Bullying led 11-year-old cancer survivor Bethany Thompson to commit suicide Oct. 19 with a gun she found in her mother's home, her parents say. Bethany's slightly crooked smile, a result of her cancer treatment, and curly hair made her a target.
The sixth grader from Cable, Ohio, said goodbye to her best friend on the bus and told her she loved her but that she was going to take her own life that day, her mother told the Columbus Dispatch. The friend’s father called Thompson’s mother, Wendy Feucht, to report her intentions, but Thompson had already shot herself on the back porch of the home.
Thompson's crooked smile was a result of brain cancer treatments that damaged her nerves when she was 3 year old.
Some of the boys at her school, Triad Middle School, bullied Thompson and others about various things, her mother said. Feucht had spoken to the principal about the bullying just days before the girl's suicide and was told that the school was investigating the situation, CNN said. The bullying had reportedly been going on since at least the year before.
School Superintendent Chris Piper said the previous incidents had been resolved. “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,” Piper said, according to CNN.
Bethany was seeing a counselor for self-esteem struggles and coping mechanisms. On her last day of school, she and her friend made anti-bullying posters, but school administrators reportedly said they could not use them.
Family members including Thompson’s dad Paul are now engaged in efforts to raise money for anti-bullying efforts to help others.
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