Suicide victim shielded family from 'horror' at school, cousin says


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  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 5, 2012 1:33 p.m.


    The bully factor is not an issue for kids relative to being LDS or not. It happens everywhere and it is as disgusting rather one is LSD or not. If you suggest talking about it in church then that is a discussion in your circle I guess, but acting like bullying that exists in LDS neighborhoods is anymore of an issue within one faith or another is a slippery slope. Tread lightly.

  • rubytulip Sandy, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 1:19 p.m.

    I am a retired high school teacher. Most of my students were great, but with the minority of kids, I saw backtalk, lying, cheating, etc. Bullying upset me the most of the negative behaviors with which I dealt. Unfortunately, my meager attempts to "talk" to the bully-er resulted in him/her turning his bullying to me. I could handle that, but weaker students cannot. I hope that theGraniteSchool District implements some serious strategies to let students know bullying is not ok and that the consequences will be severe and swift. We cannot afford to lose one more student to suicide.

  • Matomand Poway, CA
    Dec. 3, 2012 12:58 p.m.

    The children who bullied this young man are not better than vicious, predatory animals.

    And for the gentleman who said the rules are different when the victim is gay, you have no idea what you are talking about. It is NEVER okay.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Dec. 3, 2012 12:42 p.m.

    @ jeffallen786
    "Everyone keeps saying it was bullying. I wonder if it wasn't sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a federal crime and if it was harassment then the student perpetrators, the school, and the school district are going to have a lot more questions to answer than if it was merely "bullying."

    I know of a young sexual predator who is suspected by her three therapists and adoptive parent of being a sociopath,who has no fear of punishment and no feeling of right and wrong, and yet nothing can be done about her until she is "caught again" by someone other than family members. Why is this?? It is feared that her sexual assaults continue on those within her influence, as she cannot be monitored 24 hours a day. If this kind of extreme social illness is known by adults and DHS and yet those vulnerable to her are not able to be protected, how can we expect "bullying" to be dealt with??

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 12:41 p.m.


    You asked - "If someone committs suicide as a direct result of bullying, could those responsible for the bullying be charged with manslaughter?"

    Depends on the background of the kid who committed suicide is gay. Remember Tyler Clementi, the gay student at Rutgers who committed suicide about two years ago? Several students were charged with a wide variety of crimes, including hate crimes, due to his suicide.

    But trust me, if Clementi had been a straight student and the exact same thing happened, no one would have been charged and no one would have even known his name.

    The fact of the matter is, schools, universities, the press and Hollywood have made it more than quite clear that certain kids are not to ever, ever be bullied, while others kids deserve to be bullied.

  • aunt lucy Looneyville, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 12:18 p.m.

    Schools should and are doing more to stop bullying. There was an article just last week in the trib about a nationally recognized program that shows great results being implemented in Utahs schools. With that said, schools only show us a reflection of our society as a whole. Families must be willing to accept their fair share of the responsibility. How many parents really have a relationship with their child where they really know their child. What's his/her fears, thoughts, dreams, etc are?. Most parents are so busy providing the ever growing list of materials needs and wants they forget about the emotional. The consequence is a school full of frustrated young people looking for acceptance and intimacy. Those striking out physically are as troubled as those receiving the bullying. Many Youth today lack the seciurity of a solid emotional foundation that is required for healthy coping skills. In addition, bullying is now defined as everything from Billy didn't want to play with me today to Billy hit me again today. It's time parents refocused their priorities. Be the change in your child's life your hoping for!

  • news.john2 Orem, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 12:09 p.m.

    As a father of a bullied child, I feel saddened by this tragedy and my prayers go out to the family.

    What makes this more sad is that this happens in LDS neighborhoods. You might ask why this matters at all. If people want to see change, children need to be taught that not participating in the bullying is not good enough, the bullied child needs a place of refuge. All of our children, but especially LDS children who have been taught these principles need to step up and create that refuge. Will they have to sacrifice some of their own social equity, maybe; but isn't that what following Christ and starting your mission prep even earlier is all about-- do unto others as I have done unto you -- love one another as I have loved you. I wish some of the other youth in my sons ward would have done that for him. I loved that story about the football player in Arizona helping the bullied special needs girl. If that spirit really caught on here we would see great change. It wouldn't all go away, but what a difference it would make.

  • Jim Mesa, Az
    Dec. 3, 2012 12:00 p.m.

    If someone committs suicide as a direct result of bullying, could those responsible for the bullying be charged with manslaughter?

  • jeffallen786 westvalley city, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    Everyone keeps saying it was bullying. I wonder if it wasn't sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a federal crime and if it was harassment then the student perpetrators, the school, and the school district are going to have a lot more questions to answer than if it was merely "bullying."

  • IndeMak South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 11:16 a.m.

    Bullies should be named as is done in most countries. I realize kids make mistakes but at what point should the kids that continue down this path be allowed to be protected as kids?

    Parents of these kids (that bully) need to be more involved in their kids' lives.

    I feel horrible for the family of this boy and his friends as well. This is so tragic.

  • whatnext Clearfield, Utah
    Dec. 3, 2012 11:16 a.m.

    I just want to say I work in Jr. High and see bulling going on alot. Part of the problem I see is often times students will not tell people in authority they are being bullied. They are to afraid of the retailiation that will happen if they do tell. They also don't want to be looked at as a tattle tail, which would bring on more problems. If bulling is to be stop in our schools, the punishment that goes along with the act of bulling should be much more strict. Students today who bully others do not respect nor fear those in authority because the consiqueses for their actions have know teeth. Its like a slap on the wrist and that is it. In my opion when a student is found bulling they should be susppended for a week and not allowed back in school until they write a 500 word essay on why it is bad to bully others. And lastly appolgize to the individual for what he or she said or did in front of every one that was present during the incident. If it happened again the the student is expelled. No tollerance allowed.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Dec. 3, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    Junior High School is a tough time.

    I was bullied.
    Most of my fellow "geek" friends were bullied too.

    One day, of them finally shot himself with his dad's hunting rifle, so this story has personal meaning to me.

    The truth is there really isn't much a victim can do.
    Hopelessness can lead to acts of despairation.

    My Dad told me to "stick up" for myself.
    That didn't work, I just got in trouble for fighting.

    Teachers wouldn't do anything.
    Pricipals only looked out for the popular kids.

    I was a White Mormon kid.
    I can't even imagine being "different" in ignorant hickville Kearns.
    [Like a sad Little House on the Prarie episode].

    I can only hope,
    little David did it in front of his "Bullies" so they can live with it the rest of their lives.

  • WestGranger West Valley City, Utah
    Dec. 3, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    There are still plenty of great kids around. But a society of children that are all about entertainment, entitlement and self-indulgence is much less likely to get involved when they see bullying. Kids need to be better educated and given safety plans on how to deal with it. It is true that kids will be kids however we need to distinguish between what are sometimes very serious issues.

  • Itsme2 SLC, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 10:54 a.m.

    I wonder if it might help if students were trained that when they witness bullying they should report it to administration, and that those students would have no fear of getting in trouble or any kind of retaliation. It seems that the one who is bullied doesn't always speak up. I know when I was bullied, I didn't tell anyone out of fear and embarassment. And, of course, we know the bullies themselves won't turn themselves in. Teach kids to stick up for their fellow students. And, if it could work, it would be great to create a buddy system for kids that have been identified as being bullied, so that others could watch out for them. I'm not saying like the movie "My Bodyguard", but why can't we enlist others kids to help?

  • DEW Sandy, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 10:47 a.m.

    DN you should have not shown those pictures on paper which was very persnonal to them. So sorry that they have to go through this.

    "The best safety and security system we have is the eyes and ears of our students," You really think any kids would text or go to the office of what they witness? They FEAR to become a victim.

    Bully will continue to young kids AND ADULTS as well. Sorry to say this which is true.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    Dec. 3, 2012 10:38 a.m.

    I think both sides are well expressed here.
    I saw alot of bullying in Jr High in a small eastern Utah town.
    Lots of the guys were rough and tough farm boys with the typical bully attitudes.
    I hated it when they would push me around or taunt me, but the thought of taking my life never crossed my mind.
    So another question is where the notion of suicide comes from in this generation.
    Especially in this case where this boy seemed to have a large loving and supportive family.
    All questions for people who understand today's youth better than I.

    But putting all of the liability on the schools is a dangerous reaction and will not solve the problem.

    God bless this family.

  • wapple12 Lehi, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 10:37 a.m.


    Does anyone really know if the school knew of the bullying? All we have is their statement to that but it isn't always the truth. I have a friend in FL who reported the bullying of his son to administrators several times and they did nothing. Finally, he told the principal that if the bullying continued then he was going to allow his son to defend himself. Of course the bullying didn't stop so his son punched the kid and that ended the bullying. However, the principal then suspended my friend's son for three days for fighting. This after they were repeatedly told that there was a problem and they didn't put a stop to it, so he took care of it himself. He ended up being the one administratively punished and all the bully got was a bloody nose. That is ridiculous and more needs to be done by administrators early on in the process.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 9:45 a.m.

    I don't know that any of my children were bullies, although they encountered bullies. It is a sad story.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    Bullying exists in various forms, methods and techniques in familiy, community and within organizations such as school. The school system, especially public schools, are more vulnerable to bullying due to the large number of students, parents, and teachers in a variety of settings. Students walk or ride to school. When on the bus, bullying exists, even when there is a bus driver and in some cases even a supervisor or aid. However, when walking in an unsupervised condition for a mile or two, there is only personal, family or group self-policing. However, when students go to a counselor for matters relating to student performance and social problems, bullying should be a part of that discussion and documented. Student performance, whether as the perpetrator or victim, is affected by the attitude that comes from bullying. The impact of finding the vulnerable student the perpetrator hunts for and the vulnerable being the victim and impact of their schooling efforts is horrendous for them and their families.

    School districts need to read between the line with students that come in to a counselor, teacher and administrator about problems. Students knew about this student being bullied. His life and schooling impacted severely.

  • Champ72 logan, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 9:17 a.m.

    I feel for the family. From one who was bullied alot I can only pray that something is done to help lessen the effect of bullying so something this sad does not happen again

  • catcrazed Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 8:12 a.m.

    How can the school be held accountable for something that they did not know? Schools have bullying procedures in place, but cannot deal with things they know nothing about. This is a terrible tragedy. I would also be unwilling to hold this family accountable for anything. To the bullies....how do you feel now?

  • Laura-dora BROWNSVILLE, OR
    Dec. 3, 2012 6:58 a.m.

    Such a tragedy! I'm so sorry for David's family and friends and the grief and loss they are suffering. I hope and pray that bullying will stop and that students will have the courage to report bullying when they are aware of it and adults will respond and protect the victims. Let David's suffering and sad premature death be a reminder that he did not receive the help and support he needed.

  • DeepBreath West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 5:30 a.m.

    A few questions: One, why did this boy have access to the gun in the house? Two, Why did the parents, who were just sent home with the boy, allow him to return unsupervised to school?

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 12:20 a.m.

    Are these bullies going to be made to be accountable? What about school officials? Thes bullies should not be allowed in public school. They should be fined heavily and made to spend time locked up.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 2, 2012 11:40 p.m.

    @Mom of 8

    Most everybody wants bullying to stop. Be fair and realistic with your comments though. How does this rounding up of kids and parents start and end? I mean accusations fly. There are different degrees of what can be seen as bullying.

    Yes, you are right, this idea of yours would cost money, but a huge concern for me would be those in charge (flawed individuals) stepping in and infringing into families' homes to counsel kids and their parents about bullying after their kid got into some minor scuffle with multiple sides of the story at the playground.

    I think kids need to be encouraged to speak up if bullied, or if they witness someone being bullied. If there is a definite issue there, stepping in and taking appropriate action is needed. But as sad as these stories are (David Phan here), we can't stop the struggles of our youth by turning our schools into a police state. I absolutely don't want that.

    Mistakes are sometimes made when suspecting bullies. Last year a teen sent a video and bully story to the news. The other side of the story was later viewed as justified (innocent teen hurt).

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 10:53 p.m.

    The kids who bullied MUST be held accountable. No excuses of "they're young," or "that's just the way junior high is." Children who are bullies often grown up to be adults who are bullies, abusers, and all-around thugs. This is where it begins, and this is where it MUST end.

    Find these kids. Get them psychological help. Make them face the consequences of their bullying. Show them the grave. Show them the grieving family. Then find out what's going on the bullies' lives. Kids who bully often have parents who bully them. Let's get to work on them, too!

    Yes, this happens all the time, everywhere. So when do we get fed up enough to take the drastic measures needed to stop the bullying cycle?

    Yes, it will be painful. Yes, it will cost money.

    But isn't all of that worth it to save a child's life?

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Dec. 2, 2012 10:02 p.m.

    Bullying is terrible. We all need to counteract it by being kind and taking interest in others. And stop or at least report bullying.

    I'm so sorry for the family.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 2, 2012 7:28 p.m.

    Bullying has always been a part of life. It comes from children, teens, and even adults, and it's very harmful. For anyone out there who participates in any form of bullying, please check yourself and make this lesson applicable (that is the sadness and loss of life/David Phan).