An 11-year-old girl committed suicide after school and bullying is speculated to be part of the cause.
Bethany Thompson got off her school bus in Ohio on Oct. 19 and retrieved a loaded gun that belonged to her father off of a shelf. The young girl then walked outside and shot herself.
The tragedy could have been prevented, according to Bethany’s father, Paul Thompson. According to The Columbus Dispatch, he wants to know if bullying had something to do with his daughter’s death. Bethany’s mother, Wendy Feucht, is certain bullying played a role in her daughter’s tragic actions.
“I think that she was just done. She didn’t feel like anybody could do anything to help her,” she said. “People need to know that even the littlest things can break someone.”
Bethany endured brain cancer eight years ago. Doctors removed a tumor that damaged nerves and gave her a “crooked” smile. Other students at school noticed her crooked smile and teased her about it extensively. Bethany had even created anti-bullying posters for the school, but they were never displayed because an administrator said they weren’t positive.
Bethany confided in a close friend regarding her decision to commit suicide. According to Feucht, “She told her [friend] she loved her and that she was her best friend forever, but that she was going to kill herself when she got home,” said Feucht.
Though her parents are certain that bullying played a role in their daughter’s suicide, school administrators are trying to shy away from making conclusions just yet.
Bethany’s mom recently shared a photo on Facebook of her with her daughter, captioned “I’m against bullying.”
“Suicide is a complicated act. We’re trying to find the cause,” Superintendent Chris Piper said. “And there’s no single thing that says this is what led to it.”
Piper acknowledge that Bethany had been bullied the previous school year but insisted the matter was resolved. “There was no evidence of a pattern of bullying this year,” he said.
Students, teachers and parents are already asking questions. The investigation into her death is ongoing.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the Lifeline national organization for suicide prevention at 1-800-273-8255.
(h/t The Columbus Dispatch)