David Q. Phan, a 14 year old junior Utah high school student yesterday shot himself to death in front of shocked classmates. It is understood he had been relentlessly bullied by classmates.
According to the UK’s dailymail, Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said the ninth-grader had left Bennion Junior High in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville with his mother at around 1.30pm after a trip to the principal’s office.
Just before 3pm, Phan returned alone to a pedestrian bridge near the school where he came upon several students who had just gotten out of school for the day. Several parents were also present.
That is when Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said the teen pulled out a handgun and shot himself in the head.
Said one witness, Ethan Wily to Fox13: ‘I was just walking. I hear a big sound and I hear everybody yelling and then I turned around and I saw it and there was a lot of blood.’
At the time when the boy shot himself, he was still alive and consequently rushed to Intermountain Medical Center in critical condition but soon died a short while later.
That evening, pursuant to the boy’s suicide, The Salt Lake Tribune reports that more than 200 people gathered on the bridge where the boy shot himself and held a vigil.
Reflected Hunter Evensen, a fellow ninth-grader: ‘He was one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever known.’
Offered another classmate Alicia Earl when asked what may have led to the boy’s suicide: ‘They were just mean to him for no reason.’
Goes on to say Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley : ‘The teen had reached out to a counselor last year for personal reasons, but did not complain about being bullied.’
Because the boy possibly feared reporting that he was being bullied would cause him to be further bullied as is so often the case?
Although the notion that the boy’s suicide may or may not have been the result of him being bullied one is inclined to wonder if by shooting himself in front of classmates he hoped to show the degree of suffering he had undergone and by extension with his violent death perhaps impart a kind of retribution, pain and guilt to the school in kind.
At present the school district is providing counselors to talk with students and families in the wake of the death.
Then there were these comments from the web which caught my attention as well:
Where are the parents? The job of the school district is to educate children, not public safety, crisis counselling, bully management, mental illness, etc. The schools are not babysitters or day care centers. Before we point fingers at the teachers, we should ask where the parents were in all this?
Today’s kids need to be ready to engage the bully, and you must be able to help protect yourself. I always felt if I am to be hit, fighting back is my option, stand there and take it or dish some back and get help if needed, kids killing themselves over these actions is bad for society as a whole and the child involved (all of them) it must stop right now, parents teach the kids to fight if need be, as sad as that is, it will make a difference, part of bullying is fear, get passed the fear and face the bully, give some back, het help, it will stop because all the talking in the world does zip with some folks, sometimes you have to fight back.
These tragedies are happening because you allow it and sweep it under the rug. When is enough just that. The students in this young mans case knew it. Why were the school officials so willing to look away. Kids are afraid to report, because the history of school officials is to do nothing. The bullying gets worse.
Don’t assume he was bullied. My wife taught 6th grade some years back, and one of her students shot himself. 12 years old. He was not bullied. He was a normal, outgoing kid with lots of friends. Intact family. No abuse, as far as the investigation showed. He was just hurting inside, and nobody knew it. He decided to end it. It was absolutely horrifying….and all the more so because there seemed to be no reason whatsoever.