List of suicides which have been attributed to bullying

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The following is a list of suicides which have been attributed to bullying including both in-person bullying and bullying using social media (cyberbullying). Suicides committed under duress are included. Deaths by accident or misadventure are excluded. Individuals who might or might not have died by their own hand, or whose intention to die is in dispute, but who are widely believed to have deliberately killed themselves, may be listed under Possible suicides.

For a list of people who committed suicide in the 21st century with any rationale, see List of suicides in the 21st century.

Individuals

  • Jadin Bell (1997-2013), age 15, was an Oregon youth known for his suicide which raised the national profile on youth bullying and gay victimization in bullying. Bell, a 15-year-old gay youth, was allegedly intensely bullied both in person and on the internet because he was gay. He was a member of the La Grande High School cheerleading team in La Grande, Oregon, where he was a sophomore. On January 14, 2013, Bell went to a local elementary school and hanged himself from the play structure. He did not immediately die from the strangulation and was rushed to the emergency room, where he was kept on life support.[1] The Associated Press reported that a spokesman for the Oregon Health and Science University's Portland hospital announced that after being taken off life support Bell died on February 3, 2013.[2] Bell's death was largely reported in the media, starting discussions about bullying, the effect it has on youth, and gay bullying. The Huffington Post,[3] Salon,[4] Oregon Public Broadcasting,[5] Raw Story,[6] GLAAD,[7] PQ Monthly,[8] Pink News[9] and many other media outlets reported on Bell's death. The media reported his suicide stemmed from being bullied for being gay, which Bell's father fully believed, stating "He was hurting so bad. Just the bullying at school. Yeah there were other issues, but ultimately it was all due to the bullying, for not being accepted for being gay."[10]
  • Tyler Clementi (1991–2010), age 18, a student at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010. On September 19, his roommate and a fellow hallmate allegedly used a webcam to view, without Clementi's knowledge, Clementi kissing another man.[11] On September 21, the day prior to the suicide, the roommate allegedly urged friends and Twitter followers to watch via his webcam a second tryst between Clementi and his friend.[12][13] Clementi's death brought national and international attention to the issue of cyberbullying and the struggles facing LGBT youth.[14]
  • William Arthur Gibbs (1865–1877) was a boarder at Christ's Hospital school in Sussex who committed suicide on 4 May 1877 after being bullied and beaten. This caused an outcry and the government subsequently held an official inquiry.[15][16][17]
  • Ryan Patrick Halligan (1989–2003), age 13, was an American student from Essex Junction, Vermont, who committed suicide at the age of 13 after allegedly being bullied by his classmates in person and online. According to the Associated Press, Halligan was allegedly repeatedly sent homophobic instant messages, and was "threatened, taunted and insulted incessantly".[18] Halligan's case has been cited by legislators in various states proposing legislation to curb cyber-bullying.[18] In Vermont, laws were subsequently enacted to address the cyberbullying problem and the risk of teen suicides, in response.[19] In 2008, his suicide and its causes were examined in a segment of the PBS Frontline television program entitled "Growing Up Online." His suicide has also been referenced in many other news stories on bullying.
  • Jamie Hubley (2011), age 15, committed suicide in October 14, 2011. The Ottawa teen was subjected to anti-gay bullying. Hubley's death was the impetus for the Accepting Schools Act, 2012, an act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which mandated school boards across the province to develop tougher anti-bullying programs with tougher penalties for infractions, and offered legal protections for gay-straight alliances in the province's schools.[20] On June 3, 2013, Allan Hubley and Laureen Harper announced a new federal anti-bullying strategy, which will see approximately 2,400 teenagers across Canada trained in delivering peer education workshops and presentations against bullying for their fellow students.[21]
  • Megan Meier (1992–2006), age 13, was an American teenager from Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, who died of suicide by hanging three weeks before her fourteenth birthday. A year later, Meier's parents prompted an investigation into the matter and her suicide was attributed to cyber-bullying through the social networking website MySpace. Allegedly, individuals intended to use Meier's messages to get information about her and later humiliate her.[22][23][24][25][26][27][28]
  • Alyssa Morgan (2015) killed herself by hanging at age 12 after being bullied; the bullying apparently got worse after she came out as bisexual.[29]
Rehtaeh Parsons was allegedly bullied online.
  • Rehtaeh Parsons (1995–2013), age 17, a former Cole Harbour District High School student, attempted suicide by hanging[30] on April 4, 2013, at her home in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, leading to a coma and the decision to switch her life support machine off on April 7, 2013.[31] Her death has been attributed to online distribution of photos of an alleged gang rape that occurred 17 months prior to her suicide, in November 2011.[31][32] On a Facebook page set up in tribute to her daughter, Parsons' mother blamed the four boys who allegedly raped and released images of her, the subsequent constant "bullying and messaging and harassment", and the failure of the Canadian justice system, for her daughter's decision to commit suicide.[33]
  • Audrie Pott (2012), age 15, a student attending Saratoga High School, California. She committed suicide by hanging on September 12, 2012. She had been allegedly sexually assaulted by three teenage boys at a party eight days earlier and pictures of the assault were posted online with accompanying bullying.[34] Pott's suicide and the circumstances surrounding it have been compared to the suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons, a young woman in Canada, appearing to show highly similar characteristics. New laws are being considered as a result of these events.[35][36]
  • Phoebe Prince (1994–2010), age 15, an American high school student who committed suicide by hanging due to school bullying and cyberbullying.[37] Her death led to the criminal prosecution of six teenagers for charges including civil rights violations,[38] as well as to the enactment of stricter anti-bullying legislation by the Massachusetts state legislature.[39] Prince had moved from Ireland to South Hadley, in the U.S. state of Massachusetts.[40] Her suicide, after suffering months of bullying from school classmates, brought international attention to the problem of bullying in US schools. In March 2010, a state anti-bullying task force was set up as a result of her death. The Massachusetts legislation was signed into law on May 3, 2010.[39] The trial for those accused in the case occurred in 2011.[41][42] Sentences of probation and community service were handed down after guilty pleas on May 5, 2011.[43]
  • Nicola Ann Raphael (1985–2001), age 15, Lenzie Academy high school student who committed suicide via an overdose of Coproxamol due to bullying.[44] Information requested for later legal action found that the bullying allegations went back over three years: "Internal papers just released reveal that 15-year-old Nicola Raphael, who took an overdose in 2001 after being tormented over her gothic appearance, had complained to teachers about alleged bullying long before she died ... the document shows staff clearly knew the youngster, whose suicide shocked the nation, had felt under threat of physical attack but did not inform her parents."[45]
  • Jamey Rodemeyer (1997–2011), age 14, was a bisexual teenager, known for his activism against homophobia and his videos on YouTube to help victims of homophobic bullying. He committed suicide, allegedly as a result of constant bullying.[46]
  • Amanda Todd (1996–2012), age 15, Canadian high school student who committed suicide by hanging due to school bullying and cyberbullying.[47] She committed suicide at the age of 15 at her home in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada. Prior to her death, Todd had posted a video on YouTube in which she used a series of flash cards to tell her experience of allegedly being blackmailed into exposing her breasts via webcam;[48] bullied; and physically assaulted. The video went viral after her death,[49] resulting in international media attention. The video has had more than 19 million views as of May 2015.[48] The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and British Columbia Coroners Service launched investigations into the suicide. At the time of her death, Todd was a grade 10 student[50] at CABE Secondary in Coquitlam,[51] a school that caters to students who have experienced social and behavior issues in previous educational settings.[52] In response to the death, Christy Clark, the Premier of British Columbia, made an online statement of condolence and suggested a national discussion on criminalizing cyberbullying.[53][54] Also, a motion was introduced in the Canadian House of Commons to propose a study of the scope of bullying in Canada, and for more funding and support for anti-bullying organizations. Todd's mother Carol established the Amanda Todd Trust, receiving donations to support anti-bullying awareness education and programs for young people with mental health problems.
  • Kenneth Weishuhn (1997–2012), age 14, was a teen who is known for his suicide which raised the national profile on gay bullying and LGBT youth suicides. Weishuhn, then 14 years old, was allegedly bullied in person, death threats were sent to his mobile phone, and he was the subject of a Facebook hate group. He was targeted for being gay, having come out one month before his suicide. Weishuhn told his mother Jeannie Chambers "Mom, you don't know how it feels to be hated." The bullying was characterized as "aggressive",[55] "merciless"[56] and "overwhelming".[57] In response to the bullying, Weishuhn took his own life in April 2012.[58] He hanged himself in the family's garage.[59][60]
  • Dawn-Marie Wesley (1986–2000), age 14, Canadian high school student who committed suicide by hanging due to bullying.[61] She was a student who committed suicide, after allegedly experiencing a cycle of bullying by psychological abuse and verbal threats from three female bullies at her high school.[62] She left behind a note to her family that referred to the bullying to which she had been subjected to: "If I try to get help, it will get worse. They are always looking for a new person to beat up and these are the toughest girls. If I ratted, they would get expelled from school and there would be no stopping them. I love you all so much." She committed suicide by hanging herself with her dog's leash in her bedroom.[62]
  • Kelly Yeomans (1984–1997), age 13, a English schoolgirl from the Allenton suburb of Derby, became widespread news when the cause was blamed on bullying to which she had been subjected by other local children. She was reported to be the victim of repeated harassment and taunting, particularly about her weight. Matters came to a head in September 1997, when a group of youths reportedly gathered at Yeomans's home on several consecutive nights, on each occasion throwing food at the house[63] and shouting taunts aimed at Yeomans. This prompted Yeomans to tell her family, "I have had enough and I'm going to take an overdose."[64] Five youths between the ages of thirteen and seventeen were convicted of intentionally harassing Yeomans in the months leading up to her death.[65]

References

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