An 11-year-old girl from Ohio who survived cancer when she was young shot herself in the head because she could no longer take her classmates’ bullying.
Bethany Thompson decided to end her life last month after enduring more than a year of ridicule from her classmates at Triad Middle School, who often picked on her because of her “crooked smile,” Time reported.
When Bethany was 3 years old, doctors diagnosed her with a brain tumor. With the help of surgery and radiation therapy, the tumor was removed from her body. However, the surgery damaged a nerve that affected the way her face looked such that her smile looked uneven.
“It wasn’t a huge issue, but she was very sensitive about it. She had been picked on it before,” her mother, Wendy Feucht, told Time.
On Oct. 19, while she was riding the school bus, Bethany told her best friend she was going to kill herself as soon as she got home.
“She told her she loved her and that she was her best friend forever, but that she was going to kill herself when she got home,” Feucht, told the Columbus Dispatch.
And Bethany did exactly that. Upon arriving at their house, she found a gun on a shelf, walked to the back porch and shot herself on the head. Feucht found her lifeless body.
“It was a complete shock. What was she thinking? What was so bad that she didn’t think anything could fix it, that she couldn’t tell anybody who loved her?” Feucht said. “It’s sad and it’s awful that she felt nobody could help her.”
She believed her daughter committed suicide because of her classmates’ “relentless bullying.” Bethany’s friend told her a group of students kept picking on her that day.
Feucht also said Bethany made anti-bullying posters and wanted to post them at school, but the administrator did not allow her because the posters were negative.
Bethany’s father, Paul Thompson, who was divorced from Bethany’s mom, said what happened to his daughter could have been prevented. He also believed bullying had something to do with Bethany’s suicide.
“She was my baby girl. Everybody knew she was my princess. And she was a spoiled one,” Thompson said, according to the Dispatch.
School superintendent Chris Piper said school authorities were aware of the bullying against Bethany. He said they resolved the matter by making sure she didn’t share classes with any of them. Apparently, it didn’t work, because one student from the group that persistently ridiculed Bethany was still in one of her classes.
"Last school year, district officials investigated a complaint raised by the student and appropriately resolved the same. 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 in a statement.