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  1. #1
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    OH- 11 year old Bethany Thompson commits suicide after being bullied

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stor...s-herself.html

    I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but it broke my heart. Her parents say she was bullied because of her "crooked smile" from a surgery to remove a brain tumor when she was 3.

    She got off the bus after being picked on that day, found a loaded handgun, and shot herself on the back porch.
    MOO

  2. #2
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    From the same article:

    "Bethany was a survivor, eight years ago enduring brain cancer and the removal of a tumor that damaged nerves and gave her a “crooked” smile, her father said.
    Kids in the fifth-through-eighth-grade school noticed, said Thompson. Some picked on her.
    “I think that’s why she took (her life),” Thompson said.
    Feucht learned that Bethany had created anti-bullying posters but that an administrator prevented her from displaying them because they weren’t positive.
    “I’m sure she felt pretty defeated,” Feucht said."

    I wish they'd worked with her to come up with more positive posters. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference, but the poor girl must've felt like nobody wanted to help.
    MOO

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetCaroline View Post
    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stor...s-herself.html

    I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but it broke my heart. Her parents say she was bullied because of her "crooked smile" from a surgery to remove a brain tumor when she was 3.

    She got off the bus after being picked on that day, found a loaded handgun, and shot herself on the back porch.
    This is very sad.

    Rest in Heaven dear Bethany.
    1477926016206772075152001.jpg
    You can fool some of the people some of the time; But guess what? The Bus Stops Here (Life No Parole/ Don't Pass Go: Don't Collect Your $200)

  4. #4
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    So tragic! Bethany, soar with the angels. Although it's too late to save Bethany, hopefully, the administrators will be removed and the bullies and their parents will be addressed. An aggressive plan needs to be in place to address and remove the bullies.

  5. #5
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    so sorry you thought this was the best way out for you, beautiful girl...
    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
    Margaret Mead

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    This breaks my heart. 11 years old and to feel so hopeless
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  8. #8
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    I feel so sorry for this child as I am certain she felt alone and very conscious of her problem. Why do school personnel not look out for these children with a problem that they know will cause bullying? Schools know who the people are that are known for these actions, other students also know who does it, so why do the adults at the school turn a blind eye to it?

    Another problem in this case, is the parents had to be aware of what their daughter was going through. Why did they leave a loaded weapon out in a place where she could access it? It needed to be locked up.

    My opinions only.

  9. #9
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    This story is breaking my heart.
    My daughter is 12 years old and a 10 year brain cancer survivor.
    She also has a somewhat crooked smile and right sided weakness overall.
    She has been bullied more than once because of her leg brace, or her hand not working, or anything that makes her stand out from her classmates.
    2 years ago I had enough and went to the school and they let me go in and talk to her classmates. I stayed very calm and did not call anyone out but I told them all her story and why she had physical disabilities. Then I asked them if they had questions. Many, many kids did ask and I would answer. Then one little boy stood up and announced that she was his friend and no one should bully her, more kids followed his lead and things got a million times better.
    Now she is out of elementary school and in middle school. The bullying has been better but it is starting to creep back in. I highly doubt the new school would allow me in to talk, they have not been as helpful in dealing with issues as the elementary. And now she is at the embarrassed stage and just wants to fit in so badly. Sorry for the vent. I have fought so hard for her to be healthy and beat cancer, the same as Bethany's parents I am sure, and to think I could lose her to bullying is just terrifying.
    I'm praying for Bethany's parents and family to get some peace and healing.
    I am also praying that the kids, and the parents of the kids who bullied her, understand what they were doing was wrong.
    RIP sweet girl xo

  10. #10
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    I don't have kids, so take this for what it's worth.

    Kids are mean little jerks, for multiple reasons. (Obviously I was bullied, with this attitude, but I understand now that I freaked my classmates out by being on the autism spectrum, having a ginormous vocabulary (frequently got made fun of for using big words), and best of all for them, was chubby.)

    I can't even imagine what it's like now with social media.

    But back to my point--I'm not sure there's a way to stop kids from being mean little jerks, and they can't be watched at all times. They're working out their own home or ego issues, they're figuring out how the social pecking order works (or sometimes they're just plain mean). So there's no way to fix that ... I don't think? Any more than they can be stopped from experimenting with things their parents would rather they didn't, if they get it in their heads to do so.

    And in my specific bullying experience, even if a teacher or parent did intervene, I just got it worse the next day.

    It feels like the answer is to somehow convince the bullied child to care less about what the other kids think. I know confidence and ego is incredibly fragile at that point, and that it's difficult to convince a kid or teen that the situation is temporary. But I feel like if it was my child I would be doing my best to convince him or her to laugh off the stupid shenanigans of their classmates, and that ignoring them would be the best revenge.

    I'm sure this is all easy for me to say as a non-parent. I just, sadly, don't see a way to fix the inherent meanness of kids (and they have so MANY ways and opportunities to bully now), so teaching the bullied kids coping skills and self-respect as hard as you can would be the only thing I'd feel like I had any control over. (I'd also teach them the finer points of freezing people out and/or the art of the sarcastic comeback.)

    Again, I am definitely under qualified for this, just thinking out loud about a problem that seems like it has no solution.
    “Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” -- Terry Pratchett


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azriell View Post
    This story is breaking my heart.
    My daughter is 12 years old and a 10 year brain cancer survivor.
    She also has a somewhat crooked smile and right sided weakness overall.
    She has been bullied more than once because of her leg brace, or her hand not working, or anything that makes her stand out from her classmates.
    2 years ago I had enough and went to the school and they let me go in and talk to her classmates. I stayed very calm and did not call anyone out but I told them all her story and why she had physical disabilities. Then I asked them if they had questions. Many, many kids did ask and I would answer. Then one little boy stood up and announced that she was his friend and no one should bully her, more kids followed his lead and things got a million times better.
    Now she is out of elementary school and in middle school. The bullying has been better but it is starting to creep back in. I highly doubt the new school would allow me in to talk, they have not been as helpful in dealing with issues as the elementary. And now she is at the embarrassed stage and just wants to fit in so badly. Sorry for the vent. I have fought so hard for her to be healthy and beat cancer, the same as Bethany's parents I am sure, and to think I could lose her to bullying is just terrifying.
    I'm praying for Bethany's parents and family to get some peace and healing.
    I am also praying that the kids, and the parents of the kids who bullied her, understand what they were doing was wrong.
    RIP sweet girl xo
    You're amongst friends my dear friend. So feel free to vent anytime.
    You can fool some of the people some of the time; But guess what? The Bus Stops Here (Life No Parole/ Don't Pass Go: Don't Collect Your $200)

  12. #12
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    I am so sad for this family and little girl.

    I am an educator. I have worked in elementary school and now in a high school with a students with disability program integrated into the programs. I think one issue is students not having adequate open conversations as young children. In middle school we have little leadership --peer, predominantly-- programs that consistently create values and peer-supported inclusion and support. High schools have better programing because of leadership opportunities and larger choices of peer groups. But, the biggest thing high schools have is clearer expectations based on lawful and unlawful behavior. Middle schoolers are not young children who are easily influenced by adults. Nor, are they high schoolers who have a better ability to discern and have empathy while living in an environment where the adults talk straight and plain.

    In my high school (urban, poor and very diverse) , there is little negative attention paid to the students with disabilities and the pro-social support is often quite nice to witness. It is not utopian but it is a positive trend for many students. When 9th graders come into the school, they get a rude awakening as to the expectations of language and comportment. They learn quickly that the kind of behavior that was part of middle school doesn't fly and can be criminal with the administration always saying to aggrieved families that legal action is within their purview. Very few families pursue legal remedies but it makes a real impression on a high schooler that they may be the subject of a criminal complaint if the family chooses to. It changes behavior quickly. The rest of the change comes from student leadership about inclusion and acceptance of differences.

    Students with disabilities must be encouraged to be visible in the school community. Their story is different than others but everybody has a story. The power of the personal story is critical in giving everyone a sense of belonging. Most middle schools should be made "smaller" --more direct, purposeful interactions where they share stories, share humanity--- with positive leadership opportunities that provide voices to the voiceless and dispels the myths of "popular power" and leaders in the shadows. The second layer is the infusion of the social contract of kindness and civility through educational programs and clarity on intolerable behavior and consequences.

    Last, I think much bullying occurs outside of school via social media. Schools can and should do better with this topic. But, parents need to step up before suicides happen and take active note of what their kids are doing and holding a line about what is acceptable behavior. All too often kids get phones and parents go hands off.

    Stepping off my soapbox.
    Last edited by kaen; 11-01-2016 at 11:59 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azriell View Post
    This story is breaking my heart.
    My daughter is 12 years old and a 10 year brain cancer survivor.
    She also has a somewhat crooked smile and right sided weakness overall.
    She has been bullied more than once because of her leg brace, or her hand not working, or anything that makes her stand out from her classmates.
    2 years ago I had enough and went to the school and they let me go in and talk to her classmates. I stayed very calm and did not call anyone out but I told them all her story and why she had physical disabilities. Then I asked them if they had questions. Many, many kids did ask and I would answer. Then one little boy stood up and announced that she was his friend and no one should bully her, more kids followed his lead and things got a million times better.
    Now she is out of elementary school and in middle school. The bullying has been better but it is starting to creep back in. I highly doubt the new school would allow me in to talk, they have not been as helpful in dealing with issues as the elementary. And now she is at the embarrassed stage and just wants to fit in so badly. Sorry for the vent. I have fought so hard for her to be healthy and beat cancer, the same as Bethany's parents I am sure, and to think I could lose her to bullying is just terrifying.
    I'm praying for Bethany's parents and family to get some peace and healing.
    I am also praying that the kids, and the parents of the kids who bullied her, understand what they were doing was wrong.
    RIP sweet girl xo
    i am so sorry for your pain and your daughter's pain. You are right that you can't go into the school and do what you did before. But, there are great speakers and programs that can be brought in to help open this dialogue in ways that will be powerful for students with disabilities or differences. Young adults challenging and becoming allies with students is critical to sparking change.

    I think it is important to note that poor children who can't compete with clothes or braces or acne treatments suffer. Less attractive children suffer. Children who live in shelters suffer. Children who have prematurely been sexually active suffer. The list is endless and, at the end of the day, all children can wind up in a group that experiences suffering. Educators can make it different by changing the culture through leadership and student empowerment.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArianeEmory View Post
    I don't have kids, so take this for what it's worth.

    Kids are mean little jerks, for multiple reasons. (Obviously I was bullied, with this attitude, but I understand now that I freaked my classmates out by being on the autism spectrum, having a ginormous vocabulary (frequently got made fun of for using big words), and best of all for them, was chubby.)

    I can't even imagine what it's like now with social media.

    But back to my point--I'm not sure there's a way to stop kids from being mean little jerks, and they can't be watched at all times. They're working out their own home or ego issues, they're figuring out how the social pecking order works (or sometimes they're just plain mean). So there's no way to fix that ... I don't think? Any more than they can be stopped from experimenting with things their parents would rather they didn't, if they get it in their heads to do so.

    And in my specific bullying experience, even if a teacher or parent did intervene, I just got it worse the next day.

    It feels like the answer is to somehow convince the bullied child to care less about what the other kids think. I know confidence and ego is incredibly fragile at that point, and that it's difficult to convince a kid or teen that the situation is temporary. But I feel like if it was my child I would be doing my best to convince him or her to laugh off the stupid shenanigans of their classmates, and that ignoring them would be the best revenge.

    I'm sure this is all easy for me to say as a non-parent. I just, sadly, don't see a way to fix the inherent meanness of kids (and they have so MANY ways and opportunities to bully now), so teaching the bullied kids coping skills and self-respect as hard as you can would be the only thing I'd feel like I had any control over. (I'd also teach them the finer points of freezing people out and/or the art of the sarcastic comeback.)

    Again, I am definitely under qualified for this, just thinking out loud about a problem that seems like it has no solution.
    BBM

    I think you are very well qualified to speak to this subject as a victim of bullying yourself. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I do agree that there will always be bullies, no matter how many school programs try to prevent it. So in addition to those anti-bullying school programs, I agree that bullied children need to be empowered with coping skills and self respect as you mentioned. Role play, anticipating potential problems and coming up with practical solutions is part of this training, either by parents or schools.

    My husband taught elementary school before bullying became a well-publicized issue and he used to tell kids who were being teased to ignore it. The one teasing or bullying is looking for a reaction and if the other child just ignores them or even laughs and walks away instead of crying or fighting back, the teasing or bullying often stops. Naturally, he counseled the teaser or bully and stepped in if necessary, especially if it got physical.

    Teaching a bullied child these skills doesn't condone bullying, but it is a realistic approach and I think it empowers a child when they have control over their own reactions. They need to feel strong and confident, not weak and timid. As we go through life, we are the only ones in the world we can control. What a lesson for all children to learn at a young age, even if they aren't targets for teasers and bullies.
    JMO
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  15. #15
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    It is what it is folks.. make it worth something xo

    But let me say that ignoring it does NOT make it go away.
    Deal with it as it happens. Learn to vent slowly: letting the steam out before you explode.
    Best wishes to you all.

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