David Q. Phan, 14, Death by Suicide
Thursday, November 29th, 14-year-old David Phan had a meeting, along with his mother, with the school principal. They left school together around 1:30 p.m. Around 3:00, David returned to a skybridge near Bennion Junior High School, where he was a 9th grader, and committed suicide in front of schoolmates and a few parents.As police and school officials are, once again, downplaying to allegations that David had been bullied, students who went to school with him and knew him offer a completely different story:
“He was nice to everyone, even if sometimes people weren’t nice to him,” says a fellow ninth-grader.
“I just don’t understand why people can bully him and be OK with it,” said another student. “He was a really sweet kid and didn’t hurt anybody. He didn’t do anything wrong”
“They were just mean to him for no reason,” said yet another.
So, it’s apparent that those around him on a daily basis understood that David was, indeed, being bullied. For what reason remains a mystery at the point. What’s also apparent is that, once again, the police and school officials are, at least at this early stage, letting another teen suicide with bullying implications slip through the cracks.
“He was one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever known,” said yet another fellow ninth-grader.
He remembered when the teen had bought him a drink and never expected to be paid back for it. But other students picked on him, this student went on to say. His classmates and friends said he was bullied and called names at school.These are real-life people, schoolmates and parents, sharing real-life unimaginable grief because some people still find it okay to be abusive, be insulting, be exclusionary, to…bully. They have no regard for the pain and destruction that they know they’re causing. They don’t give a good damn that some of these young people are ending their own lives behind the senselessness of bullying. They flat-out do. not. care. One reason for the nonchalance is they aren’t seeing any sort of consequences for this behavior anywhere!!!And, because there are no consequences anywhere, ever, for these cases of bullying that lead to suicide, scenes like this are being played out every single day somewhere around the world.
“Our investigation hasn’t found any indication of bullying….” Sound familiar?
Because no one is ever held accountable, not ever, in these cases, the young people who do the bullying have become emboldened in their actions. Emboldened, their troubling behavior continues even as it continues to contribute to the growing number of teen suicides. You don’t think the number is growing (over last year)? So far this school year, I’ve personally reported on now-40 teen suicides. That’s just since the end of August. But, wait. That number doesn’t account for the additional 5-6 that I know occurred but was never able to gather any information. That includes two right here in my own backyard. Worst still, that 40 only represents the ones that I’ve reported on. Make no mistake: there have been at least that many more that we haven’t heard about. And still, with all of the statistical data right there for us all to review, with the hundreds, perhaps thousands!, of family members and friends who are left to grieve and struggle and wonder every single day for the rest of their own lives because our society still condones the actions that lead these teens to commit suicide. Condones? Yes, condones. By remaining silent, or sweeping it under the proverbial rug, or simply turning a blind eye, you are condoning the behavior.
Something, obviously, was going terribly wrong with David Phan. His mother and he met with the principal, in a closed-door meeting, the day of his suicide. Upon leaving the meeting to go home with his mother, David was checked for weapons. Something, obviously, was going terribly wrong with David Phan.
Of course, the police and school administrators report “no sign of bullying”.
Are you getting angry, yet? You should be.
So, once again I say, to you David Phan, I’m sorry that we, as a society, let you down. You should be enjoying those friends who loved you so much and getting ready for Christmas. Rest in peace.
******************************SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES******************************
Written by Ron Kemp
December 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm
Tagged with Bullying, David Phan, David Phan bennion junior high school, kid commits suicide on bridge near school, suicide prevention, teen suicide, The Trevor Project, why did david phan shoot himself
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