A middle schooler came close to taking his own life after receiving an onslaught of distressing comments in his yearbook from schoolmates who called him names and told him to kill himself, his mother said.
The 13-year-old boy was left devastated last Friday after passing his yearbook around to other children at Glacier Middle School in Buckley, Wash., his mom wrote on Facebook.
Inside, he found insults and curses, including “f*** yuo (sic)” and “piece of s***,” a picture of the yearbook showed.
Other messages were even more sinister.
“You should do the world a favor and die,” one read, while another said, “No balls kill yourself you won’t!”
“Kill yourself,” another urged.
“He walked out of the lunch room and walked home and called me in tears,” the mom posted on Facebook. “He has been bullied all year long.”
The child, whose name is being withheld, told his mother earlier in the day that he didn’t want a yearbook, she said.
“I knew why he didn't want one...the mean kids, not having many friends and the insecurity of not having anyone or many sign it,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “That in itself was heartbreaking but I had faith that he would be surprised and come home happy.”
At the urging of his mother, he bought one and handed it to a boy who had always been nice to him, she said.
“His yearbook was returned to him by getting hit in the back with it, he turned around picked it up off the floor and walked out of the lunchroom and left campus,” the boy's mom wrote.
The boy went to a nearby river, where he planned to drown himself, and texted his mother goodbye, he told KOMO News.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry Mom, I just can’t take it anymore and maybe I should just do it. Maybe they’re right. I’m sorry, I’m sorry,'” she told the television station.
She raced to the river, but found her son sitting on the side of the road.
He said he changed his mind, telling KOMO News he realized it wasn’t worth it.
Police were called about the incident and the White River School District was informed as well.
“As educators, we are devastated when something like this happens to any student," Superintendent Janel Keating-Hambly said in a statement. "Our immediate concern is for the safety and well-being of the student involved, and school administration has been working closely with the student and their family from the beginning.
"This response has also included the involvement of local law enforcement. An incident like this affects us all. While we are dealing with this specific and personal case, we also face an awareness that we are not alone in dealing with the effects of bullying. This is an issue across the state, and the nation, and White River is not immune.”
The district has implemented strategies to train staff to promote positive and proactive classroom management, and is adding a social emotional learning curriculum that will include a section on bullying, Keating-Hambly said.
“The leadership at Glacier will change and reorganize in the upcoming school year, and we will work together to address how best to create a kind and supportive environment,” she said. “By far, most of our students are kind and supportive already. But we do need to work harder on behalf of all students in our schools and focus on what our community expects of its schools. We want every child to feel safe, treated special, and learn.”
Police told KOMO News that the students who wrote the cruel notes in the boy’s yearbook are most likely too young to face criminal action.
Keating-Hambly did not say what, if any, action will be taken against the students who wrote the comments in the boy’s yearbook.
Since the incident, the boy has received many positive messages from peers who want him to feel appreciated, his mom said on Facebook.
“To the caring, kind, thoughtful students that reached out and text [my son], bless you, it means more than you will ever know,” she wrote.