Bullies  

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I was reading the newspaper this morning and I stumbled on this newspaper article. It is about a girl who committed suicide because she was being bullied. I have the article here for you to read.

Sun, May 20, 2007 Bullied girl takes her life
Loved ones say constant tormenting to blame for teen's tragic death By SARAH KENNEDY

EDITOR'S NOTE: As a rule, the Sun does not report on suicides. That policy is based on the fear any publicity might spur others to take such drastic action. When the family of 13-year-old Linda Cook contacted the Sun wishing to tell their daughter's tragic tale, we decided it was an important story worth sharing with other parents. Their message, and that of others who knew Linda, is that bullying can lead to more than tears.

Through all the torment of being called names, having her hair pulled and her lunch bag stolen, Linda Cook never uttered one bad word against her bullies. Instead, the gentle 13-year-old did the only thing she believed would end the suffering -- she took her own life.

On Thursday afternoon, Linda rode the school bus home for the final time. She sat in silence as kids took off their shoes and rubbed their dirty feet in her hair. When it reached her stop, she snatched her stolen bag back from the bullies and ran off the school bus -- tripping and falling in the process -- while the cruel laughter of her tormenters followed her as she ran home. She locked herself in her bedroom and hanged herself. Her 11-year-old sister Michaela found her shortly after.

For two days, Linda, who was declared brain-dead upon arrival at Alberta Children's Hospital, was hooked to life support so that her family could donate her organs.

"We had to make a decision about what Linda would want," said her mother Vanessa.

"Now that her eyes have been donated, someone else can see... she had such beautiful eyes."

Yesterday, Linda was taken off life support with her heartbroken family surrounding her and wondering how it ever got to this point. Although Linda didn't leave a note, Vanessa has no doubts the constant torment led her beloved daughter to take her life.

When the bullying began about a year ago at the Piitoyias Family School, a Native program run out of Colonel Walker community school in the southeast, Linda, who was taller and a bit heavier than other kids her age, did what all experts say to do -- she told the grown-ups in her life.
She told her mother, a school counsellor and even her bus driver and confidante Lori Kimmel, but the torment continued.

"They made fun of her hair and clothes," said Vanessa.

"She was a larger girl but she was healthy.

"She would tell me what was going on and we'd hug and kiss and I'd say her family loves her and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

"I told her she could handle anything but I guess she couldn't ... I guess it was too much for her."
Michaela said when kids called her older sister fat, the two of them would just walk away.

"She always said I was over-protective of her, but I was OK with that," she said.

"We were never apart."

If the kids failed to see how special Linda was, those who loved her such as Kimmel -- her bus driver for the last year -- didn't. "She had such a love inside of her and I couldn't understand why they were so mean," Kimmel said, choking back sobs. "She never lost her kindness through all of this." In fact, Kimmel was so touched by the young teen she would attend her school recitals just to show support.

Despite the inner turmoil, Linda continued volunteering at a local consignment store for needy people and kept watch over the younger neighbourhood kids when they were playing outside.
She went to church every Sunday and continued to share her recess snacks with the very people who made her life a living hell.

Vanessa said Linda had even been taking stilt-walking lessons and had planned to perform at a children's festival this summer.

It was because of those things that those around her thought she had a good handle on the bullying.

"I didn't think it was affecting Linda as much as it affects other kids because she was talking about it," said Kimmel.

Kimmel said she tried really hard to protect Linda. She even kept the Grade 7 student on the bus with her until the bell rang some mornings so she wouldn't have to be in the school yard with the other kids.

"I went to the school to talk to them about Linda but it happens to so many kids -- it's just so overwhelming," she said.

"I don't totally blame the teachers because kids can be so sneaky."

Vanessa said she also doesn't hold the school responsible for her daughter's death.

"So many people tried to protect her but no one can be everywhere at all times," she said.

"Her school counsellor was so kind to her but I just wish more could have been done."

Both the school counsellor and Kimmel went to the hospital while Linda was still on life support.

"It broke my heart," said Kimmel.

"She never had the chance to have her first dance or her first love."

Grandma Elaine said the devastated family is telling Linda's story to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.

"The message needs to go out that this bullying has to stop," she said.

"Teachers just say let it go, well, you let it go and look what happens."

A memorial of the 13-year-old will be placed in Kimmel's bus as a constant reminder of the heartbreaking consequences of bullying.

"Whether kids feel it or not, they have to remember because maybe then it will help another child who is being bullied," she said.

(Source: Sun Media News)

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3 comments: to “ Bullies

  • homemom3
    May 21, 2007 at 3:22 AM  

    such a sad story and it's true, the teachers just look the other way, they just say it'll stop soon. Ignore it and they'll stop, but it doesn't. My son is constantly being harrassed, so much that now he's attacking back. I can't say I blame him but of course his first time doing this, he got in trouble with the school. Thank you for sharing this article with us.

  • Keri
    May 21, 2007 at 4:24 AM  

    That is so sad! I can somewhat relate to the story though because I was bullied and made fun because I was chunky.. and I cried all the time. It's just sad that she died.

  • Taylor_Blue
    May 21, 2007 at 7:27 AM  

    I was bullied all the time too...I almost tried to commit suicide because it was so bad. These poor kids now a days...

 

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