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As of this writing, he is in hospital but not expected to survive.


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Targeted by bullies, teen hangs himself in schoolyard

PORTLAND, Ore. – After KATU's coverage of a cluster of seven teen suicides in the town of Battle Ground, the discussion about suicide has branched out to deal with the issue in communities across the area.

In the town of La Grande, Ore. two children in the last three months were intent on ending their own lives. A 16-year-old girl killed herself in October and now there’s a 15-year-old boy who is not expected to live after hanging himself.

His family said he was the target of bullying.

Through Skype on Monday, Bud Hill shared what he admires about Jadin Bell, the son of a family friend who is so close that Hill considers Jadin his nephew.

"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," Hill said.

Dozens of people came together last week in La Grande in a vigil for Jadin, trying to understand what drove him to despair nine days ago.

He came to the playground of Central Elementary School in La Grande. He climbed on a play structure and hanged himself. Someone passing by tried to rescue him. He was brought to Portland and Doernbecher Children's Hospital where he was put on life support.

Hill says Jadin was pushed to suicide after being bullied in person and on the Internet for being gay.

"He was different, and they tend to pick on the different ones," Hill said.

Hill says Jadin asked his parents to home school him. He feared turning in the bullies would make things worse. But he had found the courage, recently.

The school district says it was in the process of investigating when Jadin tried to end his life. At Doernbecher, doctors detected little brain activity and Jadin was removed from life support over the weekend.

His family is by his side.

"It's tough enough to deal with what you know is coming up, but the waiting is not good," Hill said.

The superintendent in La Grande says everyone there is heartbroken. He's asked a mental health agency to look at how the school deals with these issues to see if there’s a better way to handle it.

Hill is vowing to start a new organization in Jadin's honor to tackle these issues.

It was a KATU On Your Side Investigation into the two most recent suicides in Battle Ground that sparked this local conversation about teen suicide.


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Students hold vigil for LHS classmate

A La Grande High School student clinging to life in a Portland hospital received an outpouring of support from his classmates Wednesday night.

Close to 200 people, the majority of whom were LHS students, attended a vigil for Jadin Bell, a 15-year-old sophomore who was seriously injured in a suicide attempt last Saturday.

“We are overwhelmed. We are very thankful for all of the support,” said Bud Hill of La Grande, a close friend of Bell’s family.

The vigil, organized by LHS students, was held at the Art Center at the Old Library and ran more than 90 minutes. It ended only after those attending were told that they had to leave because the building had to be closed.

Numerous friends and classmates spoke about Bell in heartfelt tones, painting a portrait of a young man who has an uncommon way of lifting the spirits of others.

“Jadin is one of the best people I have ever met. He makes everyone around him feel good all the time,” said LHS junior Frankie Benitez.

She said Bell is someone who never forgets his friends.

“Jadin always remembers people no matter what,” Benitez said. “If I felt bad, I would hang out with him and he would say something small like, ‘I love your sweater.’ He notices things you didn’t think anyone notices.”

Another girl described Jadin as the sweetest boy she had ever met. She recalled that when she transferred to LHS, Bell was the first person she did not know to talk to her.

He praised her on her appearance, picking up her spirits enormously.

Candy Blackman, an LHS parent who attended the vigil, offered offered a similar perspective.

“He always gives a compliment to everybody the first time he meets them,” Blackman said. “He always has a smile on his face.”

Bell is a member of the LHS cheerleading team, and, Blackman said, cheerleading fits his outgoing, colorful personality.

“Cheerleading is his passion,” Blackman said.

Jody Bullock, a close family friend, described Bell as a gentle, caring person, one who has been this way since childhood.

“He is amazingly sensitive. If he saw a wounded butterfly (as a child) he wanted to heal it,’’ Bullock said.

Bullock runs an adult assisted living home for seniors. She said Bell came over frequently and always made a point of saying hello to her residents and talking with them. Bullock said it is unusual for young people to do this, noting that often young people are afraid of seniors.

“He is an amazing young man who is smart and very social,” Bullock said.

Bullock said that when Bell is involved in something he has a way of getting other people to join in.

“He has a persona and a presence that you want to be a part of,” she said.

Bell has a talent for connecting with a wide array of people. This was evident at the vigil, which was attended by people from all portions of LHS and even La Grande Middle School. Many signed and created cards for Bell, which have been sent to him.

Nearly 50 printouts of large photos of Bell were displayed on a wall at the vigil, many capturing his warm, colorful personality in poses with friends. Once it was announced the photos were available to everyone they were gone in minutes.

Bell has been hospitalized since being found Saturday afternoon hanging from an apparatus at the Central Elementary School playground. He was saved by a fast-responding passerby and taken to Grande Ronde Hospital. Bell was then flown to Oregon Health Science University and is now in the intensive care unit at the OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Bell is the son of Lola Lathrop and Joe Bell. Lathrop said Thursday morning by phone from Portland she was heartened to hear of the outpouring of support for Jadin at the vigil and the many people who spoke of his personal qualities.

“We always knew that Jadin is a special person. Now everyone knows,” Lathrop said.


Bullying may have played role in attempt


Family and friends believe bullying may have driven Jadin Bell to attempt suicide last Saturday in La Grande.

Many expressed this view at a vigil for Bell Wednesday night at the Art Center at the Old Library.

Bud Hill, a close family friend, is among those who believe bullying may have played a role in Bell’s attempted suicide. Hill said the root cause of bullying in schools needs to be addressed.

“Something needs to be done about bullying. It should not have come to something like this to get started (on an anti-bullying campaign),’’ said Hill, who is such a close family friend that Bell refers to him as his uncle.

Hill said he hopes to help schools address the bullying issue.

Dana Thomas, a parent of an LHS student, said the tragic situation involving Bell points out the need for people to stand up against bullies. She said if someone is doing something like pushing a student against a locker, people need to stand up to them.


La Grande High senior Edith Moore believes the impact bullying has on people would be buffered, if more people told others how much they care about them.

“If you tell everyone that you love them, it will make a huge difference,’’ Moore said.

She said if individuals made a point of regularly telling five different people that they love them it would have a profound impact and reduced the likelihood of tragedies like the one involving Bell.

Moore then said Bell, who often tells people how much he likes them, probably did not realize how loved he was before his attempted suicide.

“I think that if he thought this many people would show up (at the vigil) he would not have tried to kill himself,” Moore said.

Bell’s mother, Lola Lathrop, had a message for anyone considering taking on the role of a bully.

“The next time you are thinking of being unkind to someone, think to yourself, if that person was a member of your family, would you want them treated like that?” Don’t treat them like that.” Lathrop said by phone from Portland.
Ringoringa's avatar

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It's depressing how unsurprised I am as I read this. Kids in public school are always the nastiest. If you harass someone like that in the workplace, odds are good that unless it's a religious organization that wouldn't hire a gay person in the first place, your butt is getting fired. In a private school, you can potentially get expelled. But public school? You can be the biggest monster on the face of the Earth, and get nothing more than gently scolded for fear of hurting your fragile wittle self esteem.

I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, though. They SAY they're investigating, and given the publicity, I feel compelled to believe that they would have done something by now if they had the facts. Either way, it's a shame that yet another teenager has been turned into a suicide statistic. A part of me hopes that he'll miraculously recover, but I know in my head that it isn't going to happen.
Eternal Marionetta's avatar

Witty Phantom

Cyber-bullying doesn't exist.
Remember, there's a magical button that the elders speak of. You press it to make bad people go away.
Also, you can simply turn off the ******** computer and go read a book or watch TV.


As for the in-school bullying, you definitely shouldn't mind what they say to you. Even if they're picking on you for being gay. Hey! You're gay! LOVE IT!!!


I'm tired of seeing these kinds of stories. Please, for the love of Cthulhu... help yourself before you lose it!
Laramie Sweet's avatar

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User Image Once you choose hope, anything's possible. ~Christopher Reeve


My prayers are with the family. -sigh- When will stories like these end?



"I laugh, I love, I hope, I try
I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry
And I know you do the same things, too
So we're really not that different, me and you."
sltttbrgr's avatar

Dangerous Lunatic

Eternal Marionetta

As for the in-school bullying, you definitely shouldn't mind what they say to you. Even if they're picking on you for being gay. Hey! You're gay! LOVE IT!!!
I hope you step on a lego.
Eternal Marionetta's avatar

Witty Phantom

sltttbrgr
Eternal Marionetta

As for the in-school bullying, you definitely shouldn't mind what they say to you. Even if they're picking on you for being gay. Hey! You're gay! LOVE IT!!!
I hope you step on a lego.

Apparently, you misread.
I meant you should love yourself for who you are.

You shoulda had a V8.
Alazon's avatar

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As for the in-school bullying, you definitely shouldn't mind what they say to you. Even if they're picking on you for being gay. Hey! You're gay! LOVE IT!!!

Waaaaaaaaay easier said than done - no matter how much you love yourself the opinions of others always carries weight to many people, especially in school. Also, in many cases ignoring bullies can be taken as a sign that you're just going to lay back and take everything they throw at you OR it can be interpreted as you think you're better than they are. Then the bullying will likely escalate. Many bullies don't pick on people just because they get bored, they pick on people because they think it's fun or think that people legitimately deserve to be harrassed for being this or that.

If it is really so easy for bullying victims to "help themselves" then there wouldn't be so many stories about bullying.
sltttbrgr's avatar

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sltttbrgr
Eternal Marionetta

As for the in-school bullying, you definitely shouldn't mind what they say to you. Even if they're picking on you for being gay. Hey! You're gay! LOVE IT!!!
I hope you step on a lego.

Apparently, you misread.
I meant you should love yourself for who you are.
That's pretty ******** hard when you're being bullied.
You don't just ignore bullying, it's not just a thing you tune out.
If they then persists with the bullying through the internet turning off your computer doesn't make you feel better.

I hope that when you step on a lego it's barefoot.
Super Fightin Prototype's avatar

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sltttbrgr
That's pretty ******** hard when you're being bullied.
You don't just ignore bullying, it's not just a thing you tune out.
If they then persists with the bullying through the internet, turning off your computer doesn't make you feel better.

I hope that when you step on a lego it's barefoot.


It's also really hard if you're being bullied pretty much wherever you go. I had a hard time with bullies in middle school - I was getting it from the kids at school and my sister at home. I was constantly in a bad mood and on edge because someone was always getting under my skin.

After a certain point, it becomes almost impossible to ignore. I still suffer from self-esteem issues because of the s**t I went through.
Eternal Marionetta
Cyber-bullying doesn't exist.
Remember, there's a magical button that the elders speak of. You press it to make bad people go away.
Also, you can simply turn off the ******** computer and go read a book or watch TV.


As for the in-school bullying, you definitely shouldn't mind what they say to you. Even if they're picking on you for being gay. Hey! You're gay! LOVE IT!!!


I'm tired of seeing these kinds of stories. Please, for the love of Cthulhu... help yourself before you lose it!


I think many adults have good intentions when they advise kids to ignore and avoid bullies, mainly because they've forgotten what it's like to be a kid and to live with the limitations of being a kid.

When an adult is bullied, s/he usually has options a kid doesn't have. An adult bullied in the workplace can either move to a different department or find a new job. A kid bullied at school can't change schools without parental assistance. An adult bullied in an interpersonal relationship (friendship, relative, romantic) can leave the relationship entirely or limit association with the toxic personality. Kids can try to limit association with bullies, but if they're in the same school, class, etc., it's hard.

So, yeah, from adult perspective, it's easy enough to say, "Just ignore them." In the adult world it usually works.

With that said, I don't understand kids willing to destroy themselves to stop the pain and heartache related to bullying. The fact is bullies are an unpleasant reality everyone deals with from time to time.
Noire du Fountaine 's avatar

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Poor kid, if I lived there I would have gone to that vigil. Bullying is people with problems taking it out on people with less problems than them. I know how that kid feels. People think it's possible just to completely not care. But as much as many hate to admit it, we care about what others think. He may have been proud to be gay, but over time as people insult you, hurt you, make fun of you, it crushes that pride. I'm praying that he gets better.
Jin Love's avatar

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sltttbrgr
That's pretty ******** hard when you're being bullied.
You don't just ignore bullying, it's not just a thing you tune out.
If they then persists with the bullying through the internet, turning off your computer doesn't make you feel better.

I hope that when you step on a lego it's barefoot.

After a certain point, it becomes almost impossible to ignore.
X

User Image

            This right here is very true.

            It's hard to ignore a bully, especially when it becomes physical. I remember back in middle school and high school, I was pushed, my shirt was always tugged at, and at one point someone sprayed perfume in my eyes in art class. Not easy to ignore someone when you are in pain, especially both physically and mentally.

            No one should ever have to put up with that sorta thing. It's not easy to just walk away from it.

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Sir Messenger's avatar

Dapper Rogue

Eternal Marionetta
Cyber-bullying doesn't exist.

User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.

It must be nice to have a life where you have never seen or experienced Cyber Bullying.
Or your IP address used to find your general location
A picture of your house emailed to you
Followed from site to site
ECT

But no, Cyber bullying doesn't exist, nope. The easy answer is turning off your computer lol. . .
Super Fightin Prototype's avatar

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Dr Jin Love
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sltttbrgr
That's pretty ******** hard when you're being bullied.
You don't just ignore bullying, it's not just a thing you tune out.
If they then persists with the bullying through the internet, turning off your computer doesn't make you feel better.

I hope that when you step on a lego it's barefoot.

After a certain point, it becomes almost impossible to ignore.
X

User Image

            This right here is very true.

            It's hard to ignore a bully, especially when it becomes physical. I remember back in middle school and high school, I was pushed, my shirt was always tugged at, and at one point someone sprayed perfume in my eyes in art class. Not easy to ignore someone when you are in pain, especially both physically and mentally.

            No one should ever have to put up with that sorta thing. It's not easy to just walk away from it.

User Image


Definitely. It's unfortunate adults don't realize that, and bullies can use zero tolerance policies against their victim even if it means they get expelled as well.
Seriousily: MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE. scream

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