Jadin Bell, a gay teenager from La Grande, died this past Sunday after attempting to hang himself Jan. 19. A family friend said that while his family was accepting of him, Bell was bullied at school for being gay. Syndicated advice columnist Dan Savage created the It Gets Better Project as a way to reach out to bullied teens. In response to Jadin Bell’s suicide, Savage reiterated his call for parents of bullied children to consider home schooling or relocation:
Err on the side of overreacting. Err on the side of doing something drastic. Err on the side of turning your own life upside down. Because you don’t want to find out the abuse was more than your kid could bear when it’s too…late to do anything about it.
While bullying can put undue stress on high schoolers, the American Psychological Association says mental illness is still the biggest risk factor for teen suicide. Whether or not they are driven to self-harm, bullying can make life miserable for kids who are perceived as different in any number of ways.
Has your child been bullied? Have you moved them to a different school or a different city as a result? Did you experience bullying when you were in school? Are you a teacher or administrator? How do you communicate with parents of children who are bullied?
- Dan Savage: Editorial director of The Stranger, author of the syndicated column “Savage Love,” and co-founder of The “It Gets Better” Project
- Erin Stoffel: Father of a 9th grade boy who was bullied in middle school
- Denice Harvey: Director of career and technical education, guidance and counseling for Battle Ground Public Schools