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Seth Walsh Asked His Mother To ‘Make School Feel Like Shit’ For Ignoring His Bullying. She Plans On It

Wendy Walsh, the mother of 13-year-old Seth Walsh, who spent 10 days on life support before ultimately dying in September from a hanging suicide attempt, wants no other parent to go through what she did when school officials at Jacobsen Middle School ignored the torment other students were putting Seth through. So she’s teamed with the ACLU to demand the Tehachapi Unified School District institute stricter anti-bullying policies and training. Seth, who came out to his mother in sixth grade, left his mother a suicide note, asking to “put my body in burial, and visit my body, and make sure to make the school feel like shit for bringing you this sorrow.” Superintendent Richard Swanson says following Seth’s suicide, “The code of silence appears to be breaking a little bit.” And yet: “I don’t think we’ve addressed Seth’s issue in terms of sexuality directly.” [Bakersfield Californian]

By:           Max Simon
On:           Dec 17, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , , ,

  • 20 Comments
    • malcanoid
      malcanoid

      This is heartbreaking. So much misery and such an incredible waste of life. Queerty, tell us what has happened at this school and in this school district since the tragedy. Have people been held to account or have the events that occurred at the start of the new academic year been forgotten or sidelined in the space of a single term?

      Dec 17, 2010 at 10:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jonathan
      Jonathan

      Ouch. That was painful to watch. His poor mother. Bakersfield IS a shithole. RIP Seth.

      Dec 17, 2010 at 11:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • michiko
      michiko

      Obviously those who bullied Seth Walsh should suffer and rules should be put in place to prevent harassment of other kids. But the tone of this story makes it sound like Seth was hit by a car or shot in the street. He CHOSE to take his own life–and then laid the mother of all mind-fucks on his mom by leaving her that note. And what was his home life like? It sounds like his mother was supportive, but maybe she’s just ashamed of how she let him down, or maybe even condemned his being gay when he was alive.

      Also, we don’t know the extent of Walsh’s harassment–words like “tormenting” are vague. Was there physical violence? Threats? What if it was just teasing and some nasty notes? The kids have my empathy, but we need to stop framing this issue as if every kid who gets called “faggot” in the hallway will inevitably commit suicide, and that its almost an understandable reaction.

      Dec 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sly D.
      Sly D.

      i’d rather have YOU here, lil’ buddy.
      you wrote beautifully & to the point.
      whut a waste.
      Mom, if you ever need a tazmanian devil…,

      Dec 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Mc
      Paul Mc

      @michiko: Can you just STFU? Seriously… STFU. Did you even watch the f*****g clip? Did you even f*****g hear what she said and what she saw? Do you even have one ounce of empathy with a teenager who was tormented to death?

      Just STFU. Don’t ever post again about teen bullicide.

      He came out young and clearly wanted nothing but acceptance. People like Seth don’t ‘CHOOSE’ suicide – they are driven to it.

      STFU from your inane comments and STFU with your easy arm-chair post-mortem analysis of someone else’s life about which you know nothing.

      STFU and leave it to others to try and change something.

      I hope his mother never reads your post – you may as well slap her about the face and tell her he deserved it and she was to blame.

      You are a complete waste of humanity.

      STFU STFU STFU STFU (Is that enough?)

      Dec 17, 2010 at 2:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Americans=Rightwingers (John From England)
      Americans=Rightwingers (John From England)

      @Paul Mc:

      Well said.

      Dec 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GetBalance
      GetBalance

      Somewhere there must be a loophole in the system to force action on this issue. If ACLU can’t find it, maybe not. Damn, this is horrible. Maybe funding bullying mediation forums in schools. If faculty aren’t going to take action then parents and kids might. Bullies need to be expelled and closely watched. They are sick in the head.

      Dec 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Goodnight Moon
      Goodnight Moon

      @michiko: dear michiko: you are truly an asshole. seriously.

      Dec 17, 2010 at 3:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GetBalance
      GetBalance

      @Michiko — people who commit suicide don’t have the capacity to think of the mind fucks they will foist on others. Hence it’s not applicable as they can only see their own pain, and it deep 6’s em, literally. I don’t think everyone thinks all gay kids who are bullied will commit suicide either. Seth was not bad for what he did, which is what it sounds like you are trying to make him. If you have never had thoughts of suicide you wouldn’t know. You might gain deeper insight by putting yourself in his place before he went. People don’t do suicide to gain attention, they do it because of severe out-of-control fear and pain. It may be easier to blame than understand, but understand we must if we are going to make a difference.

      Dec 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GetBalance
      GetBalance

      PS did someone around you commit suicide?

      Dec 17, 2010 at 4:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris
      Chris

      @Paul MC: I think I love you.

      Dec 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • That Bitch Téa Delgado
      That Bitch Téa Delgado

      Thank you, Paul MC. I tried to kill myself when I was 16. When you are in such a serious, all consuming depression like that, you aren’t thinking about how your actions are going to fuck with people. You’re just trying to find a way out, and you’ve reached a point where you think the only way out is death. Fortunately, I survived. Now, I’m a teacher and I’m doing everything I can to help kids – gay and straight – through this difficult stage.

      Dec 17, 2010 at 11:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • j
      j

      @Chris: Back off, he’s mine :P

      Dec 18, 2010 at 5:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Black Jack44
      Black Jack44

      once they pass laws where the parents of minors are subjected to being imprisoned for the actions of their children the parents of the bullies will make more of an effort to put a stop to this.

      we cant keep relying on the parents of the victims to do all of the work to institute change because until the parents of the bullies make their kids wise up and see what they’re doing is wrong the cycle will continue. If your parents can be jailed because you ditch school, why cant they be jailed if their kid keeps harassing other kids driving them to suicide right along with their kid?

      I know if i found out my kid bullying another kid let alone putting my freedom at risk with their ignorance, he or she would wish they were my kid anymore after that day.

      Dec 20, 2010 at 6:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GetBalance
      GetBalance

      @black jack44

      Are there any places where these types of laws are implemented?

      Dec 20, 2010 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR

      @Black Jack44:

      There is a website detailing safe school policies around the country. http://www.bullypolice.org/ There’s the link, with a state-by-state analysis of current legislation regarding bullying. In a majority of states, laws already exist to address bullying. The solution is not to create yet more laws.

      I’m sick and tired of people screaming for more laws on top of the laws we already have. In my jurisdiction I can think of about four or five crimes right off the top of my head which can apply while a victim of bullying is alive and kicking. I can also think of at least four or five civil torts, all of which would be applicable to a living, breathing teenager who has been harassed at school. I can also, with a little bit of research, pull cases holding schools and the police responsible for failing to follow through with complaints.

      I don’t want to live in a nanny state where the government is responsible for smacking everyone on the hand. Or their parents because their kid acts like a punk.

      Dec 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • grin
      grin

      … look. This is a terrible thing. But I have to agree with Michiko–that there’s got to be some balance here.

      For one thing–you seriously think that the school district is going to be able to effectively address and ameliorate such a deeply-rooted set of societal misperceptions? Okay–because I’m from California, and the school’s there can barely manage, you know… math. So the best you’re likely to get out of this–in terms of long-term policy, is some new forms to fill out, and maybe a “diversity seminar” or two provided for the students to gleefully ignore.

      So I vote more and better out-reach, to give these kids the tools and support they need to deal with stuff like this themselves. Not because they “deserve” to have to take on such a heavy burden… but because, in some ways, that’s the only way to deal with it properly.

      And this, also, from someone who tried. And failed. So.

      Dec 22, 2010 at 7:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      Grin, it’s very easy. If you bully once, you get suspended. If you bully twice, you get expelled.

      A policy like that gives a one-time chance for the person to wise up and turn things around. If they break that chance, it removes that threat to kids from the school. Schools are obligated to provide a safe learning environment for the entire student body — if particular students prevent that environment from being safe, they must reform fast or be removed from it for the sake of everyone else.

      Dec 23, 2010 at 2:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kamrom Dichu
      Kamrom Dichu

      @michiko: I may be a bit late to the party, but you clearly dont understand just how much harassment can destroy people when it never, ever, ever stops. You spend your whole life being targeted and harassed. No one can put up with that. Physical, Verbal, Mental, Spiritual…Any and all forms of harassment can have the same effect. Its unfortunate that Physical is the only one that receives attetin. Its like if yuore not being beaten up, you should just get over it.

      Of course, they tend not to beat people up. Bullies like having a system where so long as they dont actively leave wounds, they receive a total of ZERO punishment, with adults simply ignoring the behavior and making demands of the person attacked.

      You cant make these distinctions. Harassment is harassment is harassment, and it has very clear results. Clinical depression, social anxiety, not to mention an inability to trust/communicate with others. Once youve seen just how awful humans can be, and how awful the people in power can be when presented with this knoweledge, its hard to trust another person to be anything but endlessly selfish.

      Jan 1, 2011 at 9:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @GetBalance: said…

      @black jack44

      Are there any places where these types of laws are implemented?
      ___________________

      There are laws that have been similarly written, in some states, if the child of a parent who is on welfare cuts school and has multiple unexcused abscenses the parents payment check is cut. I believe it was in Wisconsin that this first started. The truency rate among those kids dropped to nearly zero after that law passed.

      Jan 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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