Jadin Bell, an Oregon teenager, was another one of those kids, targeted for being gay, or perhaps just seeming to be gay—whatever that means—until he got to a point where he could no longer take it. So he went to the playground of Central Elementary School in La Grande, climbed to the top of a play structure, and hanged himself.
A passerby saw his body and tried rescuing him; Jadin was taken to Portland and Doernbecher Children's Hospital where he was put on life support. Over the weekend, doctors detected little brain activity and the family decided to take him off life support.
"If someone was down and out he would walk into a room and say a couple quick words and everybody would just forget about their problems and smile. He just had a gift…. He was different, and they tend to pick on the different ones."--Bud Hill, family friend.
Why is ‘different’ so bad, and what is ‘different’? If only these kids could survive these harsh years they would come to realize that it’s the ‘different’ kids who grow up to be something special, who grow up understanding different and what it means to be different.
Hill says Jadin asked his parents to home school him because he was afraid the bullying—online and in person—was just going to get worse, but ultimately, he decided he might be able to withstand it.
The school district says it was in the process of investigating when Jadin tried to end his life, but how long does it take? If the bullying is online, there is evidence of it; if the bullying is personal there had to have been witnesses. Those bullies should be taken, arrested and prosecuted for causing the death of Jadin Bell; for causing the deaths of so many….
Some 200 people, including family members and classmates, turned out at a candlelight vigil for Jadin, where he was remembered as an outgoing member of the La Grande High School cheerleading squad and a gentle, caring friend. But, again, not one of those people saw anything? Not one of those people came forward and gave the names of the bullies? If we don’t remove the bullies and the bullying from schools, all we’ll be taking out of schools will be kids in body bags.
"He is amazingly sensitive. If he saw a wounded butterfly [as a child] he wanted to heal it ... He is an amazing young man who is smart and very social; he has a persona and a presence that you want to be a part of."—his friend, Jody Bullock.
And now he’s gone, because he was ‘different’. How long do we let this go on? How long before we decide to prosecute the bullies for literally taunting someone to death? This isn’t child’s play, nor is it kids being kids. This is berating, pushing, shoving, name-calling, harassing, online torture, kicking, spitting on young kids because they don’t fit into what some delusional bully with too much time on his hands finds ‘normal.’
To me, Jadin Bell was the normal one, and those kids who bullied him online and in person are the ones who aren’t normal. They’re the problem and we need to start dealing with the problem.