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Old 10-08-2010, 05:27 PM   #1
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Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101008/...pphu-container

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MENTOR, Ohio – Sladjana Vidovic's body lay in an open casket, dressed in the sparkly pink dress she had planned to wear to the prom. Days earlier, she had tied one end of a rope around her neck and the other around a bed post before jumping out her bedroom window.

The 16-year-old's last words, scribbled in English and her native Croatian, told of her daily torment at Mentor High School, where students mocked her accent, taunted her with insults like "Slutty Jana" and threw food at her.

It was the fourth time in little more than two years that a bullied high school student in this small Cleveland suburb on Lake Erie died by his or her own hand — three suicides, one overdose of antidepressants. One was bullied for being gay, another for having a learning disability, another for being a boy who happened to like wearing pink.

Now two families — including the Vidovics — are suing the school district, claiming their children were bullied to death and the school did nothing to stop it. The lawsuits come after a national spate of high-profile suicides by gay teens and others, and during a time of national soul-searching about what can be done to stop it.

[Related: School-yard bullying: A survivor’s tale]

If there has been soul-searching among the bullies in Mentor — a pleasant beachfront community that was voted one of the "100 Best Places to Live" by CNN and Money magazine this year — Sladjana's family saw too little of it at her wake in October 2008.

Suzana Vidovic found her sister's body hanging over the front lawn. The family watched, she said, as the girls who had tormented Sladjana for months walked up to the casket — and laughed.

"They were laughing at the way she looked," Suzana says, crying. "Even though she died."

___

Sladjana Vidovic, whose family had moved to northeast Ohio from Bosnia when she was a little girl, was pretty, vivacious and charming. She loved to dance. She would turn on the stereo and drag her father out of his chair, dance him in circles around the living room.

"Nonstop smile. Nonstop music," says her father, Dragan, who speaks only a little English.

At school, life was very different. She was ridiculed for her thick accent. Classmates tossed insults like "Slutty Jana" or "Slut-Jana-Vagina." A boy pushed her down the stairs. A girl smacked her in the face with a water bottle.

Phone callers in the dead of night would tell her to go back to Croatia, that she'd be dead in the morning, that they'd find her after school, says Suzana Vidovic.

"Sladjana did stand up for herself, but toward the end she just kind of stopped," says her best friend, Jelena Jandric. "Because she couldn't handle it. She didn't have enough strength."

[Related: Cyber-bullying: When enough is enough]

Vidovic's parents say they begged the school to intervene many times. They say the school promised to take care of her.

She had already withdrawn from Mentor and enrolled in an online school about a week before she killed herself.

When the family tried to retrieve records about their reports of bullying, school officials told them the records were destroyed during a switch to computers. The family sued in August.

Two years after her death, Dragan Vidovic waves his hand over the family living room, where a vase of pink flowers stands next to a photograph of Sladjana.

"Today, no music," he says sadly. "No smile."

___

Eric Mohat was flamboyant and loud and preferred to wear pink most of the time. When he didn't get the lead soprano part in the choir his freshman year, he was indignant, his mother says.

He wore a stuffed animal strapped to his arm, a lemur named Georges that was given its own seat in class.

"It was a gag," says Mohat's father, Bill. "And all the girls would come up to pet his monkey. And in his Spanish class they would write stories about Georges."

Mohat's family and friends say he wasn't gay, but people thought he was.

"They called him fag, homo, queer," says his mother, Jan. "He told us that."

Bullies once knocked a pile of books out of his hands on the stairs, saying, "'Pick up your books, faggot,'" says Dan Hughes, a friend of Eric's.

Kids would flick him in the head or call him names, says 20-year-old Drew Juratovac, a former student. One time, a boy called Mohat a "homo," and Juratovac told him to leave Mohat alone.

"I got up and said, 'Listen, you better leave this kid alone. Just walk away,'" he says. "And I just hit him in the face. And I got suspended for it."

Eric Mohat shot himself on March 29, 2007, two weeks before a choir trip to Hawaii.

His parents asked the coroner to call it "bullicide." At Eric's funeral and after his death, other kids told the Mohats that they had seen the teen relentlessly bullied in math class. The Mohats demanded that police investigate, but no criminal activity was found.

[Related: 6 signs of cyber-bullying and what you can do about it]

Two years later, in April 2009, the Mohats sued the school district, the principal, the superintendent and Eric's math teacher. The federal lawsuit is on hold while the Ohio Supreme Court considers a question of state law regarding the case.

"Did we raise him to be too polite?" Bill Mohat wonders. "Did we leave him defenseless in this school?"

___

Meredith Rezak, 16, shot herself in the head three weeks after the death of Mohat, a good friend of hers. Her cell phone, found next to her body, contained a photograph of Mohat with the caption "R.I.P. Eric a.k.a. Twiggy."

Rezak was bright, outgoing and a well-liked player on the volleyball team. Shortly before her suicide, she had joined the school's Gay-Straight Alliance and told friends and family she thought she might be gay.

Juratovac says Rezak endured her own share of bullying — "name-calling, just stupid trivial stuff" — but nobody ever knew it was getting to her.

"Meredith ended up coming out that she was a lesbian," he says. "I think much of that sparked a lot of the bullying from a lot of the other girls in school, 'cause she didn't fit in."

Her best friend, Kevin Simon, doesn't believe that bullying played a role in Rezak's death. She had serious issues at home that were unrelated to school, he says.

After Mohat's death, people saw Rezak crying at school, and friends heard her talk of suicide herself.

A year after Rezak's death, the older of her two brothers, 22-year-old Justin, also shot and killed himself. His death certificate mentioned "chronic depressive reaction."

This March, her only other sibling, Matthew, died of a drug overdose at age 21.

Their mother, Nancy Merritt, lives in Colorado now. She doesn't think Meredith was bullied to death but doesn't really know what happened. On the phone, her voice drifts off, sounding disconnected, confused.

"So all three of mine are gone," she says. "I have to keep breathing."

___

Most mornings before school, Jennifer Eyring would take Pepto-Bismol to calm her stomach and plead with her mother to let her stay home.

"She used to sob to me in the morning that she did not want to go," says her mother, Janet. "And this is going to bring tears to my eyes. Because I made her go to school."

Eyring, 16, was an accomplished equestrian who had a learning disability. She was developmentally delayed and had a hearing problem, so she received tutoring during the school day. For that, her mother says, she was bullied constantly.

By the end of her sophomore year in 2006, Eyring's mother had decided to pull her out of Mentor High School and enroll her in an online school the following autumn. But one night that summer, Jennifer walked into her parents' bedroom and told them she had taken some of her mother's antidepressant pills to make herself feel better. Hours later, she died of an overdose.

[Related: Stop bullying by complaining – in writing]

The Eyrings do not hold Mentor High accountable, but they believe she would be alive today had she not been bullied. Her parents are speaking out in hopes of preventing more tragedies.

"It's too late for my daughter," Janet Eyring says, "but it may not be too late for someone else."

___

No official from Mentor public schools would comment for this story. The school also refused to provide details on its anti-bullying program.

Some students say the problem is the culture of conformity in this city of about 50,000 people: If you're not an athlete or cheerleader, you're not cool. And if you're not cool, you're a prime target for the bullies.

But that's not so different from most high schools. Senior Matt Super, who's 17, says the suicides unfairly paint his school in a bad light.

"Not everybody's a good person," he says. "And in a group of 3,000 people, there are going to be bad people."

StopCyberbulling.org founder Parry Aftab says this is the first time she's heard of two sets of parents suing a school at the same time for two independent cases of bullying or cyberbullying. No one has been accused of bullying more than one of the teens who died.

Barbara Coloroso, a national anti-bullying expert, says the school is allowing a "culture of mean" to thrive, and school officials should be held responsible for the suicides — along with the bullies.

"Bullying doesn't start as criminal. They need to be held accountable the very first time they call somebody a gross term," Coloroso says. "That is the beginning of dehumanization."
Jesus.

The entirety of this article is incredibly horrible, but for the fucks to come and laugh at her due to how she looked in the casket ?

Last edited by Dagoro; 10-08-2010 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 10-08-2010, 05:34 PM   #2
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

The school is not at fault for the girl's death, but it is their responsibility to strive to provide a comfortable learning environment for their students. They obviously failed and should be held responsible for at least that much.
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Old 10-08-2010, 05:44 PM   #3
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

Sucks she had to go the way she did, took the easy way out.

School should of tried at harder yes true, but like mal the school isn't at fault at that but at fault for not trying to do something.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:21 PM   #4
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

I dislike the fact that supposedly none of them (tried) to beat the shit out of the kids bullying them. However, I laughed when Juratovac told them to leave the kid alone, and then punched one of them in the face when they didn't. Other than that, 'tis the same old tragedy that befalls the emotionally weak, and will most likely never change as long as the human race is alive and in abundance.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:24 PM   #5
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

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Sucks she had to go the way she did, took the easy way out.
There is only so much a person can take. She tried to fight back but failed, they beat and even made death threats over the phone. She was basically made feel as if she was less than nothing almost daily, that kind of constant harassment will eventually lead someone to extremes such as suicide.

The fact that the school sandbagged her only makes it worst, and then there is the fact that these people are not being held accountable for what they did.

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I dislike the fact that supposedly none of them (tried) to beat the shit out of the kids bullying them. However, I laughed when Juratovac told them to leave the kid alone, and then punched one of them in the face when they didn't.
That's another aspect of this that really shows the hypocrisy of the school staff. They tell kids to endure, but when someone defends themselves they get punished.

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Old 10-08-2010, 07:31 PM   #6
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

Oh my fucking god. Bullicide? "Did we raise him to be too polite?" Who cares? You sure as hell didn't raise him to not be a little pansy. Better sue the school because you didn't teach your kid that words can't hurt you, and you didn't teach them how to defend themselves. If you're that shit as a parent, then just home school your kids.

And if your kid is fucking crying and flipping shit every morning before school, and you don't look into that a bit then you're pretty fucking dumb.

Also, most of that shit didn't even sound all that bad. The dude that pushed the adorable sounding foreign chick down the steps was easily the worst thing. I honestly can't believe no one beat the living fuck out of that dude for doing something like that. If that happened back when I was in high school, I know I would have. Even if I didn't hear about it till days later and had no clue as to who that chick was. Goes to show that the entire school was full of pussies.
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:08 AM   #7
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

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Oh my fucking god. Bullicide? "Did we raise him to be too polite?" Who cares? You sure as hell didn't raise him to not be a little pansy. Better sue the school because you didn't teach your kid that words can't hurt you, and you didn't teach them how to defend themselves. If you're that shit as a parent, then just home school your kids.

And if your kid is fucking crying and flipping shit every morning before school, and you don't look into that a bit then you're pretty fucking dumb.


Also, most of that shit didn't even sound all that bad. The dude that pushed the adorable sounding foreign chick down the steps was easily the worst thing. I honestly can't believe no one beat the living fuck out of that dude for doing something like that. If that happened back when I was in high school, I know I would have. Even if I didn't hear about it till days later and had no clue as to who that chick was. Goes to show that the entire school was full of pussies.
Seriously. I was like "wut?" Who doesn't wonder why their kid is freaking out every fucking morning before school and go "ah well fuck something seriously disturbing to them must be happening."

I'm not sure how the school could have done anything if they were never informed. I see some of the parents knowing, but never them complaining, or complaining regularly until something is done. Also, if other kids see shit and no one says anything, that's not going to help either. I'm not sure how the school itself can be blamed at all unless they're completely ignored serious complaints.
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Old 10-09-2010, 04:21 AM   #8
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

They were never informed eh...... Do the school waits until they were informed then they take action? They dont have prefects or something?

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to come and laugh at her due to how she looked in the casket ?
This is just so wrong. Those who laugh at her due to how she looked in the casket is freaking asking to be hit with a baseball bat. She doesnt deserve to feel a fist on her face, just cold wooded bat right at her temple and look if she can like how she looks after that
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Old 10-09-2010, 01:57 PM   #9
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

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They were never informed eh...... Do the school waits until they were informed then they take action? They dont have prefects or something?



This is just so wrong. Those who laugh at her due to how she looked in the casket is freaking asking to be hit with a baseball bat. She doesnt deserve to feel a fist on her face, just cold wooded bat right at her temple and look if she can like how she looks after that
If there's a lot of people participating, then whether or not they have kids watching doesn't really mean anything. They might not have said anything because they were scared, or whatever. Also, regardless of having someone designated for it, it's safe to assume other people saw and didn't do/say shit about anything.

It's impossible to know what measures the school was taking to avoid it because they won't say anything.
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:27 PM   #10
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

Wow. This really was horrible.
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:57 PM   #11
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

Bullies are a bunch of pussies anyway. I mean come on, pushing a girl down the stairs? Calling someone a fag because he wore pink a lot? Their parents should've beaten them. =/
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Old 10-09-2010, 03:07 PM   #12
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

Bullying is getting worse and worse. These kids really need to learn to stand up to these bullies. Seriously, bullys only bullies when they have numbers on their side and that is pansy.

And I wore pink to college and university. No one pick on me.
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Old 10-09-2010, 03:22 PM   #13
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

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There is only so much a person can take. She tried to fight back but failed, they beat and even made death threats over the phone. She was basically made feel as if she was less than nothing almost daily, that kind of constant harassment will eventually lead someone to extremes such as suicide.
How exactly did she fight back? Maybe I missed it. I guarantee you that if she actually fought back they would have stopped and moved on to someone weaker to pick on. Or stopped picking on people altogether, since that shit is getting them fucked up.

And no. No matter how much someone harassed me, I'd never consider killing myself over it. It isn't some inevitable outcome like you're making it out to be.
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The fact that the school sandbagged her only makes it worst, and then there is the fact that these people are not being held accountable for what they did.
The school doesn't handle death threats over the phone. Police should have been called, and there isn't any indication that they were. So people can't be punished if you don't do something about it.

And name calling, especially shit like "Slut-Jana-Vagina" isn't something people should be punished for. I mean, really? If I heard someone try using that as an insult I'd make fun of them, or throw food at them. I guess throwing food should get them a detention or something. Those things really aren't serious offenses.

Quote:
That's another aspect of this that really shows the hypocrisy of the school staff. They tell kids to endure, but when someone defends themselves they get punished.
One, where did they "tell kids to endure?" And two, who cares if you get slapped on the wrist with a stupid school infraction? I'd fuck anyone up who tried giving me shit, irregardless of whatever meaningless consequences I'd have with the school afterward.

And before people go "Oh Miburo, you're so awesome and loved by all, so you wouldn't understand what it's like being bullied like us lowly, weak narutards. = (" Not true. When I was a wee lad I got picked on because I was quiet and too fucking blond. I didn't fight back at first, because I didn't want to get in trouble. Then my dad was like "man up, kick their asses" after I came home after a couple of them attacked me when I told them to leave me alone. (They'd get me as I was walking home from school) So the next day I did just that, shoved the one in one of those thorn bushes and tackled and punched the other one until he was a bloody mess. Then ripped the one stuck in the thorn bushes out and did the same to him. Never got picked on again until I moved. Some tough guy football player gave me shit my first day in my new school, and I beat the fuck out of him mercilessly and got suspended. Never got picked on again, and made a shit ton of friends because apparently everyone hated that kid.
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Old 10-09-2010, 03:33 PM   #14
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

Bullies aren't as tough as they look. They can't fight but only intimidate you with words. But that girl should've pushed that guy down the stairs. Seriously, that guy is such a bitch.
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Old 10-09-2010, 03:35 PM   #15
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Re: Bullying leads teens to suicide in an Ohio school

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miburo View Post
How exactly did she fight back? Maybe I missed it. I guarantee you that if she actually fought back they would have stopped and moved on to someone weaker to pick on. Or stopped picking on people altogether, since that shit is getting them fucked up.

And no. No matter how much someone harassed me, I'd never consider killing myself over it. It isn't some inevitable outcome like you're making it out to be.


The school doesn't handle death threats over the phone. Police should have been called, and there isn't any indication that they were. So people can't be punished if you don't do something about it.

And name calling, especially shit like "Slut-Jana-Vagina" isn't something people should be punished for. I mean, really? If I heard someone try using that as an insult I'd make fun of them, or throw food at them. I guess throwing food should get them a detention or something. Those things really aren't serious offenses.



One, where did they "tell kids to endure?" And two, who cares if you get slapped on the wrist with a stupid school infraction? I'd fuck anyone up who tried giving me shit, irregardless of whatever meaningless consequences I'd have with the school afterward.

And before people go "Oh Miburo, you're so awesome and loved by all, so you wouldn't understand what it's like being bullied like us lowly, weak narutards. = (" Not true. When I was a wee lad I got picked on because I was quiet and too fucking blond. I didn't fight back at first, because I didn't want to get in trouble. Then my dad was like "man up, kick their asses" after I came home after a couple of them attacked me when I told them to leave me alone. (They'd get me as I was walking home from school) So the next day I did just that, shoved the one in one of those thorn bushes and tackled and punched the other one until he was a bloody mess. Then ripped the one stuck in the thorn bushes out and did the same to him. Never got picked on again until I moved. Some tough guy football player gave me shit my first day in my new school, and I beat the fuck out of him mercilessly and got suspended. Never got picked on again, and made a shit ton of friends because apparently everyone hated that kid.
Man up is the only way you could stop bullying. It doesnt matter if you lose or not, the matter is you stand up to them. Bully will bully kids who wont stand up to themselves.
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