Showing posts with label Suicide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Suicide. Show all posts

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bullying trial takes on new significance

The bullying trial of Jason Thomas has been dragging on for a couple of years now in Bossier District Court.  Thomas was originally charged with cyber bullying against Danielle Cox, a minor.
ur not important’
On January 24th, 2011, one of Danielle’s friends had posted Danielle’s number on Facebook and asked that her friends text her and tell her not to kill herself. Rather than offering help, the state alleges that Thomas used a program called ClamTXT to send multiple messages to Danielle’s phone, each purporting to come from a different person. The messages read ‘I won’t miss u’, ‘ur not important’ and ‘just end it all’.
On January 25th Danielle ingested an excessive amount of medication in a suicide attempt. She survived.
In February Thomas was arrested on the Cyber Bullying charge. On May 20th, 2011, Danielle did kill herself. The charge was amended to Criminal Assistance to Suicide.
There will be a status hearing on Tuesday to see if the case is ready to go to trial. I’ll keep everyone posted on that. 
I’m not going into any detail on the most recent bully related suicides, but will note that both occurred very recently.
Two more students are victims
In light of two more suicides that are bully related, this case does take on new significance. What I’m about to say isn’t accusatory, but facts are facts. 
A bad problem exists, and it is centered around South Bossier, Elm Grove Middle School and Parkway High School.  The Parkway band can’t make overnight trips for the next two years because of an incident that happened in April. Eight band members simulated a sex act on a freshman boy against his will as the students were walking to the bus. That is co-incidental to the suicides, and not nearly as serious, but it does reflect the culture that exists where bullying seems to have some acceptance.
Part of the solution
Obviously, something has to be done. As I said, I’m not being accusatory and blaming the schools for children killing themselves; I’m not saying that the schools are the cause of the problem.
However, they certainly need to be part of the solution. Something has to be done, and it will take people uniting and forcing action.
We’ll delve into this deeper in the weeks to come. Meanwhile, to find out more, you can go to Facebook and check out these two pages:

Something has to be done, and it will take people uniting and forcing action.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bullying has Consequences

Early last week I did a blog post entitled Remember Danielle. If you have not read it, do so now. Danielle was a 15 year old student at Parkway High School when she killed herself in May.
I mentioned in the article that Danielle had received over 100 messages from one individual, a 17 year old, encouraging her to go ahead and commit suicide.
The young man, Jason Patrick Thomas, was charged in February with Cyberbullying.
  • A. Cyberbullying is Read the entire statute (LRS 14:40.7).
    the transmission of any electronic textual, visual, written, or oral communication with the malicious and willful intent to coerce, abuse, torment, or intimidate a person under the age of eighteen.
Last week that charge was amended to Criminal Assistance to Suicide. Thomas will be arraigned on that amended charge next Tuesday, September 6th. He is represented by Shreveport attorney Elton Richey.
  • A. Criminal assistance to suicide is Read the entire statute (LRS 14:32.12)
  • (1) The intentional advising or encouraging of another person to commit suicide or the providing of the physical means or the knowledge of such means to another person for the purpose of enabling the other person to commit or attempt to commit suicide.
  • (2) The intentional advising, encouraging, or assisting of another person to commit suicide, or the participation in any physical act which causes, aids, abets, or assists another person in committing or attempting to commit suicide.
Danielle’s family has set up a Facebook page ‘Smiles for Danielle’ on Facebook designed to help prevent teen bullying and suicide. By mid-September a website will be up.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

God Bless the families

I don’t want to write this, I really, really don’t. At the same time I know that if I don’t, it is a copout.
Bossier Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Baswell said today that it appears that the death of two teenagers was a suicide pact between the two. Both left notes in the cab of the pickup truck where they were found.
The two teenagers were identified as Myranda Becton, 15 and Dylan Kennedy, 16.
Dylan left a note referring to Romeo and Juliet, and several other notes trying to convey why they were doing what they were doing.
We have all read the statistics and articles about teen suicide, indeed we have seen it in our communities. There is even a website dedicated to the subject, and it offers warning signs to watch for. The problem I see with the warning signs is that every normal teenager displays these described behaviors at some point. But that is not what this is about.
From what I hear, Myranda and Dylan both had loving, caring families.
I know that right now these families are going through shock, intense grief and denial. It is hard to lose any family member to any cause, but it is harder to lose someone to suicide.
You can understand if someone is killed in an accident, or if they suffer from an illness and die. You still miss them with all of your heart, but you understand what happened to them.
Families of people who die by their own hand never, ever understand why.
In June of 1968 I turned 21, typically ready to take on the world. In June of 1968 my oldest brother killed himself. Forty two years later I am still asking myself why, and what I could have done to help him.
I visited with him the night before he died. We were watching the news at his house, Robert Kennedy had been assassinated and the reporters were conjecturing on funeral plans and arrangements. My brother turned to me and said “When I die, just put me in a pine box and bury me. There is no need to go to any trouble.”
Was that a sign? In retrospect, certainly. Did I have a clue? No.
He was 33 years old and left behind a wife and three children.
I am writing this because I know what these families are going through, and what they will go through for the rest of their lives. After 42 years, sitting down to write this, it feels as if I have been stabbed in the heart.
It never goes away, and it will be worse for the parents of these children than it has been for me. My mother lived to within 3 months of her 90th birthday, and never was the same person. She would barely talk about my brother, and she fiercely repressed those memories. We knew that it was that painful for her.
When she was on her deathbed with cancer eating up her tiny body, I knew that she was between worlds. She was in a lot of pain.
When I took her hand and asked her if she knew who I was, she gave me the sweetest smile and said ‘yes’, and called me by my brothers name.
And that was okay.
If you are a praying person, please pray for these families. They need all the love and support they can receive right now, and they will need immeasurable strength in the future.