An 11-year old Ohio girl, Bethany Thompson, shot herself fatally with a handgun after becoming tired of being bullied at school because of her appearance.
Thompson, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was three, was subjected to radiation therapies in the course of her treatment. Although cancer-free by 2008, the cure led to nerve damage resulting in a slight slant in Bethany’s smile, something which would go on to become the reason that her schoolmates would bully Thompson at school, according to her mother.
Only last month, Bethany and her friend made placards reading “Buddies, not bullies” and went to the administrators of Triad Middle School in North Lewisburg, hoping to put them up at school. But the school authorities did not let them put the signs up, according to the Washington Post.
That day, Bethany’s father told the Columbus Dispatch, bullies at school had been particularly severe towards his daughter, abusing her with snide remarks about her appearance and her “crooked” smile.
On the bus ride home, Bethany reportedly told her friend that she was going to kill herself. Wendy Feucht, Bethany’s mother, told the Dispatch that the friend’s father had called her and told her about the grim conversation between the two children.
“She told her she loved her and that she was her best friend forever but that she was going to kill herself when she got home.”
Sure enough, before Wendy could even act and prevent her daughter from committing suicide, Bethany had found the loaded handgun her stepfather kept hidden in a closet and had shot herself with it.
“It was a complete shock,” Feucht said.
“What was she thinking? What was so bad that she didn’t think anything could fix it, that she couldn’t tell anybody who loved her?”
“I think that she was just done; she didn’t feel like anybody could do anything to help her. People need to know that even the littlest things can break someone,” the mother said of Bethany.
“There’s a piece missing. I’ve had this constant in my life for 12 years and now it’s gone. Nothing’s going to be able to fill that hole.”
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Paul Thompson, Bethany’s father who did not have the custody of his child, told the Dispatch that his daughter wouldn’t have died had the school authorities acted on the relentless bullying she was subjected to. He buried Thompson on Monday and is now helping prepare fundraisers to help needy kids. He wants authorities to investigate whether the bullying at Bethany’s school led to her death.
“She was my baby girl. Everybody knew she was my princess. And she was a spoiled one,” Thompson said of his daughter.
When contacted, Triad Local Schools Superintendent Chris Piper told the Post that there been an incident of bullying with Bethany last year at school, but maintained that the school administration had taken “affirmative steps to protect the student.”
“As many school districts across the country are currently doing, the Triad Local School District is undertaking efforts to bolster anti-harassment and bullying training for both students and staff.”
However, on Monday, several parents demanded an independent investigation into allegations that Bethany had been the subject of relentless bullying at school and that the authorities had failed to protect her when she needed them most.
This is sadly not the first time that a child has taken his/her life because of bullying. In August, 13-year-old seventh-grader Daniel Fitzpatrick took his life after his teachers failed to act on his complaints of being bullied by classmates at school.
“I gave up,” Daniel had written in the letter. “The teachers… they didn’t do anything.”
This suicide note from Daniel Fitzpatrick made me bawl. Bullying is one of the biggest problems in our school system pic.twitter.com/2iFqCFRNzd— Sam || Mimi (@newkidnjh) August 13, 2016
In 2014, another Ohio girl whose family moved to America from South Asia, Emilie Olsen, had fatally shot herself at her Fairfield home after being bullied at her school because of her race and perceived sexual orientation.
[Featured Image by Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock.com]