Father of 11 year old who committed suicide after being bullied continues fight for change
NORTH LEWISBURG, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Friday marks two years since 11-year-old Bethany Thompson committed suicide.
Her parents said she was bullied at school because of her crooked smile.
Since that day, her father Paul has continued to spread a message of love, in hopes of saving another child from the same fate.
“I love you Daddy," said Bethany in a video message to her father Paul, just one month before she died.
“It’s still hard to believe. It’s still hard to really, to understand why," Paul Thompson, Bethany's father, said.
Thompson fought the rain to visit his daughter’s grave in North Lewisburg.
“The more time goes on it gets harder because it doesn’t go away," he said.
The week she committed suicide.
“There seems like there’s a lot I don’t know, that I should have some answers, but I haven’t gotten any," he said.
“The school won’t give me any records," he continued, "I’ve asked for records as far as the bullying, none.”
As Paul waits for answers, he fights to save other kids from the same fate.
“I’ve been taking some time and going and talking to schools and Girl Scout troops," Paul said.
“Bullying’s not right, and don’t be afraid to go say anything, and don’t be afraid to stand up to bullies," he continued, "to stand up to somebody and for somebody is very important at any age."
Pictures, videos and memories are what Paul now holds on to, along with the hope that he can make a difference.
“Bullying is still an issue, and it’s not going to change until the accountability is done," he said.
Paul is fighting for legislation that he believes would do just that.
“Kids be held accountable for bullying, parents as well, and school districts. I mean, everybody had a part and a role," said Paul.
But until that day, Paul, has a message for his little girl.
“I love you and I miss you, and part of my heart’s gone. There will be a missing spot," Paul said through tears.
The Triad Local School District released a statement saying:
"The district has always had policies in compliance with state and federal laws, and it updates those policies when state or federal laws so require. The district continues to take very seriously all concerns brought forward about bullying and harassment, investigates those concerns, and takes actions immediately to properly address all complaints of bullying and harassment between or among students.
The district continues to take all precautions to identify student needs, be responsive to reports of concerns and bullying, protect students, and provide students with support at school. District administrators and teachers are trained and encouraged to take actions to address concerns of student safety, report any misconduct immediately to proper authorities, and to keep parents of the involved students informed."
“Safety of students is of utmost priority for our school district and its administrators, and we are committed to providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for our students."
Paul has a petition online at change.org to get legislation in the State of Ohio. If you are interested in signing the petition, head to this website.