Bethany Thompson survived brain cancer when she was just a toddler, but the 11-year-old from Cable, Ohio tragically took her own life last week due to excessive bullying. Her peers picked on her because of her curly hair and “crooked” smile–which was the result of nerve damage from the tumor removal.
Thompson and her friend reportedly asked administrators to post anti-bullying posters around their school, Triad Middle School, earlier this month. Somehow, however, they were turned down–which seems like a ridiculous thing for a school to say no to. Even more so, it’s horrifying that the school also wouldn’t look into why the girls wanted the posters put up–since it would be likely due to personal attacks.
Then, on October 19, Thompson told her friend she couldn’t take it anymore. She later used her stepfather’s loaded shotgun and shot herself on the back porch of their home. Her mother, Wendy Feucht, spoke to the Columbus Dispatch:
“I think that she was just done. She didn’t feel like anybody could do anything to help her… People need to know that even the littlest things can break someone.”
While the family actually considered transferring Thompson to another school, they ultimately believed people who knew her cancer survival story would be nicer to her. It’s especially tragic to see this wasn’t the case.
In an interview with CNN, Feucht warned other parents that they need to do more and push the schools to take action on bullying, even if it means to “call them, call them every day if you have to and eventually they’ll be tired of hearing from you and actually do something.”
Apparently, Triad School District knew about the bullying but said it was “resolved.” TheSuperintendent, Chris Piper, told the Dispatch that he felt there wasn’t any bullying, “There was no evidence of a pattern of bullying this year.”
As of now, a community fundraiser has helped cover the funeral costs, with the remaining funds going toward a new scholarship fund in Bethany’s name, as well as funding an anti-bullying educational effort. Our thoughts are with Bethany’s family during this truly tragic time.