Monday, October 03, 2011

Another One: Mitchell Wilson

Mitchell Wilson was an 11-year-old boy.

Mitchell Wilson had muscular dystrophy.

Mitchell Wilson had to use a walker to get around his Ontario school, and last November, he was mugged for an iPhone. The bully was arrested and removed from the school they both attended, but the bullying did not end, and life for Mitchell Wilson did not get better.

Mitchell Wilson committed suicide after a year of being bullied.

Craig Wilson, Mitchell's father: "He was never the same....Subsequent to the beating that he took, he just lost that spark you see in a kid's eye. He had huge anxiety attacks about going outside and going for his walks and going to school by himself."

Craig Wilson found his 11-year-old son in his room, with a plastic bag tied around his head.

With the court date looming for his attacker, and the bullying not being stopped at the school, Mitchell Wilson said to his grandmother, "If I have to go back to that school, I’ll kill myself.”

Mitchell Wilson's suicide has raised fears that the case will not be prosecuted since the boy is no longer alive to testify against his assailant, but the case may be delayed while a written affidavit of a statement the boy made before his death is prepared. The case is now set to begin November 21.

The alleged assailant cannot be identified due to his age, though the Wilson family hopes he can atone for his crimes: “He’s a lost kid. He hasn’t been loved, hasn’t been cared for. We don’t want to be a lynch squad. We want him to do community work with disabled people. All we are trying to do is help this kid understand that his life is going to be zip if he keeps on the road he is on,” Mitchell's grandmother, Pam Wilson, said.

At least he may have a life, troubled though it may be. Mitchell Wilson was never given that chance, because he has muscular dystrophy, used a walker and had an iPhone.

it isn't just gay kids, or questioning kids, being bullied. It's the kids who don't fit some kind of mold. They're gay, or assumed to be; they're fat, or have freckles, or they're skinny. They skin is a different color. They have a disability.

And every day they are being abused, physically, emotionally, and verbally, and it doesn't stop. And for some, they think there is one way to end the pain.

This has to stop.



froggy said...

I had another thought along the lines of fragile children and the school environment.
If a child gets into this situation and the situation does not stop then school is a toxic and dangerous environment. With an education advocate the parents could request (sometimes with the help of a lawyer) that the school provide a home tutor until such time the child feels safe to return to school. I have worked with a child diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. He spent most of fifth grade with me and we transitioned back into school very slowly.
The expense might move districts to be much more proactive from the start. It is expensive, in a time of diminishing budgets (our district used half its emergency budget just to get thru this year), but the cost of not doing so is increasing tragic. I think we hear a lot more about this problem that has previously gone unreported now that social media and instant news is available.

Tiger Chanter said...

I hope his parents sue the school district! This has got to stop!!

Wonder Man said...

I agree, that school district needs to know what's really going on

Jeff said...

Here is a student produced, short film on the topic said...

I certainly hope this case makes it to court. Maybe bullies will understand the consequences of their hateful actions once they see other bullies getting locked up for prison terms.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Being bullied is no fun, and all react different. I was short and fat, with red hair and freckles in HS, it was not fun. But I relied on my brains and moved on to better things. I have no desire to look back.

Susan said...

Tragic story, but great post. As a lawyer, I suspect that the criminal justice system will not be able to do much to the bullies who drove this child to prefer death to life with his bullies, because current laws just don't capture bullying and its effects. We definitely need criminal laws that capture this behavior and punish it strongly enough to serve as a deterrent to bullies. Personal injury law might be part of the solution - lawsuits aimed at the parents and/or school systems that failed to protect this child by stopping the bullies. It would be like the cases against bars or homeowners who serve liquor to someone who then drives a car and causes an accident.
My heart goes out to this child and his family.

Tivo Mom said...

I actually had a conversation with my children today about how children can be mean about anything that is different. I also explained that I wanted them to accept everyone and try to put themselves in others shoes, this conversation is on the cusp of the domestic partner talk we had the other night. My 10 and 7 year old are getting an education this week. Open lines of communication are the most important thing in my house but I wish that I could put them both in a bubble sometime. Not about he domestic partner conversation, that was actually easy. It was about the hateful stuff. My heart goes out to this boys parents. It could be any of us. That is the scary thing.

Sam said...

These senseless deaths are to much. I can deal with several things but a child ending his life is unfathomable.

Juli said...

My heart goes out to Mitchell's family and I hope that the young men that bullied him get the help they need to become productive citizens.

We just had a 10 year old girl commit suicide at a school in East-central Illinois after being bullied. I want to know where 10 year olds are getting words like slut to call each other. We have been talking to our 10 year old son about what to do if he is bullied (he is an easy target with Aspergers and ADHD) and we hope that anti-bullying programs in the school will help. After Ashlynn's death many schools in our area are reinforcing their programs.

Please talk to your kids and listen when they talk to you. If you are an educator or administrator pay attention to a child that is crying out for help!

facebook dot com/Ashlynn.Conner.Anti.Bullying.Foundation?sk=wall