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UK: Bullied gay teen committed suicide by overdosing on prescription drugs stored at school

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  1. How many more times does this need to happen before we can get some protection for LGBT students in schools? This angers me, time after time and nobody does anything to stop it until after its too late. Actions and not words are needed to protect our youngsters in this society. These anti-bullying charters and campaigns are not working, we need stricter legislation to prevent these sorry stories from happening again, again & again.

    Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time, such a bonny boy :'(

    1. The issue here is not bullying legislation. The issue is that people are dicks. End of story. If people weren’t raising intolerant children, this type of thing wouldn’t be so prevalent. Adults need to have open and honest conversations with their kids about lgbt issues, race issues, etc. But, when the parents in the picture are also homophobic assholes, the apple doesn’t really fall far from the tree.

  2. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Nov 2013, 5:15pm

    Such a tragic story. My heart goes out to his loving parents. I don’t see any of the religious denominations speaking up and some of them for centuries have and continue foment homophobia, mostly responsible for institutionalising it. Every time they rail against equality, equal marriage being the latest, helps create an hostile environment for those inclined to bully and discriminate and worse resulting in a fatal outcome be it suicide or violent gay bashing. They need to accept some of the responsibility in this and take a proactive role in helping to stamp out homophobia out, zero tolerance.

    1. Beelzeebub 15 Nov 2013, 5:28pm

      “They need to accept some of the responsibility in this”

      No.

      They need to accept responsibility for ALL of it.

      It is they who preach homophobic rantings to there stupid flocks, who then take this as license to apply said homophobia outwith there stupid dens of piety.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Nov 2013, 6:30pm

        I also hold those rabid group of hatemongers of C4M, Christian Concern and Anglican Mainstream as complicit. We heard some of the most vile rhetoric coming from them during the marriage debate. It is no wonder bullying is encouraged while religious nutters are spewing this bile? The ex-gay scam artists are just as complicit.

        1. Yes well said Robert.
          I too have noticed this uptick in blatent expressions of discrimination and homophobia, I am hoping this will not happen again during the SSM debates in Scotland, however I fear it will. It seems to give the haters a sense of empowerment to be nasty and some take it into physical action.
          I hope I’m wrong.

  3. Brett Gibson 15 Nov 2013, 5:21pm

    Thoughts go out to his family! I bet not one of the pupils who bullied him will face even the slightest punishment. Complete failure for the school. They should be ashamed for not making their school environment “safe” for this boy. He had his future right ahead of him, now his life has been cruelly ended.

    There NEEDS to be more LGBTQ education and open discussion in primary and secondary schools in order to tackle this demon of bullying within our community. For too long has anti-gay bullying in UK schools been swept under the carpet, especially when most pupils are already at such a vulnerable stage in their lives, regardless of orientation. We need action now!

  4. Ross Duffy 15 Nov 2013, 5:26pm

    Oh my god. I am also from Essex, gay, part-Japanese and an unofficial Gok lookalike. Never have I wanted to meet someone, too late, so much. Talk about hitting a nerve. As well as anti-bullying policies, what about education about diversity and sexuality and being a decent human being? To counter the prejudiced ignorant crap kids might hear from their parents and society at large? If his mum reads this, please contact me on Facebook Rosstopher Duffster (a nickname) – I want to talk to you. Xxx

  5. Jan Bridget 15 Nov 2013, 5:39pm

    The head teacher should be held responsible, arrested and charged with murder or some similar offence. If this were to happen head teachers would soon take responsibility and stop bullying in their schools. It is the heads who are responsible for the philosophy/ ethos of schools. It is the heads who have the power and it is the heads who turn their backs. Shame on them! My sincere condolences to Ayden’s parents.

    http://www.galyic.org.uk/support/parents.html

    1. de Villiers 15 Nov 2013, 6:09pm

      The headteacher should be charged with murder? Are you serious?
      .
      In what type of democracy can a person be charged with murder for the behaviour of others? This happens only in totalitarian countries.
      .
      This school seems to have failed this student severely – although from this article we do not know the full facts and it is always dangerous to rush to judgment. It may be appropriate for the school to face a health and safety prosecution.
      .
      To say that the headeacher should be prosecuted for murder diminishes the actions of the real persons who caused this student’s death – those who were involved in the bullying. It also calls for a country where there is not necessarily democracy and security of laws as long as somebody can be guillotined.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Nov 2013, 6:27pm

        If the headteacher is indifferent and has refused to make the school a safe environment then yes, he or she is complicit. There are many schools were the teaching staff ignore it or are homophobic themselves and the same goes for some headteachers.

        1. Quite right, Robert. It’s akin to corporate manslaughter. The captain and company running a cruise ship are responsible for the safety of all those on board. Same thing should go for a school.

          1. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Nov 2013, 11:52pm

            Indeed, Eddy! This is a very serious issue that isn’t being really taken as seriously as it should.

          2. de Villiers 17 Nov 2013, 2:42pm

            The Captain would not necessarily be responsible for a passenger causing the suicide of another passenger.
            .
            You can see above that I said the school itself might have to face a health and safety prosecution. But to say that the headmaster should be condamned for murder is wrong.

      2. “To say that the headeacher should be prosecuted for murder diminishes the actions of the real persons who caused this student’s death – those who were involved in the bullying.”

        I don’t know the ins and outs of this case and won’t pass judgment on this particular headteacher without doing so. But the policy of *every* headteacher has to be that *any* bullying at their school is automatically something that they are involved with.

        Children and teenagers are not the font of all evil. If (and again I stress this may not be the case here) the bullying was drawn to the attention of the school then they are involved explicitly. If it was not, they still have a responsibility to promote a safe and tolerant environment for all students. There are other influences in those students’ lives – parents, family, media, etc. – but where those influences are malign schools have to actively fight them.

        Inaction in cases of known bullying should merit far more serious action than a health and safety inspection. And although not the same as murder, inaction from staff can easily be a contributing factor in so many bullying suicides and should be a highly serious criminal offence. Maybe if there was a serious prospect of jail time we might suddenly see schools in this country taking homophobic bullying more seriously.

        1. Jan Bridget 16 Nov 2013, 5:18am

          Precisely my point. Of course there are other influences at work but the system forces children to attend school where it is unsafe for many children. If there were serious consequences for the head teacher who, after all is the person in charge of the school, then I think they might give anti bullying a priority.

          Schools can be turned around. And it is usually the head that does this.

          I’ve supported many young LGBTs who have been bullied, I’ve seen the long lasting effects of bullying. I’ve been to schools to challenge acs of homophobic bullying only for teachers and heads to deny there is bullying in their schools.

          I welcomed new Ofsted regulations which make it clear that schools should be safe places. But they are not working.

          Bullying isn’t the sole reason why young LGBTs kill themselves but it is often key. To stop homophobic bullying would include providing support in schools for LGBTs, which would help with self esteem.

          http://www.galyic.org.uk/about/worldpride

          1. de Villiers 17 Nov 2013, 2:44pm

            When the police killed de Menezes in London, they were prosecuted for breaches of health and safety legislation. It is not minor to recommend a prosecution for health and safety legislation.

            However, to recommend that the headmaster be charged with murder when the full facts are not known is very wrong and shows a lynch-mob approach.

        2. How many individuals had to take any personal culpability for the Menezes killing? (Answer: none.) It was an institutional prosecution which resulted in a fine. And the Menezes case threw up all sorts of questions about how police officers act under pressure, with incomplete (or, as it were, bogus) information.

          Bullying in schools, with focus on that of LGBT students, isn’t some new, unknown and instantaneous phenomena. Every headteacher should know how endemic and severe it is (any who don’t shouldn’t be headteachers). They all have many mechanisms for being able to make schools safer. I already agreed it isn’t the same as murder and continue to offer every caveat about the lack of facts in this particular case, but as a legal principle it is important that staff members can be held to account for negligent lack of action with serious criminal consequences. If that had already been happening there would be many more people alive today.

    2. Helge Vladimir Tiller 15 Nov 2013, 6:47pm

      YES-YES-YES, J. Bridget !

  6. Andrew Dobbin 15 Nov 2013, 6:27pm

    This tragic story makes me even more determined to make the work of Schools OUT nationally known. I myself was effectively bullied out of my teaching career by the homophobic abuse I was receiving but which management completely ignored. Schools OUT offeres proper training in LGBT matters for staff and students. Section 28 has been gone a long time now. There is no excuse any more for schools to continue to allow this sort of thing to happen. Get the homophobes out of education.

  7. No comment from Peter Bone or his ilk? The actions and words of bigots like him quite clearly contribute to tragedies like this, they are well aware of that, and yet they carry on all the same. May they burn in non-existent hell, the vile, hateful sacks of…you get the idea.

    And they have the nerve to say “think of the children”. B**TARDS.

    1. No, Hyper. Peter Bone and his ilk aren’t going to burn in “hell”. They’re going to another place, named in the Bible which is unimaginably worse. They’ll be cast into outer darkness; a place where they’re aware, and yet cannot see, hear, feel, in the spiritual sense of the word. In hell, at least they’d have company with which to bemoan their fate. In outer darkness, there’s just nothingness. That, to me, is what I call real hell.

      1. Gary, if only Bone and his homophobic like WERE to be cast into some “outer darkness”. But you know, I know, and most importantly of all Bone himself knows, that that isn’t true. Bone even knows, deep down, that hell isn’t likely. So this is the problem. Knowing they’re not going to suffer in any kind of supernatural afterlife, these homophobes are not frightened of causing as much pain and suffering to homosexual people as they possibly can.

        WE have to take responsibility to PUNISH these cruel homophobes HERE on earth, NOW, well before they even hit the nursing homes!

  8. Ryan Jaymes 15 Nov 2013, 6:57pm

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this young boys family. Makes me laugh how the deputy wrote
    “As a school, our first priority is to make sure our students are safe” well obviously not because he wasn’t safe. It’s appalling how kids are subjected this abuse still. Parents and teachers need to enforce sterner bullying consequences and ensure no child feels the only way out is suicide

  9. Tim Hanafin 15 Nov 2013, 7:02pm

    “As a school, our first priority is to make sure our students are safe,” Mr James said. Well buddy, you failed! Your whole school, the policies, the staff (teaching and pastoral) especially your senior management team. Policies are pieces of paper sitting in filing cabinets unless they are implemented and monitored. So what are you going to do for the other 5 to 10% of your pupils who are likely to be gay. As a retired inspector I’d like to know what Ofsted have to say about the school. Probably gave it ‘excellent’ for ticking all the right boxes.

    1. Andrew Dobbin 16 Nov 2013, 10:22am

      II quite agree. This story could have quite easily happened here in my LEA – Luton. The elephant in the room here is SLT – they have known about the public duty and the Equality Act for several years now yet still bleat that ‘they don’t know what to do’. Well that’s easy – listen to people like us, Schools OUT, we’re all LGBT teachers here. We know what we’re talking about! The truth is, SLT generally have used Section 28 as an excuse for their own homophobia.

  10. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Nov 2013, 8:21pm

    And what does this say about the parents of those who bully in school? They too should be held accountable for their children’s behaviour. Homophobia, just like religious bigotry is learned behaviour, usually in the home and acted out in school playgrounds and corridors. Nobody comes into this world homophobic or religious for that matter.

  11. Mihangel apYrs 15 Nov 2013, 8:47pm

    ” … As a school, our first priority is to make sure our students are safe,” Mr James said.

    He said Ayden reported bullying on between 10 and 20 occasions since starting at the school in 2010. …”

    10 – 20 reports of bullying and WTF did the school do?!!!!! Not a lot…..

    My face is wet with tears that yet another child dies to escape the hate.

    For what it is worth, my condolences to his family, who loved and supported him, and did everything correctly.

    The school needs to be investigated to see what they did, and to deal with the bullies

    When will our children be safe?

    1. Mihangel apYrs 15 Nov 2013, 8:53pm

      I would add that if the head had any honour he’d resign – his policies failed and an innocent died on his watch. I hope this haunts him until he dies

  12. That sweet, sweet boy! So hurt by the cruelty of others that they extinguished his desire to live. Youngsters are full of life, full of hope. When youngsters feel the best or only way out is to kill themselves, that is evidence of how cruel the bullies are.

    But the bullies have no idea. They have no idea how wretched it is to be on the receiving end. They only know the thrill of having power over others. They need to be very firmly taught. They themselves need to experience the pain of being on the receiving end.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 15 Nov 2013, 11:53pm

      Well said, Eddy. I totally endorse your comments.

  13. James Campbell 15 Nov 2013, 9:08pm

    “As a school, our first priority is to make sure our students are safe,” Mr James said.

    It is a pity then that you (and your staff) appear to have fallen at the first hurdle. This young man obviously felt less than safe in his school.

    This response reminds me of the excuses voiced by some Social Services Departments and others who have failed in their duty to a client – “there was no evidence of abuse / there will be a full enquiry/ we have learned lessons from this case”.

    1. Mihangel apYrs 16 Nov 2013, 10:30am

      you forgot “draw a line under. Move on…. until the next time”

      A total failure in their duty of care

  14. James Campbell 15 Nov 2013, 9:17pm

    This reminds me of a case I was involved in. A teenage boy was badly scalded in school – ‘coincidentally’ he was Gay. A parent of one of the fascists (a.k.a. teenagers) who targeted him said “it was simply horseplay that got out of hand”
    With parents like these and the insidious influence of the media and orthodox religion, we do not need to search too hard to find the roots of evil.

  15. Poor lad. 10-20 reports of bullying. That’s an awful lot. Why isn’t the exact figure known? It suggests that the school didn’t have an effective policy in place if they weren’t taking reports seriously enough to write them down as incidents and log them. let alone put in place adequate anti-bullying strategies. (Unless I’m misreading the text). Where’s the school welfare team? The psychology support? But more than that, (as a previous poster has said), what about the whole ethos and context of a school that allows racism, homophobia and other bullying to go on – what about learning to treat other people as decent human beings – with respect, fairness and kindness. This really does smack of a whole school failure and that starts and ends with the Principal.
    Condolences to this boy’s family.

  16. Reading this makes me so angry, everyone wrings their hands and accepts no responsibility.
    The desperation of this child must have been acute and he could not see it getting better and saw no way out except to make it stop by stopping himself suffering. What is often not realised is that to the outside world the person may seem to be getting stronger and overcomming the situation they find themselves in, that is often the danger point unless that person has hope and levels of support in depth from peers and adults they also interact with and respect. Is is often at that point of aparent recovery that the person has the strength from the despair to end it the only way they can see. That is when it is vital that support from respected peers and respected adults is doubly important, and that the source of the bullying is removed or neutralised.
    This should not be happening in Britain in 2013, policies do not matter if they are not implimented effectively and with knowledge, care.

    1. …..if they are not implimented with knowledge, care and understanding. we are still too reticent to discuss sex and relationships in our schools openly and to provide the support of gay straight associations in all our schools where students can have peer support and the knowledge that the institution will help and support them. Far too often adults in positions of responsibility prefer to hide and pretend things around them are not happening and if they dont acknowledge it it will go away. it does not.
      It is time for D. Cameron to impliment the policy he discussed in 2010 which was brought to mind by the report about Schools Out Pink Day remembering the repeal of S28. It is time to impliment a comprehensive policy of sex and relationship education with supported peer group discussion etc.and ongoing GSA in all our schools.
      ref: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/uk-schools-are-going-pink-against-anti-gay-prejudice151113
      I hope Ayden’s family and friends can find peace.

    2. Jan Bridget 16 Nov 2013, 5:33am

      You are so right! So who should be made responsible? Head teachers! You are especially right about the danger point.

  17. I’m so sorry that things were so bad that this boy felt this was the only solution. My heart goes out to his family and friends. What a loss. Clearly, we adults need to come up with a good solution to stop bullying. It is on our shoulders to ensure that young people don’t feel the way that Ayden did.

  18. Joe O'Leary 16 Nov 2013, 3:37am

    This happened not in benighted homophobic lands but in liberal Britain — a truly heart-breaking story — it shows that huge reforms are needed in our governments and especially churches until homophobia is seen as the loathsome thing it is.

    1. We are not liberal we are tolerant. Be gay but don’t shove it down out throat is not the same as acceptance.

  19. marshlander 16 Nov 2013, 9:37am

    The important role that the head teacher and the rest of the senior management team plays in setting the tone and ethos of a school has been mentioned and its effectiveness in the case of Philip Morant School has rightly been questioned in this discussion. I am also wondering what part the governing body has played in keeping an eye on stated school policies? I note that the school is currently being led by an “acting” head. I don’t know if this appointment has been recent or connected with these terrible events. The school’s prospectus http://www.philipmorant.essex.sch.uk/school/Visitors/ contains the usual stuff of such documents, but it seems to me that some comment on support for pupils is distinctly not articulated. The most recent OFSTED inspection (earlier this year – http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/files/2217755/urn/137619.pdf) reported that the school requires improvement and noted that management of behaviour was one of its weaknesses. All sounds too complacent :-(

    1. marshlander 16 Nov 2013, 9:58am

      Apologies, I find the word limit difficult on here! There is a pupil view of bullying in the school in a report on a video news bulletin http://www.philipmorant.essex.sch.uk/school/Visitors/BBC_School_Report.
      The management of incidents of bullying seems to revolve around the filling in of orange cards, but pupils do not seem to have a sense of what action is taken after the pupil has reported any incident. There seem to be no mechanisms for peer support for victims, which many schools find effective. I found I wanted to know more. It would also seem appropriate for the school to have some sort of statement on its website about this issue, even if it were only to say that the current policy has been found to require updating. This really is a time for the school to confront these serious and tragic issues and to let the world know that they are dealing responsibly with changes to policy and practice that are so desperately needed.

      My condolences to family and friends.

      1. Marshlander, good points. My experience in schools was that heads and heads of departments make sure they are seen to make the right noises, in the bumpf, on the websites, in the prospectuses, and so forth, but in the everyday running of the school and the classes it’s all a bloody nightmare – just short of chaos half the time.

        In secondary schools particularly you have a 1000 pupils or more, and every 45 minutes or so the electric bells ring throughout the corridors, then it’s “All Change!”, there’s all sorts of frightful interaction going on then for about 10 minutes in corridors, halls, and stairwells, before the next session in a classroom. Teacher and students often just want to get through each session, then to the end of the day, and then off that school property and home! Very rare are schools where there is a REAL cohesive policy of care. In all the schools I taught in there was continual tension between the progressives and the traditionalists.

  20. Marriage equality took priority over bullying. They energy put into marriage should have sorted this out. And for the people who say we can do both it’s obvious we couldn’t. Shame on all of us

  21. Hello BULLIES …. are you HAPPY now that the ‘queer kid’ is DEAD? You are despicable vile pigs each of whom ever of you were responsible for this tragedy! I am so sick and tired of these vile acts of bullying children. I hope you are HAPPY now …. better still, when you grow up (age wise that is for clearly you will never have the capacity to grow up mentally), it would be wonderful to know that YOU became the parent of a ‘queer kid’ who was bullied to death – see how you like it then! You might just as well have pulled the trigger and killed this child yourselves – YOU ARE MURDERERS …. do you have the mental capabilities of understanding that – YOU ARE MURDERERS – live with THAT thought for the rest of your pathetic lives!

    1. Jan Bridget 17 Nov 2013, 5:59am

      These children are not born bullies. It is possible some of them are even gay themselves. We must look beyond and deal with the causes of homophobia. The six main institutions that perpetuate homophobia are religion, medicine, law, media, education and family.

      I thought, at first, we should be putting our energy into fighting education rather than marriage but the marriage battle actually challenged religions and as well as winning this battle, we have also opened a gap where at least some of the main players have begun to acknowledge the problem. This is, to me, a major breakthrough.

      We must continue to support religious leaders to acknowledge the role their churches have played and get them on board to tackle homophobia in education – this is crucial given the number of religious schools there are.

      At the same time we need to step up the campaign against education given that it is here that most children are taught to be homophobic.

      1. Jan Bridget 17 Nov 2013, 6:24am

        All this is going to take years so in the mean time it is crucial that support is available for young LGBTs. Sadly instead of there being more LGBT youth groups there has been a decline due to lack of funding.

        The argument often put forward is that all services should meet the needs of all children. This is what the Equality Act was meant to be about. But the reality is that there has been little change.

        What we need in England is an equivalent of the Irish organisation, BeLonG To. We need a national agency specifically to help develop LGBT youth groups and train mainstream services/workers to meet the needs of LGBT youth and to promote national awareness about the needs of young LGBTs.

        Why does this not exist here?

        http://www.galyic.org.uk/about/training_programme1.html

    2. de Villiers 17 Nov 2013, 2:47pm

      Tackling bullying with more bullying is unlikely to work.

  22. This is disgusting. More things should be done in schools to help lgbt students. I am a student and I suffer every day from homophobic comments yet school do almost nothing to prevent it. I want to take action and help others my age but I don’t know how. My heart goes out to his family. But everyone cares when it’s to late.

  23. “My job is to protect kids online but I couldn’t keep my own son safe,” she said.

    I lost it at this part. RIP

  24. Daniella Anne Price 22 Nov 2013, 11:52am

    I have often felt like taking my own life as there is no help from Greater Manchester police; in fact a male officer informed me that I would never be able to use the ladies toilets even after my gender operation. I have been kicked, bricks thrown at my head the sticks & stones the fifteen youths out side my own front door. The fact I was always being threatened if I used any female toilets in public bars I was to be beaten up. My brothers have never spoken to me for over six years since I became a transgendered female. Recently a security guard forced toilet door open while I was still urinating telling me out of the ladies; although I told him that I was transgendered female & I had a gender certificate he repeatedly referred to me as male when I reported this has a Hate Crime police have done nothing. When I was attending Oldham College I was forced to use the disable toilets even thought I am not a disabled person.

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