Portland, OR – A 15-year-old boy is still clinging to life after hanging himself from some playground equipment at Central Elementary School.
Last Saturday, Jadin Bell was found by a passerby after the teen had climbed on top of a play structure and hanged himself. The person who found Bell tried rescuing the teen who was taken to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital where he remains on life support.
Reports are that Bell is an openly gay student at LHS where he is also a cheerleader. Even though he has a supportive family and large network of friends, Bell has been the target of bullying, reportedly in person and online.
School administrators confirmed that Bell had recently spoken with a school counselor and that they were investigating “a name calling incident.” In light of Bell’s attempted suicide, they’e also concerned about the other teen who was involved. Friends say that Bell had complained about bullying before, but that they have a hard time believing that this is what lead to Bell trying to take his own life.
“Nobody saw any signs of depression,” family friend Bud Hill said. “If he was depressed, he hid it really well.” La Grande High School teacher Kevin Cahill said he will miss Bell and commented on how hard it may have been for the teen. “Being 15 and gay in northeast Oregon is not optimum; you are going to develop calluses, or find other ways to cope,” he said.
On Wednesday, close to 200 people attended a vigil for Bell where those that knew him spoke of the teen’s outgoing personality and ability to lift spirits. “Jadin always remembers people no matter what,” said LHS junior Frankie Benitez. “He always gives a compliment to everybody the first time he meets them,” said the parent of another LHS student. “He always has a smile on his face.” La Grande High senior Edith Moore believes Bell probably did not realize how loved he was and would have not attempted to kill himself if he had known.
Bell’s mother, Lola Lathrop, said their family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they have received and the kind words being spoken about her son. “We always knew that Jadin is a special person. Now everyone knows.” Lathrop also addressed potential bullies. “The next time you are thinking of being unkind to someone, think to yourself, if that person was a member of your family, would you want them treated like that?”
I don’t think you will ever get rid of bullying completely as it’s part of our biological makeup to ostracize those that are perceived different from the collective norm. Hell, you see that in our own comment sections whenever someone pops in with an opinion that goes against the grain. Even with strict rules against bullying and educationawareness, which are a good start, I feel teen bullying won’t be brought to its absolute minimum until teens make it sociably unacceptable and begin ostracizing the bully.
In other words, I do not foresee an end to these types of articles.