When a 13-year-old began talking about committing suicide, her parents contacted Stamford Police to ask that they investigate the alleged bullying that was causing her to contemplate ending her life.
Less than two weeks later, a 12-year-old girl — the alleged bully — was arrested for disorderly conduct.
Stamford Police say they determined that the arrest, on Oct. 1, was the best way to bring about an end to the alleged bullying. And that it sends a warning to bullies that this type of activity will not be tolerated, especially in a learning environment.
The arrest comes about a month after a 15-year-old Greenwich student shot and killed himself. School officials reportedly knew that he was the victim of bullying, and questions arose in the wake of that incident whether they did enough to prevent the tragic end to a young life filled with so much promise.
'Vast Majority of Youth Who Are Bullied Do Not Become Suicidal'
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says it's important to note that bullying itself doesn't always lead to suicide among teens.
"Research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion and despair. It can also lead to depression and anxiety, which can contribute to suicidal thoughts and behavior. Yet, the vast majority of youth who are bullied do not become suicidal," the organization writes on its website.
"Years and years of research has taught us that the overwhelming number of people who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental disorder at the time of their death," Ann Haas, a senior project specialist at the AFSP, told the Huffington Post in an article titled, "Bullying and Suicide: The Dangerous Mistake We Make."
Suicide Statistics from the CDC
While adolescents and young adults make up the lowest percentage of suicides by age in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, overall, the incidence of suicide was on the rise from 2000 to 2010. The CDC also reports:
- In 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available), 38,364 suicides were reported
- That stat made suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans
- In that year, someone in the country died by suicide every 13.7 minutes
'It's A Wake Up Call'
In the days following the Greenwich teen's suicide, the town's superintendent of schools, William McKersie, told Greenwich Patch:
“If I’m a young adult, someone in the schools, in the community and I see something online, just don’t let it sit. Like someone said in the hallway, 'You got to follow up on it,' that’s for all of us. There are legal issues, but … it’s a wake up call … great systems in Greenwich, but how do we build on that to help our kids make the right decisions.”