The Folsom Cordova Unified School District in California is investigating concerns that the bullying of a 12-year old Japanese American may have triggered his suicide, reports Nichi Bei (graphic from Military Health)
School spokesman Daniel Thigpen says the district is going through all its records and interviewing staff to see how it responded to concerns about bullying expressed by the boy’s parents.
“We’re, as a district, going back and reviewing everything we know about this student’s history in the district, including what concerns may have been raised about potential bullying,” he said. “We’re going back, taking a look and making sure there weren’t any missed opportunities or anything else that we could’ve done.”
Thigpen says the process will be a long one and hinted what will be released publicly may be limited due to confidentiality issues involving students.
12-year-old Ronin Shimizu took his own life Dec. 3. At least three meetings between school officials and parents in the district have taken place since then. School principal John Bliss sees the meetings as an opportunity to discuss the issues of teen suicide with parents in a small group setting and to seek solutions.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 10 – 24.
“There was a lot of discussion about empathy and teaching children to be more accepting so that made me feel good,” said a parent who attended the meeting. “(There was) also talk of zero tolerance, which I think is great, but I also think we need to look at how we assist those children who have some of those challenges with bullying.”
You can read more about the difficulties Ronin may have had in school and concerns from the community in Nichi Bei.