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  #1  
Old September 24th 04, 04:55 PM
Karen O'Mara
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Default Bullying article

Saw this on another newsgroup and thought it was so terribly sad.
Since bullying has been mentioned here as something we worry about for
our kids, I'd thought I'd re-post it here.

Karen

'Suicide pact' girl's tragic letter

Laura's parents say they hope her letter will help another child

The parents of a teenager who died in an apparent suicide pact have
released a letter she wrote describing how she was bullied and deeply
unhappy.

Yvonne and Michael Rhodes released the 1,500-word letter after the
funeral of their 13-year-old daughter Laura in Margam, south Wales.

It was discovered after her death in a Swansea hospital on 4
September.

Laura died after taking a suspected overdose of tablets with a friend,
14-year-old Rebecca Ling, who survived.

After Laura's death, her father revealed that he and his wife had been
aware that their daughter had written an open letter about her
experiences at the hands of bullies, and had come across it in her
belongings. The reason that we want people to read Laura's story is
that we want them to understand how demoralised, belittled, and
helpless a bullied child feels

The letter underlines her fears of bullying and her feelings of
self-loathing as a result.

Her parents, who discovered Laura unconscious at their home in Cimla,
had already released a statement insisting that bullying had played a
part in Laura's death. Earlier, police had said bullying had been
ruled out.

Laura's letter was written about the experiences she had at Cefn
Saeson Comprehensive School, Neath, during her final period there.

She left the school for a local pupil referral unit when, her parents
claim, she could no longer stand being victimised.

Parts of the letter confirmed this viewpoint with descriptions of how
she would lie in bed in the morning hoping she would never have to
leave home.

Laura described how she was hit by a girl, but wrote: "It didn't
matter. She was still someone to follow to escape the loneliness."

Below are extracts from the letter, with Laura's original spellings:

I waited for my mother to walk in. "Laura, I am sick of running up
and down these stairs, now get up." I would look at her "Mum I don't
feel well. "What is wrong now?" "My tummy hurts and I feel sick". "It
is a girl's thing now get up."
I did, I got up, walked over to my door, took off the school clothes,
I was a shocking size 24, I just ate and ate, I didn't care any more.
I shoved myself into it and went downstairs.
I put in my lunchbox and I felt my heart start to beat faster, a
gripping pain inside myself, but no, this wasn't a special day, this
was every day.
This had gone on for a few weeks now, I was fat, ugly and worthless,
Monday, rhhh, Monday, tecnology, that wasn't to bad, maths ugh, I hope
I got a chair in time, and English, oh well not to bad I guess.
I didn't care about numbers, spelling, or how many drops of acid you
had inside you, all I cared about was this gripping pain every day
There we were, outside the school, people looking at this fat lump
which is myself but ohh well.
"Bye Dad, see you tonight." I did not want to leave the car, I wanted
to die. I walked to the doors, I walked down the corridor, here boys
standing just before the stairs, legs out, waiting to trip me up, how
wonderful.
I managed to get through without making a complete prat of myself, I
felt my fat wobble as I walked into the hall.
I hated it so much. I used to talk to myself in my head, only thing
that kept me ok to live. I didn't know what to say, so I did not say
anything and walked off.
Why were they doing this? Why me? I was fat.
Still a person, it had gone on for six months now, same thing every
day. I saw some boys laughing at the fact I was fat, and possibly a
'dyke.' I wanted to cry so much, but I couldn't, I had on Friday, I
can't again.
Yes, I have told my parents, they thought I just didn't like going to
school, anyone else heard that one? LOL (laugh out loud).
So great, no-one believed me to start with, I just hoped like they
said "they will get bored" while I got fatter and fatter and sadder
and sadder. Everyone got meaner and meaner.
Oh well, Maths, I moved through the people trying to ignoring the
nasty comments "Oh my God, look at the size on her!!"
I had this every morning, lunchtime, and the end of the day, you get
used to it. I sat at my desk and got my books out, everyone looking at
me, I felt worthless.
"Right, carry on from last week's work and we will go onto..." Her
voice drifted from my mind, I didn't care about numbers, spelling, or
how many drops of acid you had inside you, all I cared about was this
gripping pain every day.
I got out my book and did my work, some of my mind on my work, some on
my aunty, lovely lady, Rosemary, she had just been told she had lung
canser, made my bit of builling seem like nothing, but it was, oh but
it was.
Break, people flooding into the halls. Running, pushing people over,
how much better could you get?
"Oi!! Outa the way fatty!" I just moved, I wanted to close my eyes and
it all to disappear.
Only ten minutes left, thank God, I don't think I can take much more,
I wanted to throw a sicky but I needed a new illness, it was tummy ach
last week, I needed something new, I didn't even need to make myself
feel sick, they did it for me.
They never really believed me anyway, they didn't believe I was being
bullied or I was ill, LOL.
AT LAST! The final run, HOME. I rush down the road, holding the tears
back. "Hiya, how was school?"
"Fine" I replyed. Didn't seem any point in saying anything else did
there? They didn't listen.
"I'm going to the loo." I didn't even enter the bathroom, I went into
the box room, (most people spare room) I took out sissors, I knew what
I was doing, maybe this would show them what they are doing.
I draged it over my wrists a few times, the next few times pressing
harder, it felt really good.
It hurt, but I pressed harder, there was a mark, a deep red one, what
can I do?"

Her parents said: "The reason that we want people to read Laura's
story is that we want them to understand how demoralised, belittled,
and helpless a bullied child feels.

"Laura could never have known that this letter could help another
child because she wrote it to try to exorcise her ghosts following her
bad experience.

"She would never have imagined that anyone other than her family would
be interested. We hope they are."

Peter Rees, chairman of the governors at Cefn Saeson, has said the
school was conducting its own internal inquiry into the affair and
said that looking for a single reason for Laura's death was "premature
and simplistic."

Rebecca Ling did not attend Laura's funeral as she is still in the
Park View Clinic at Birmingham Children's Hospital
-----------------------------
  #2  
Old September 24th 04, 07:05 PM
Paul Griffiths
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Posts: n/a
Default

"Karen O'Mara" wrote in message
om...

Saw this on another newsgroup and thought it was so terribly sad.
Since bullying has been mentioned here as something we worry about for
our kids, I'd thought I'd re-post it here.


Yeah, she was pretty much just up the road from us here. Had quite an
impact on my school at the start of term. Hopefully for the better. We'll
see.


--
Paul Griffiths


  #3  
Old September 24th 04, 11:41 PM
Cele
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Posts: n/a
Default

On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 19:05:31 +0100, "Paul Griffiths"
wrote:

"Karen O'Mara" wrote in message
. com...

Saw this on another newsgroup and thought it was so terribly sad.
Since bullying has been mentioned here as something we worry about for
our kids, I'd thought I'd re-post it here.


Yeah, she was pretty much just up the road from us here. Had quite an
impact on my school at the start of term. Hopefully for the better. We'll
see.


We had a similar one here a few years back. The girl was Dawn Marie
Wesley. She named the girls who were bullying her in her suicide note,
and they were charged and some convicted.

We also had the Reena Virk case on the island where Reena was beaten
to death by bullies. Some were convicted and one is going into the
third trial.

Both girls were 14.

Cele
  #4  
Old September 25th 04, 04:31 AM
Paul Griffiths
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Cele" wrote in message
...
On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 19:05:31 +0100, "Paul Griffiths"
wrote:
"Karen O'Mara" wrote in message
. com...

Saw this on another newsgroup and thought it was so terribly sad.
Since bullying has been mentioned here as something we worry about for
our kids, I'd thought I'd re-post it here.


Yeah, she was pretty much just up the road from us here. Had quite an
impact on my school at the start of term. Hopefully for the better.

We'll
see.


We had a similar one here a few years back. The girl was Dawn Marie
Wesley. She named the girls who were bullying her in her suicide note,
and they were charged and some convicted.


Doesn't help her, may help the parents but it sure as hell sends a good
message. Not aware of anything similar ever having happened here.

We also had the Reena Virk case on the island where Reena was beaten
to death by bullies. Some were convicted and one is going into the
third trial.


I think we may have talked about this one. Not nice.

Both girls were 14.


That seems to be pretty much at the centre of the age range for this sort of
thing so far as I can tell. I haven't heard of many kids under 12 or over
16 attempting suicide because of bullying. Some kind of developmental stage
I assume. Something to watch out for certainly.


--
Paul Griffiths


  #5  
Old September 25th 04, 04:34 AM
Karen O'Mara
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Cele wrote in message . ..

We had a similar one here a few years back. The girl was Dawn Marie
Wesley. She named the girls who were bullying her in her suicide note,
and they were charged and some convicted.

We also had the Reena Virk case on the island where Reena was beaten
to death by bullies. Some were convicted and one is going into the
third trial.

Both girls were 14.


Just awful. I'm sure we've all been there when we were kids...
witnessing a bully without intervening, being a bully, or being the
target. It's such a pressure zone out there and nobody really knows
who to tell or what to say at the time.

Hopefully, talking about it with our kids and raising sensitivity will
help somehow.

Karen
  #6  
Old September 25th 04, 04:38 AM
Paul Griffiths
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Posts: n/a
Default

"Purchgdss" wrote in message
...

Laura's parents say they hope her letter will help another child

The parents of a teenager who died in an apparent suicide pact have
released a letter she wrote describing how she was bullied and deeply
unhappy.


Her parents, who discovered Laura unconscious at their home in Cimla,
had already released a statement insisting that bullying had played a
part in Laura's death.


I'm interested in what responsibility the parents claimed.... this was
obviously a very troubled child and the bullying was the straw.


I don't know how much of a "straw" it was and I can't claim to know the
motivation of her parents in releasing the letter but maybe it was meant as
a warning to other parents to not make the same mistakes they had? I dunno.
I'm glad they *did* publish it though.

She admits in the letter that she used food to assuage her unhappiness

which
brought her more bullying......


I think it's sad that so many people who could have done something to ease
the situation did nothing at all and probably not by choice. Seems to me
lots of folks in this life walk around wearing blinkers.

Yes, I have told my parents, they thought I just didn't like going to
school, anyone else heard that one? LOL (laugh out loud).
So great, no-one believed me to start with, I just hoped like they
said "they will get bored" while I got fatter and fatter and sadder
and sadder. Everyone got meaner and meaner.


This speaks volumes by itself......


It certainly struck me that there seemed to have been a major breakdown of
communication between her and her parents. That's something I would always
try my best to avoid.


--
Paul Griffiths


  #7  
Old September 25th 04, 04:56 AM
Cele
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Sat, 25 Sep 2004 04:31:48 +0100, "Paul Griffiths"
wrote:

"Cele" wrote in message
.. .
On Fri, 24 Sep 2004 19:05:31 +0100, "Paul Griffiths"
wrote:
"Karen O'Mara" wrote in message
. com...

Saw this on another newsgroup and thought it was so terribly sad.
Since bullying has been mentioned here as something we worry about for
our kids, I'd thought I'd re-post it here.

Yeah, she was pretty much just up the road from us here. Had quite an
impact on my school at the start of term. Hopefully for the better.

We'll
see.


We had a similar one here a few years back. The girl was Dawn Marie
Wesley. She named the girls who were bullying her in her suicide note,
and they were charged and some convicted.


Doesn't help her, may help the parents but it sure as hell sends a good
message. Not aware of anything similar ever having happened here.


It was taken very seriously partly because of that. That and the Virk
case and one other one, in which a boy jumped off the Patullo bridge,
have really increased the awareness of the importance of addressing
bullying in these parts. Don't know that much headway has been made,
but at least people are paying attention. All of this was coming out
at around the same time as Columbine and also a school shooting in
Taber Alberta. All killers in those situations were also kids who'd
been badly bullied as well, and of course in the case of Eric Harris
and Dylan Klebold, they suicided as well.

We also had the Reena Virk case on the island where Reena was beaten
to death by bullies. Some were convicted and one is going into the
third trial.


I think we may have talked about this one. Not nice.


Yeah, we did. It's the one where they found gravel in her lungs on
autopsy, indicating that while alive her head was held face down in
the gravel in the river. Very foul.

Both girls were 14.


That seems to be pretty much at the centre of the age range for this sort of
thing so far as I can tell. I haven't heard of many kids under 12 or over
16 attempting suicide because of bullying. Some kind of developmental stage
I assume. Something to watch out for certainly.


Certain things seem to peak around that age, but I suspect quite a lot
of people over 16 do attempt suicide with bullying as a factor. Not, I
mean, quite a lot of people overall, but rather, quite a lot of the
teens 16 and up who *do* attempt suicide, I suspect, have histories of
being bullied. But at that age, they tend to get diagnosed with full
blown depression and other mental health conditions, so the role of
bullying likely gets fuzzier.

I guess the thing is, if people treat you badly enough for long
enough, depression can ensue, and suicide can be an expression of
extreme depression. I suspect it's more that we're more *exposed* to
bullying in early and mid adolesence, because after that, kids get
gradually more civilised. That's coupled with the height of exposure
coinciding with developmental immaturity and wild hormones that make
us least able to handle it at its peak incidence. :-( Sucks to be a
teen sometimes, in so many ways.

TTYL

Cele
  #8  
Old September 25th 04, 07:02 PM
Karen O'Mara
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Paul Griffiths" wrote in message ...

I think it's sad that so many people who could have done something to ease
the situation did nothing at all and probably not by choice. Seems to me
lots of folks in this life walk around wearing blinkers.


Interesting thought. I agree. Except, that there's so many insteances
where others should mind their own business, too. Retrospect is always
20/20...



It certainly struck me that there seemed to have been a major breakdown of
communication between her and her parents. That's something I would always
try my best to avoid.


The little bit revealed in the letter didn't indicate a bad
relationship between the daughter and the rparents. The girl seemed to
find refuge at home and wanted to stay there instead of going to
school. I suspect the parents knew she was unhappy and not popular and
worried about her weight but didn't know just how bad the girl was
internalizing all of it.

Karen
  #9  
Old September 25th 04, 08:19 PM
Paul Griffiths
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Posts: n/a
Default

"Karen O'Mara" wrote in message
om...
"Paul Griffiths" wrote in message

...

I think it's sad that so many people who could have done something to

ease
the situation did nothing at all and probably not by choice. Seems to

me
lots of folks in this life walk around wearing blinkers.


Interesting thought. I agree. Except, that there's so many insteances
where others should mind their own business, too.


Yeah, that's certainly true too.

Retrospect is always 20/20...


And high defiinition, widescreen and Technicolour(tm) as well.

It certainly struck me that there seemed to have been a major breakdown

of
communication between her and her parents. That's something I would

always
try my best to avoid.


The little bit revealed in the letter didn't indicate a bad
relationship between the daughter and the rparents. The girl seemed to
find refuge at home and wanted to stay there instead of going to
school. I suspect the parents knew she was unhappy and not popular and
worried about her weight but didn't know just how bad the girl was
internalizing all of it.


Which is why I didn't say I thought they had a "bad" relationship but rather
that they weren't communicating properly.


--
Paul Griffiths


 




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