Two teenagers in Brunswick, Ohio, apparently took their own lives in separate incidents over the weekend, several news outlets are reporting.
14-year-old Matthew Homyk died Friday night in a suspected suicide. Police are not releasing specific details surrounding his death. Friends of Homyk claim he had been bullied in school and on the Q&A website ask.fm.
“People picked on him over social media, I hear,” 13-year-old Kaitlyn Anderson, a friend of Homyk, told the Medina-Gazette. “He was picked on because he was different.”
It’s unclear whether Homyk was LGBT.
This is not the first time ask.fm has come under fire for giving anonymous cyber bullies a platform to prey kids who just happen to be different or vulnerable. There are several Facebook pages with hundreds of thousands of followers that call for the site to be shut down.
The second teenager to take his own life was 17-year-old Anthony Gill. The teen was was found hanging in his backyard on Monday morning. It is believed that he, too, was a victim of bullying.
Both teens attended Brunswick High School, which is located just outside of Cleveland. The school announced that it is making grief counselors available to students, although some feel this is not enough.
The Plain Dealer, a local newspaper in Cleveland, reports that a group of students have asked that an official anti-bullying program be implemented at the school.
“Many students have requested an anti-bullying and suicide prevention group to be made,” a student wrote to the paper on Monday.
“Sadly, the principals have rejected this idea. So students are going to school, but not going to classes. They risk suspension, but don’t care. They hope to get media attention and hope the school changes their mind.”
Brunswick Superintendent Michael Mayell said the school plans to investigate if bullying was a contributing factor in the teenager’s suicides.
“Right now, it’s all just hearsay,” Mayell told the Post, “but it’s something we are going to be looking at more closely.”