does not solve anything,” Lucas said.

The community forum brought together mental health experts, school officials and church leaders.

They plan to meet again next Monday.


Meeting To Be Held On Teen Suicides, Death Pact Denied April 18, 2011 6:17 PM


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After two 14-year-old students committed suicide over the weekend in Lyon County, the Marshal Public School District has organized a meeting, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, to discuss concerns relating to student grief.

The meeting is scheduled to take place in the Marshall School Theater at 5:30 p.m. For additional information on the meeting, see the district’s website for information on typical grief responses for children.

“It is a very difficult item for a community to deal with,” said Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Klint Willert. “It is something that, as a community, we grieve.”

Hayley Fentress, of Rural Lynd, and Paige Moravetz, of Lynd, were found dead of apparent suicide Saturday morning, police said. Both were students at Marshall Middle School.

During a press conference Monday afternoon, Willert said there is no evidence to support the rumors, spread through social media, that there was a suicide cult at the school.


New York Bullying Victim Kills Herself Staten Island teen walks in front of bus
By Matt Cantor, Newser Staff Posted Jan 3, 2012 5:31 PM CST


(Newser) – A Staten Island 15-year-old whose family said she got bullied at school has died after walking in front of a bus holding a suicide note, reports the Daily News. Classmates had taken the belongings of Amanda Cummings and even made mean comments on her Facebook page after the incident, her uncle said. "I’m not going to tolerate this. I’m gonna go full force," said Keith Cummings. "Kids can't do this to each other."

Amanda was a "beautiful, healthy, happy, normal young girl," said a cousin, but when it came to troubles at school, "she was pretty quiet about it." She was friends with an 18-year-old boy, which apparently made girls in her grade jealous. "She didn’t phrase it so much to the family but made little comments here and there ... in journals, online or through her Facebook page," said Brandy Henderson, adding that the family had been "trying to deal with" the issue. “I don’t feel anything towards (the bullies) except sadness that it had to lead to something like this."


Creeps Took Pics of Dying Girl After Suicide Leap Posted Aug 11, 2010 10:36 PM CDT

As 15-year-old Robyn Nixon lay dying on the pavement after jumping from the top of a multi-story car park, some callous bystanders took photographs of her on their cellphones. The British teen made the decision to take her own life after being excluded from a group of friends and breaking up with her boyfriend days before. The coroner who handled the case praised some passers-by who tried to help, but blasted others for their ghoulish behavior.

Robyn Nixon, 15, had suffered "psychological bullying" and jumped from the top floor of the car park in Weymouth, Dorset, on April 11th this year.

She had been excluded from a group of friends and had also broken up from her boyfriend of seven months in the days before her death, an inquest heard. The hearing was told how Robyn had been speaking to her ex-boyfriend, now 17, in the minutes before she jumped to her death. He had been in the town with his new girlfriend and they walked to the car park after Robyn telephoned him, concerned for her safety. Just moments after the pair arrived, Robyn ended the telephone call and stepped from the edge of the building. Her ex-boyfriend rushed to her side but she suffered massive head injuries and was declared dead in hospital shortly afterward.

Mr Johnston praised the actions of passers-by who tried to help Robyn, but he said some had acted "in a shabby way" by taking photographs as she lay dying. "You can only presume something like this has never happened to them, but it does make you worried about humanity," he said. He added: "This was a child's life and you were taking photos on your mobile phones. "I'm sorry, but I think that is horrid and the people who did that ought to be ashamed of themselves." The coroner said no one could know what was going through Robyn's mind in the moments before she jumped, but concluded she took her own life. He said at the inquest at Dorset County Hall in Dorchester: "She had two areas of problems. "One was being excluded, if that's the right word, from a group of friends at school, and the other was that she had only recently broken up with a boyfriend. "It's impossible for me to begin to guess what provoked her on this occasion to feel that she had to go up on to the multi-storey. "It might have been a combination of the two, or one more than the other. I simply don't know." He said Robyn may not have expected to see her ex-boyfriend with another girl and "that was what made up her mind", he added. Notes were later discovered in her bag, one reading that "there is nothing for anybody else to hear", Mr Johnston said. Robyn's mother Sue Nixon wore a T-shirt bearing her daughter's image and the words "forget me not" on the front and the message "bullying stops here!" on the back. She said she thought her daughter may have suffered from depression. Robyn had been playing truant from All Saints School, Weymouth, after experiencing problems there in the 18 months before her death, Mrs Nixon said. Her mother offered to speak to the school but Robyn said that would "make things worse", the inquest heard, and threatened to run away if she did so.

Mrs Nixon, of Dawlish Crescent, Weymouth, told the inquest: "She wasn't going to school as she felt so isolated, because she'd had a fall-out with friends and she just felt that everybody hated her." She said her daughter was subject to "psychological bullying" rather than physical bullying. She had even been taunted on a social networking site while on a family holiday to India in March. One of Robyn's friends said she had confided in him two days before her death that she intended to either "cut herself" or jump from the multi-storey car park. Asked by the coroner if Robyn gave a reason, the 16-year-old boy said: "She just said she wasn't happy with her life at the moment. "I asked her why. I told her she could get through it, and that it was a certain stage of her life. "She said: 'Yes, but I've got to live through this stage'." Robyn later promised to him that she would not go through with her threats, sending him a text message to say: "I'm not going to top myself." A 15-year-old witness told the inquest of Robyn's final moments. "She got up and started walking to the edge. She just continued walking. She stepped off and I froze to the spot because I didn't want to get any closer." The family declined to comment outside the court.


Fifth Gay Teen Suicide in Three Weeks Sparks Debate


Mourners at Rutgers University honored the memory of Tyler Clementi, whose death last week was one of five suicides by gay teenagers in the last three weeks.

Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge Tuesday, days after his roommate allegedly posted video on the Internet of him having sex with another man.

The recent eruption of gay teen suicides has been across the country, from the East Coast to Indiana, Texas to California, where 13-year-old Seth Walsh, who recently hanged himself, was memorialized Friday night. Walsh, whose family said he was harassed by bullies for being gay, died Tuesday, after being in a coma for nine days. "The harassment and the teasing and the taunting just became too much," Seth's grandmother, Judly Walsh said Friday night at a memorial service in Tehachapi, Calif. Police interviewed some of the young people who taunted Seth the day he died, but determined that their actions do not constitute a crime.

In Clementi's case, the young man's roommate, Dharun Ravi, and another classmate, Molly Wei, face several charges of invasion of privacy for what prosecutors say was a surreptitious filming of Clementi in his own dorm room, a recording that they then allegedly broadcast live on the Internet. New Jersey law enforcement officials have said they are still investigating the case, trying to determine whether they can pursue more serious charges against Ravi and Wei. Lawyers for Ravi and Wei have not returned messages left by ABC News but Ravi's attorney, Steve Altman, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger that he does not think his client can be held criminally responsible for Clementi's death.

In another recent case, Raymond Chase, an openly gay 19-year-old student at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., hanged himself in his dorm room Wednesday. While his brother told ABC News that it was not brought on by bullying, his suicide has sparked further debate on the nature of support for gay teens and gays on American campuses.

"It is important to allow young people to come out and to find support and to realize that once you do come out you're not alone," said Shane Windmeyer, the executive director of Campus Pride, an organization focused on building safer and more LGBT-friendly campuses. The deaths have provoked nationwide introspection about bullying, and how gay teens are treated, from the heartland to Hollywood.

Openly gay singer Lance Bass recently admitted that as a closeted teen he would take part in bullying of other students. "I can tell you right now, when I was in high school in Mississippi, I was one of the first ones to jump on the bandwagon to make fun of a gay person," Bass recently told MTV.

Windmeyer said that when celebrities throw their support behind an issue it can be a major help. "It brings acceptance, it brings the issue right into the forefront, in many ways gets this into the hearts and minds who need to hear about it," Windmeyer said.

According to a recently released study by Campus Pride on how gay students are treated in higher education, gay students experienced significantly greater harassment and discrimination, and they were more likely to seriously consider leaving school because of it.

The study also found that there is a lack of safety and inclusiveness for gay students on campuses across the country.

There is hope, however, that in light of Tyler Clementi's tragic death, and the nation's shock at its circumstances, bullying of gay teens is an issue that schools are now being forced to address.


Suicide the Answer for Russian Teens

Alcohol abuse, rigid parenting make matters worse By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff Posted Mar 10, 2012 4:42 PM CST

(Newser) – For many Russian teenagers, the only way out is death. Experts there are already familiar with the nation's high teen suicide rate (about five a day) and know the causes all too well—but say solutions are hampered by prejudice and social conformity, the Washington Post reports. The most common causes are alcoholism, rigid parenting, domestic violence, and a profound prejudice against psychiatry that dates back to the Soviet era. “At home, you order, you enforce, you punish your kids instead of trying to understand them,” says a child psychiatrist.

The Post looks at two teens, Liza and Nastya, who committed suicide together after Liza couldn't afford singing lessons for the school glee club. Liza, the more complex and introverted of the two, posted online that she would “respect to the end the person who stayed with her to the end.” But "when you’re 14, you don’t clearly understand what suicide is,” says the singing teacher that only Nastya could afford. "'How pretty I’ll be at my funeral!’ They don’t understand they can’t watch the reaction. It’s the end.”


Bullied Teen, 14, Steps in Front of Tractor-Trailer

Pa. boy Brandon Bitner is the latest victim of torment to kill self

Posted Nov 10, 2010 1:29 PM CST


Newser) – A 14-year-old boy stepped in front of a tractor-trailer in central Pennsylvania last week, and became the latest victim of school bullying to turn to suicide, the Patriot-News reports. Brandon Bitner, who had a close group of friends and a passion for the violin, wrote in his suicide note that he felt unable to stop the torment he faced for three years at school. Brandon's fate, along with others including Tyler Clementi, have prompted a wave of support from local and national anti-bullying groups like the It Gets Better Project.

“People have to know that this can happen to anyone, even people you don’t suspect,” says Bitner’s cousin. Aside from an incident just prior to Bitner’s death, his difficulties were rarely reported to the school’s principal, but “the fact they don’t report it doesn’t let us off the hook. We need to reach out to kids,” he said.


2 Teen Girls Hugged, Stepped in Front of Train - Third Pennsylvania girl got cold feet just before suicide
By Harry Kimball, Newser Staff Posted Mar 1, 2010 9:24 AM CST


(Newser) – Two girls killed by a speeding Amtrak train last week in Pennsylvania actually committed suicide, according to a witness and autopsy results. Vanessa Dorwart and Gina Gentile, 15 and 16, stepped on to the tracks Thursday morning just before an Acela from Boston to Washington, DC, came through town. A third girl who had planned to join them in ending her life says they embraced before being hit by the train. Both girls were apparently upset by the recent death of Gentile’s boyfriend in a traffic accident, the Delaware County Daily Times reports. Along with the witness’ account of events, the coroner concluded that the nature of their injuries shows they were struck head on, not while attempting to cross the tracks. Police believe as many as seven persons could have been, or still are, involved in a suicide pact. They know they cannot bring their daughters back. What they want to know now, is what can be done so this doesn’t happen to any other parent. - Norwood Police Chief Mark DelVecchio, on the girls' parents


Two-Thirds Blame Churches for Gay Teen Suicides

People hear homophobic messages from the pulpit, says poll Posted Oct 22, 2010 6:10 PM CDT


(Newser) – About 65% of Americans think that anti-gay messages from religious leaders contribute to suicides among homosexual youths, a new poll finds. Slightly more, 72%, agree that religion at least somehow contributes to negative views of gays and lesbians, say researchers at the nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute. Twice as many people gave churches low marks as gave them high marks.

The leader of the gay rights group Faith in America tells the Salt Lake Tribune that the results point to progress. “There is a growing awareness and understanding about the harm that is caused when society places a religious or moral stamp of disapproval on the lives of gay and lesbian individuals, especially youths," he says.


Teen suicide probe looks at charges in bullying
School and online comments tracked by Amherst police

Jamey Rodemeyer

September 22, 2011, 7:11 PM

Amherst police are investigating whether school bullies could be charged with harassment or hate crimes related to the suicide of Williamsville North High School freshman Jamey Rodemeyer.

Jamey was found dead outside his home Sunday morning after years of complaints by him that he was bullied and subjected to hateful comments in school and online, mostly related to his sexual orientation. "We're going to look into whether he was the victim of any crimes leading up to his suicide," Police Chief John C. Askey said. "We're not indicating, not speculating at this point, that that is the cause of his death, ... but independently, there may have been crimes that have been committed against him." Askey said he spoke Wednesday with Williamsville School Superintendent Scott G. Martzloff, who has pledged the district's cooperation.

Members of the public, including those from the school community, have reached out to police in recent days with information suggesting that Jamey had been subjected to what would amount to criminal harassment, Askey said. "We've heard that there were some specific students, an identifiable group of students, that had specifically targeted Jamey, or had been picking on him for a period of time," Askey said. While investigators are focusing on what may have transpired in the recent past, he said, police are under the impression that one to three students may have been bothering Jamey since he was a student at Heim Middle School.

"We're looking into it to see if he was the victim of any crimes, and that's the bottom line," the chief said. "We're going to be speaking to school officials and students and anyone with direct information about crimes that may have been committed against this individual."

Jamey's mother had previously told The Buffalo News that she believed that a core group of middle school students bullied her son and that the situation worsened for him about a year ago, when many anonymous posts began showing up on Jamey's Formspring blog stating that he would be better off dead. She knew about them because guidance counselors at the school had spoken with friends of Jamey who reported the posts. Many of his friends came to his defense on Formspring.

In a short YouTube video Jamey did in May, he expressed regret for creating the Formspring account "because people would just constantly send me hate."

The anonymous posts included:
* "Kill your self!!!! You have nothing left!"
* "Listen to us, you're a bad person, you don't belong here, jump off a bridge or something!"
* "Go kill yourself, you're worthless, ugly and dont have a point to live."
* "You weren't born this way. You shouldn't have ever been born."

Seven months ago, in response to the Formspring question: What's one thing people don't know about you? Jamey answered, "How much I hate my life. Maybe it's cause I'm bullied. a lot."

His parents and friends said that it took a lot of work and encouragement to get Jamey through that dark period. Eventually, toward the end of last school year, Jamey stopped using Formspring altogether. His parents said Jamey had seemed to be doing better and enjoying high school.

Askey said his department was never contacted by anyone regarding Jamey prior to his death. He also said, however, that the Police Department regularly deals with student bullying cases, particularly online cyberbullying. "We investigate each and every one that comes to our attention," Askey said. "I think the biggest lesson is that it happens, and people should reported it to the police, even if they're not sure if there's potential that it's criminal activity." He added, "If it's something we can be pursuing, we will. If people ignore it, it will just continue, and nothing can be done about it."

The Police Department's Special Victims Unit is assigned to handle Jamey's case, he said. If there are students who can be criminally prosecuted in Jamey's case, they could face minimum harassment violations.

Using a computer to bully someone would elevate the charges to aggravated harassment, he said. And if the bullying centers primarily on Jamey's sexual orientation, then it's possible that hate crime charges could be filed, he said. If it involves juveniles, the case probably would be handled in Erie County Family Court.

"I think when a tragedy like this happens, every single person in our school district — every adult, parents, community members — ask the question, 'What else could I have done to prevent this?'" Martzloff said. "And with an issue as complex as a suicide, in many cases, it's multifaceted."

Jamey's suicide and the issue of cyberbullying have received international attention, and Martzloff said he's not surprised. "It's unrelenting," he said. "It's a rampant problem."


Teen Commits Suicide a Day After Class on Bullying
Brad Lewis says son Jordan, 15, was bullied

Posted Oct 21, 2013 9:04 AM CDT

On Wednesday, 15-year-old Jordan Lewis watched a video about bullying at his Illinois high school. That evening, police made a "wellness visit" to his home after the grandmother of a friend reported that he had texted her granddaughter about harming himself. On Thursday, Jordan fatally shot himself in the chest. His father says Jordan left behind a suicide note listing the reason why he took his life: "because he was being bullied," Brad Lewis tells the Southern. Though the sophomore played football at Carterville High School as a freshman, he quit after just a single day of practice this year, says Lewis, having told his dad he had been pushed into lockers by his classmates and was "being picked on."

Lewis says he told his son stories about the bullying he weathered (for his red hair and glasses), and pushed him to tell school officials. The school said it got no such reports. Lewis thinks the video could have actually given his son a nudge, telling the Los Angeles Times that "at the end ... the kid that was being bullied went home and killed himself." Just hours after his son's death, the 47-year-old posted a video to Facebook speaking out about bullying, saying it "has to stop"; it's been shared more than 2,000 times. The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office says it is investigating. (It's not the only wrenching story to make headlines of late: A dad on a cross-country trek to honor his 15-year-old son who also committed suicide was killed in Colorado this month.)



Father Killed on Trek to Honor Dead Son
Joe Bell was walking across the country to raise awareness of bullying

Posted Oct 16, 2013 8:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – For six months, Joe Bell had been walking, determined to make it across the country to memorialize his 15-year-old son, who was openly gay and killed himself in January after being bullied at school. But last Wednesday, his journey ended in a second tragedy for the family: Bell was hit and killed by a tractor-trailer on a rural Colorado road after the driver apparently fell asleep, the New York Times reports. Bell, 48, planned to walk from his home in Oregon to New York City, because son Jadin wanted to live there one day, and he had been sharing his son's story as he walked in an attempt to raise awareness of bullying.

Bell spoke anywhere he could, from schools to gay-outreach centers to motorcycle rallies, and thousands of people were following his trek on a Joe's Walk for Change Facebook page. (You can read their tributes and see photos of Bell and Jadin here.) He planned to be on the road at least two years, carrying his things on his back and in a pushcart, and getting help from strangers who became friends along the way. He was set to speak at a Hugo, Colo., church the day he died, an engagement set up by a sheriff he met who also has a gay son. "This man had to [have] made a huge difference in everyone he met," the sheriff says. "He made me realize how important basic humanity still is." A memorial service is being held in Oregon tomorrow, the Oregonian reports.


Rebecca Sedwick case: Both suicide victim and bully grew up in ‘disturbing’ family environments, cop says

Both Sedwick and her accused bully, Guadalupe Shaw, were raised in unstable family situations, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. Sedwick didn’t have a bed to sleep on and Shaw’s family was like a ‘Jerry Springer episode,’ the cop said.

Friday, October 25, 2013, 5:12 PM

Rebecca Ann Sedwick was found dead at an abandoned cement factory in Lakeland, Fla., after setting out for school Monday morning but never making it there. Suicide victim Rebecca Sedwick shared one thing with her tormentor: they both reportedly grew up in broken homes.

12-year-old Sedwick was raised in a “disturbing environment,” just like 14-year-old accused bully Guadalupe Shaw, who was arrested on third degree felony aggravated stalking after Sedwick’s untimely death, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told CBS. Bullying “only contributed” to the young girl’s suicide, Judd said, suggesting that Sedwick’s unstable home environment might have affected her state of mind.

The young girl didn’t even have a bed to call her own. According to Judd, she slept on a recliner, while her sister slept on the couch. The siblings stuffed their clothes into “grocery sacks” in the living room. Rebecca Sedwick’s jealous, vicious classmates taunted her online.

Sedwick’s dad wasn’t involved in the family’s life. Her mom, Tricia Norman, has been building a rap sheet since 1995. The woman, who has at least three aliases, was charged with writing bad checks, fraud and probation violation. Norman’s attorney, David Henry, insisted that the unemployed mother was “doing her best.” The mom transferred her daughter to another school after noticing the abuse. But the bullying behavior followed her.

Guadalupe Shaw is accused of rallying at least 15 other girls together to send hateful electronic messages to Sedwick, encouraging her to commit suicide. Prosecutors allege it was Shaw’s relentless cyber bullying that drove Sedwick to jump from the top of a tower at an abandoned concrete plant on Sept. 9.

The cop compared the 14-year-old suspect’s family to a “Jerry Springer episode" with a "survival of the fittest mentality.” Shaw’s mother, Vivian Vosburg, was arrested for child abuse last week, after a viral video of her beating up a young boy surfaced online. "The way she treated those kids was horrendous," Judd said. "The family is just kind of out of control. And children live what they learn."

One other suspected bully has been charged in the case. The 12-year-old is not being named because of her age.

Sedwick’s mother is reportedly considering chucking lawsuits at the accused bullies, their parents, the other children involved, Polk County schools and the old plant where the young girl committed suicide. "I would much rather see them actively involved in stopping bullying than looking for people to sue," says Judd.


Thursday, October 17, 2013, 8:03 AM
Texas teen who committed suicide at school posted Facebook warning

Adrian Alvaresz, a 16-year-old dad to an infant son, appeared despondent in the post and said he was sorry for the pain he was causing. Alvaresz fatally shot himself at school Tuesday — an act classmates said they never expected.

Friends and family of a Texas teen are grieving after he committed suicide at school, warning hours earlier on Facebook that he was planning to take his own life.

Adrian Alvaresz, a 16-year-old dad to an infant son, wrote that he was sorry for the pain he was causing his mother and that he felt people in his life “put me to the side.” He asked his friends to help his mom, his ex-girlfriend and his son “stay strong” after his death. He added that he would be his son's "angel" and "mentor," and whisper to him "Everything Was For The Good Of Everyone." Alvaresz’s mom, Maria Consuelo Alcantara, said her son had called her Tuesday asking to leave his north Austin school early. She said no and that he ended the conversation saying, “I love you, mom,” Alcantara told CBS affiliate KHOU-TV. “I love you, too,” she replied to him in Spanish.

It was just before 1:30 p.m. at Lanier High School when students say Alvaresz was by himself in the courtyard during lunch. He took out a handgun from his hoodie and shot himself. The school was put on temporary lockdown before students were dismissed early for the day. Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said officials are investigating how the teen obtained the pistol. The school doesn’t have metal detectors. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the family,” said Carstarphen, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Along with his pained Facebook post, the teen included a picture of himself holding a gun to his right cheek. “All he did was post a Facebook status that he was gonna do it and then he did it,” Lanier junior Alexis Vasques told Fox affiliate KTBC. “People that knew him and people that were close to him were crying and sad for his loss.” “I guess the thing was that no one took him seriously,” added classmate Diana Vazquez. “They thought, ‘No, he’s kidding. ... I don’t think he’ll do it.’” Friends have been collecting donations to help pay for Alvaresz’s funeral costs. Alcantara said she doesn’t know why her son killed himself and wishes that she had picked up on the warning signs. The school made grief counselors available to students.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 8:59 AM
Connecticut teen who committed suicide after first day of school underwent years of bullying say friends

15-year-old Bart Palosz killed himself with a shotgun after the first day of his sophomore year at Greenwich High School. Those who knew him said he endured years of being bullied by peers, including an incident where his head was bashed against a locker, and that the administration did nothing to stop it.

A 15-year-old Connecticut boy who committed suicide after his first day of school last week underwent years of bullying and published increasing warning signs on social media before his death. Bart Palosz of Greenwich was found dead in his bedroom from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday, just after completing his first day of his sophomore year of high school.

Friends of Bart, a Polish immigrant who stood a towering 6-foot3 and spoke with an accent, now say it was the unrelenting bullying by former classmates that led to his tragic death. In the eighth grade he was sent to the emergency room for stitches after a bully bashed his head into a metal locker, students who witnessed the claimed attack told the Greenwich Time. Faculty members called the incident an accident, but refused to share hall security footage allegedly capturing the injury with his family.

In his freshman biology class, his brand-new Android cellphone was seen grabbed by a classmate and smashed on the ground. Classmates also shoved him into the bushes as he walked to school. "I would sometimes see him sitting alone at lunch and sometimes it would even be physical," Tripp Woll, a former classmate of Bart's told WFSB. "When you think about all the things he had to go through, day after day, you really do realize that he was going through a lot of hard stuff." Warnings of his increasing upset from the alleged abuse on his Google+ account were revealed to his family by police last week, however tragically too late.

"Hey if I were to stab my eye out due to school caused insanity, who would miss me?" the teen wrote in July. Uploaded with his threatening words was a picture of him holding a knife up to his eye. Another post in June suggested he had attempted suicide by swallowing lighter fluid. "I have chosen to go with 3 peoples advice and kill myself. I just wish it was faster," he wrote to a friend asking if he was OK on June 7.

His older sister, who only a week earlier said goodbye to him when he and their parents dropped her off at college, describes her family as completely blindsided by his distress, though they knew of his history of being bullied. "We had no idea," Beata, 18, told the Greenwich Time. "He didn't show us any signs. He was going through that teenage age where everything had to be his way. It had to be his way. But it wasn't anything that I didn't go through myself when I was his age." One recent post on his Google+ account appeared to argue that outside persona.

"I notice if I sound sad I'm normal and if I act happy, cheerful, and 'normal' there is a high chance that I will try to poison myself, cut myself, commit suicide, or jump in front of a truck :)" he wrote on July 9. As for his school's awareness of the abuse, Beata claims they knew the ongoing trouble he had. Their parents wrote letters to guidance counselors, school administrators, and had meetings with teachers and principals, she said. "I honestly do not think the school addressed the bullying," she said. "It could have saved him if they did." Greenwich Police say the shotgun used in his death was family owned and kept inside a locker in his home.


Report finds suicides on rise in Utah
Sept. 12, 2012, 5:30 p.m. CDT (AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A series of reports from the Utah Department of Health show suicide rates in the state are on the rise.

The agency says it found there were 456 suicides in 2010, up from 357 in 2006.

Preliminary data suggest the number of suicides will exceed 500 for 2011.

The research found that youth who committed suicide were more likely to have school or relationship problems while young adults were more likely to have been experiencing problems with intimate partners. Among the young adults, the data found that many suffered from mental illness. Officials say agencies across the state have now formed the Suicide Prevention Coalition to combat the problem.


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