Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mental Nurse on Emo and self harm - Daily Mail screws up a vulnerable teen's therapy

Found an interesting blog on the recent anti-emo stuff in the Mail by a mental nurse at He/she works in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services sommwhere:

I think I’ve give a real-world clinical example, dealing with a self-harming emo kid.

A quick caveat before I do. Teenage self-harming is not an “emo thing”. We see plenty of cutters in CAMHS, and the bulk of them are not emos. Chavs cut themselves too. In fact, some kids cut themselves despite not being part of any fashion clique at all. It’s almost as if self-harm were a mental health issue rather than a fashion trend. Strange, that.

Anyway, let’s bring in our emo. He’s 15 years old, and in honour of My Chemical Romance, we’ll call him Gerard. read more here More on Emo
The most worrying thing about this is that in the blog Dr Cretin takes his ideas on emo from the press reports.

Dr Cretin is…shall we say…a little old-fashioned. Therefore I had a feeling things weren’t go to go well when Gerard turned up to the appointment wearing eyeliner.

Dr Cretin looks at him disapprovingly. “So….this emo cult that you’re involved in. Is that why you started cutting yourself?”

Emo cult? Oh Christ, please don’t tell me Dr Cretin read that bloody Daily Mail article...

By this point Gerard looks like he’s about to cry. Which is unsurprising, since he’s just been told his personal identity is a cult and he should get rid of all his friends.

Once again proof that the Daily Mail screws with peoples lives. The nurse seems to think (with good reason) that the kids interest in bands is in fact a positive thing. "I’ve explored in sessions what Gerard feels he gets out of being an emo. His answers: a sense of identity, a feeling of mutual understanding with others, being accepted and valued in a way that he isn’t by the bullies at school who push his head down the toilet."

And once again we note the kid has been bullied in school as well.

The original comments on the Mail emo article are classic in pointing out its absurdity but they also note:
Funnily enough, we haven’t any seen that many emos come into CAMHS lately (though we’ve got a few goths). We actually see a lot more chavs than any other subculture.
So according to an inexact survey it is chavs, not emos that self harm more at the moment. But as they also point out it might be that social services intervene in "chav" cases more often.

Basically the point is stupid sterotypes about mental conditions cause more harm than anything else. And where do they come from ? Media nonsense is one source.

March on the Mail - Lies about Emo Death Cult lead to protest

MCR fans are planning a May on May 31st in London against that bastion of prejudice the Daily Mail after their recent campaign of lies. Respect is due to all those planning this excellent idea.

Find out more about the march here at It seems very well organised if you are in London why not support them:

This protest is being held in order to raise awareness on My Chemical Romance’s acutely anti-suicide message and the serious issue of depression, especially in teenagers.

We hope to show that My Chemical Romance is not a ‘suicide cult’ - as the Daily Mail has called them in a recent article - but simply a rock band that wants to save people’s lives. Depression is a serious thing and careless journalism runs the risk of trivializing it; especially as far as teenage depression is concerned. My Chemical Romance have always tried to ward their fans away from depression and aid them in seeking help, even going as far as to call suicide hotline numbers from the stage. Whereas, badly researched journalism is in danger of promoting irresponsible stereotyping and taking away from depression as a serious medical illness.
It has been covered in The Guardian and the Independent which has a long and detailed article:

EMO: Welcome to the Black Parade

A Kent coroner's comments over the suicide of 13-year-old Hannah Bond, in which he expressed concern over the dead girl's passion for emo music, spawned a glut of lurid headlines earlier this month. But it was the Daily Mail that decided to delve deeper into the craze – prompting one of the unlikeliest protests London has seen for some time.

Next Saturday, fans of MCR will descend on the Mail's Kensington headquarters in west London to vent their rage at what they claim is "badly researched journalism in danger of promoting irresponsible stereotyping". It is a remarkably polite and measured response for a group supposedly in thrall to a mind-bending cult.

According to one of the organisers, Anni Smith, 16, from Hampshire, festering anger that has been simmering below the surface for some time has finally spilt over. Some 300 people have already logged on to the protest site,, expressing their desire to take part.

She believes the numbers determined to march eventually on the Mail HQ could be much higher and today organisers will meet representatives of the Metropolitan Police to discuss tactics for the demonstration and a possible transfer to nearby Hyde Park to avoid any trouble. Ms Smith, who has seen MCR four times, said that far from being advocates of mass suicide, the band are passionate opponents of self harm – as evidenced in the lyrics to their most famous song with its defiant message "to carry on". "I love their passion and the way they believe in what they do," she said. "They are amazing people. They want everyone to be OK, healthy and happy. A lot of people are affected by depression and a lot of MCR fans are too. This article was careless and badly researched journalism which really surprised us. They are the complete opposite of a suicide cult.

"The band has always been adamant that if you have problems you should get help and not give in."

The backlash has been growing apace. Internet chatrooms are clogged with comments from fans furious at what they say is breathtaking ignorance being displayed from across the generation divide by a people happier crooning along to Jim Morrison's "Soft Parade" than the later, darker assembly.

"Society constantly looks for something to point a finger at when things don't go right," wrote one fan to the NME this week. "It's time to face facts that being a young person today is tough."

According to Conor McNicholas, the magazine's editor, the furore has generated the NME's biggest postbag this year. "The reaction of the right-wing press is fairly moronic, knee-jerk stuff," he said. "Genuine music fans who know the way these things work are not afraid of speaking out and saying this is wrong.

"They sell papers on the basis of fear and the more frightened parents are the more sales there are for the Daily Mail. They are setting parents against their children which might sell papers but is incredibly destructive of family relations in the long term. If you want to alienate young people the best way to make them feel disaffected is to take away the music and culture they love."

It even led to a leading article:

Leading article: Reasons to be cheerful
Independent, UK - 22 May 2008

The list of popular music trends that have scandalised the curtain-twitching classes would take more space than we have here to chronicle.

Suffice to say that, from Elvis to the Beastie Boys, from the Beatles to the Sex Pistols, there has rarely been a time when "polite society" has not found something in youth culture to demonise. The latest target of the wagging finger of reproach is "emo": a style of music that places heavy emphasis on what one might describe as the more sombre aspects of human existence.

One Middle England newspaper has even labelled the emo scene a "cult" and linked it to the suicide of a 13-year-old girl who was deeply into the American emo band My Chemical Romance.

In an admirably well-organised counter-attack, hundreds of emos are planning to protest outside the newspaper's offices, presumably dressed in their characteristic black garb.

We understand the frustration of emos at being slurred in this fashion. But we would also offer some consolation. First, being attacked like this is a back-handed compliment: most good music gets the moral outrage treatment at some point.

Second, it won't be long before the reactionaries turn their attention to demonising some other aspect of our culture.

And, eventually, they'll no doubt even be complaining that "the youth of today" are so much worse behaved than those polite emos of yesteryear.

It's advice they're unlikely to heed, but emos should try to remember that it's not all doom and gloom.

Short article in Guardian

Maligned emo fans to march on Daily Mail, UK - 22 May 2008

Good as these articles are they miss the main point that this march is no joke. Telling lies about subcultures leads to suffering and violence. As pointed out on this blog constantly the Mail's propaganda over Hannah Bond's death is likely to result in violence - obviously there is the example of Mexico but this problem was in the States before that see here for one example.

See the previous reports on the media lies which led to this march here:

Hannah Bond - Why no Emo is safe from the Daily Mail's Cult of Lies
Hannah Bond - Press/Coroner blame another suicide on Emo

Her are posts to the original lies from 2006.
New Emo Goth Danger?
More media lies about goths and emos

And remember exactly these sort of reports about emo have led to stupid ideas across the world from Russia government panics to Malta.

There is also a petition you can sign HERE against media distoration with other 1000 signatures.

I only hope this will stop the media telling lies.

At an MCR concert Gerard Way expresses himself strongly on the issue I think this was at Reading festival (2007?). He has being saying similar stuff since the first mail article accusing them of being involved in a death cult back in 2006:

Fuck the Daily Mail!

Justice is done - Another victim sees attackers jailed

Another account of a horrific crime is only now revealed as being motivated by prejudice. It is interesting to note that it occurred in Denton, formerly in Lancashire, now greater Manchester only 6 miles east of central Manchester not that far from Bacup. The Early Day Motion has 26 signatures now this trial is just more proof the laws ned looking at:

Goth attack thugs jailed

Adam Derbyshire
21/ 5/2008

A GOTH attacked and left for dead by two thugs who disliked how he dressed has thanked a Good Samaritan for saving his life.

Stephen Jones, 20, was punched to the ground, stamped on and robbed by teenage yobs Steven Clayton and Peter Landy, one of whom was a childhood friend.

The case carries chilling echoes of the murder of Sophie Lancaster, who was attacked by a gang for being a goth.

Stephen was saved by passer-by Andrew Dawes who stopped his car and chased the violent pair off.


Clayton was jailed for 10 years and Landy for four years at Manchester Crown Court last Monday after a jury convicted them of the brutal attack in Denton.

Stephen had dropped off a CV at a local shop in Circular Road looking for part-time work.

As he walked home with his girlfriend on 3 August, 2006, he was confronted by Clayton.

Stephen said: "He wandered up and accused me of talking about him and started mocking me because of the way I looked. I’d never seen him before in my life.

"I recognised Landy because we used to be best friends when we were young, but we drifted apart as we got older.

"Clayton demanded money and started pushing me and putting his hands in my pockets.

"He punched me in the face four times.

"I fell down and they stamped on my head and kicked me in the face. They showed no signs of stopping until Andrew pulled over and they fled."

Stephen suffered a bleed o n the brain and spent a fortnight in hospital. His injuries were so severe he lost his memory and the ability to walk.

He said: "I used to be so outgoing but my self confidence has plummeted."

In order to make a fresh start, Stephen left his mum’s home in Platt Walk, Denton and moved to his dad’s in Hadfield.

While on bail for the attack, Clayton assaulted and robbed another boy in Denton.

Clayton, of Whittles Walk, Denton and Landy, of Platt Walk, Denton, both 19, were convicted of grevious bodily harm and robbery.

Stephen’s mum June Wood, of Carrbrook, said: "If it had not been for the passing motorist, Andrew Dawes, these two thugs could have killed my son."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Latest plans for Sophie Foundation - New Hate Crimes centers in Cheshire

Foundation in memory of Sophie Lancaster
Lancashire Telegraph, UK -18 May 2008

A CHARITABLE foundation is being set up in memory of murdered Sophie Lancaster.

The charity will seek to help educate professionals such as the police and teachers about subcultures.

It will also continue the campaign to make the definition of a hate crime include offences motivated by appearance.

Sophie, 20, died last August after being set upon as she cradled her boyfriend Robert Maltby who had been attacked in Stubbylee Park, Bacup.

The pair - former Haslingden High School pupils - had been targeted by a gang of youths because they were dressed as goths.

Sophie's attackers Ryan Herbert, 16, and Brendan Harris, 15, both from Bacup, were jailed for life last month for her murder.

Sophie's mother Sylvia hopes the Sophie Lancaster Foundation will be a lasting legacy to her daughter.

The foundation will be accessible by professionals including teachers and police, to educate children and others about subcultures.

It will also be used as training provider and as a stepping stone for social lobbying to get a change in the law regarding the definition of hate crime.

A website, which will incorporate Sophie's MySpace site and information about the SOPHIE campaign, will be used to promote the foundation.

It will also include artwork, poetry and music that people have dedicated to Sophie.

The charities commission has been contacted.

Syliva has been in contact with Lancashire Youth Service about setting up workshops to educate young people about subcultures.

Interesting to note this news report mentions the SOPHIE hate crimes campaign.

Peter Fahy wants to encourage reporting of hate crime
BBC News,

Police in Cheshire are setting up more than 40 centres for victims to report hate crimes.

The centres will be set up within support group bases, citizens' advice bureaux, council and housing offices, schools and universities....

Hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated by an offender's hatred of someone because of their race, colour, religion, gender, sexuality or disability.

Mr Fahy added: "It is important to say that hate crime is not just about race. It is about people who are marked out to be different and are targeted because of this.

"One issue that is increasing is crime against disabled people or those with learning difficulties."

A campaign is under way to extend the definition of hate crime after the murder of Sophie Lancaster in a Lancashire park last year.

She was targeted because she was dressed as a Goth.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Alternative youth stopped from gathering in Liverpool

This article indicates the police in Liverpool are targeting Alternative youth just for gathering in one place....just as in Glasgow, Bristol, Leeds etc etc. As our previous articles on have shown alternative youth frequently gather together not only for social reasons but because of fear of attack:

Give us a place to go
Liverpool Echo, UK - 29 Apr 2008

PICTURE the scene: a group of girls sitting on a bench in St John’s Gardens, talking, staring at boys in skinny jeans, doing usual friends stuff ...

Now, what’s wrong with that?

Apparently some people do think there’s something wrong with it because we’re no longer allowed to do it.

Every Saturday my friends have hung around at the Pier Head. We’re from different parts of Liverpool, so town is easy for everyone. One quick bus or train and you’re there, with a day to spend with your mates.

Apparently, all the teenagers of Liverpool thought so, too.

The Pier and the Courts were the places all the emos, the goths, the metal-heads – anyone of an alternative persuasion – could just hang out and be themselves.

Then, of course, the Pier had building work (or whatever’s going on) and we were left with the question: ‘Where to now?’

The Pier and the Courts were out of everyone’s way, so it wasn’t like we were disturbing people. We could hardly set up camp outside Argos, further into town, could we? Everyone started migrating to the Courts or the Gardens, so it seemed we were okay for space.

And then somebody decided: ‘Oh no, we can’t have kids having fun in a public place where they’re allowed to be.’

And suddenly the Courts always had police telling us to move on, that we couldn’t stay there. The same went for the Gardens.

Where are we supposed to go now?

We’re not even allowed to hang out outside Burger King anymore while our mates are getting food (the Burger King staff kick you out if you aren’t eating, even if you’re with people who are).

There’s a policeman threatening to arrest us just for hanging around, telling us to go to a park near our homes (even though we’d just explained we were from all parts of Liverpool), naming a load of dodgy parks and public areas and telling us that these were the places kids our age should be hanging out.

Why? So we can all be attacked and then no-one has to worry about where we are then?

Neo Nazis in Israel target goths alongside other minorities

Neo-Nazis are never that clever but the very idea of Jewish Neo-Nazis seems particularly odd. They obviously come from a Russian background from the names and as reported previously on this blog Russian neo-nazis have ben known to attack subcultures alongside their usual other targets

Details of the Nazi gang were first published in September 2007, when police arrested eight youths, aged 16 to 21, who sadistically targeted and attacked drug abusers, homosexuals, foreign workers, religious Jews and youths with a "Goth" appearance.

2 youths convicted of Nazi affiliation
Ynetnews, Israel 5 May 2008

Interesting article on goth in Israel here:
Goth in the First Modern Jewish City
Ha'aretz, Israel - 5 May 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tempest Smith - another Victim of hatred of goths and Wiccans

Thanks to Leanisb again for drawing our attention to the suicide of 12 year old Tempest Smith in the States in February 2001 in Michigan which I hadn't noted before. She committed suicide because of bullies picking on her for her black clothing and interest in Wicca. Five months after the suicide, Tempest Smith's mother, Denessa, filed suit against the school, alleging that they had turned a blind eye to the bullying and that their inaction allowed an avoidable suicide. It seems this another case of bullycide just like Dominic Maynard.

George Hunter (The Detroit News) reports, “Tempest Smith, age 12, sat alone in her bedroom one chilly morning late last month and gazed into the mirror. Shortly before her classes were to start at Lincoln Park (MI) Middle School, she kissed her reflection goodbye. The lipstick smudges still adorn Tempest’s mirror, sad reminders of the day the tall, troubled girl slipped a leopard-print scarf around her neck and hanged herself from her bunk bed.”

Teasing and taunting led girl to end her life
Pressures that prompted mass shootings also spur quiet suicides
By George Hunter
The Detroit News

LINCOLN PARK — Twelve-year-old Tempest Smith sat alone in her bedroom one chilly morning late last month and gazed into the mirror. Shortly before her classes were to start at Lincoln Park Middle School, she kissed her reflection goodbye.

The lipstick smudges still adorn Tempest’s mirror, sad reminders of the day the tall, troubled girl slipped a leopard-print scarf around her neck and hanged herself from her bunk bed.

Tempest’s journal, discovered under her bed after her Feb. 20 suicide, offers a glimpse into a problem family and friends didn’t fully understand: the incessant teasing she faced every day about her shy demeanor, choice of clothing and religious beliefs that made each day of school — then eventually life itself — unbearable.

Everyone is against me. Still, death will come sooner or later for me. Will I ever have friends again?

The haunting, hopeless feelings Tempest privately expressed in her daily journal are shared by an increasing number of children. Although older teens commit the bulk of suicides, at least 300 children ages 10-14 kill themselves annually nationwide. The number of suicides in that age group has tripled since 1995 in Michigan.

Taunts alone usually won’t cause a child to commit suicide, experts say. But combined with other problems, constant ridicule by peers can be enough to push a kid over the edge. Teasing and bullying is a constant thread running through school violence.

On Monday, a ninth-grader at Santana High School near San Diego shot and killed two students and wounded 13 others; classmates said the 15-year-old was often picked on. And at Columbine High School in 1999, two students who’d been teased for years gunned down 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves.

But for every violent episode that makes headlines, there are more than 2,000 U.S. children each year who, like Tempest Smith, quietly decide they can’t take it any more.

‘Jesus luvs u’

Tempest often spent hours in her bedroom writing poems and other reflections in the small notebook she kept beneath her bed. The notebook was a birthday gift from her mother. It had a picture of pop star Ricky Martin on the cover.

Tempest, a tall, slim blond who got her name because she was born during a violent storm, wrote about typical youthful concerns: crushes on boys; her dog, a shar-pei named Buddy; trips to her grandmother’s house. She wrote about family, calling her mother, “the best mom ever.”

She also wrote about the pain she increasingly endured during school.

He said some things to me. It all made my skin boil. Afterward, my head ached.

Denessa Smith sits alone in her dead daughter’s room. Tempest Smith, 12, killed herself in her Lincoln Park bedroom last month after being taunted by classmates.

Although Tempest had a few friends, many of her classmates had teased her constantly since elementary school. They teased her because she wore dark “Gothic” clothing to school. They teased her because she read books about Wicca, a pagan religion often associated with witchcraft. Her classmates often taunted her with Christian hymns.

Now people aren’t chanting Jesus luvs u. They’re singing it.

“Tempest was her own person, and the kids made fun of her a lot,” said classmate Shayna Obiyan, 12.

Tempest didn’t smile much at school, said 14-year-old Jason Pate. “She seemed sad all the time,” he said.

Life at home was different, said Tempest’s mother, Denessa Smith. “She was very talented,” Smith said of her oldest child. “She liked to play the flute and write poetry.”

Smith, who raised Tempest alone, wasn’t concerned when her daughter became interested in witchcraft. “She asked me if I’d buy her some books about Wicca, and I said I wanted to read them first,” Smith said. “The books all talked about love and nature. I didn’t see anything wrong with that.”

Tempest would get moody sometimes — “but what 12-year-old girl doesn’t?” wondered Smith, an administrative assistant at McDonald’s Corp. in Taylor. “I knew she was being teased at school, but I didn’t know it bothered her that much. She never told me.”

‘Her lips were blue’

Feb. 20 was a half-day at Lincoln Park Middle School. Tempest wasn’t due in class until noon. She woke up around 10 a.m., showered, then donned her usual outfit: black pants and a black shirt. Then she ate a bowl of Frosted Flakes and watched television.

Because of the late school day, Annette Crossman, a family friend, offered to drive Tempest to class while her mother was at work. “She seemed perfectly normal,” Crossman said.

After breakfast, Tempest went to her bedroom. “At around 11:30, I hollered that it was time to go,” Crossman said. “She didn’t answer.”

Crossman noticed that Buddy, the family dog, was acting strangely. “He was walking around in circles and whining,” she said. “That’s when I knew something was wrong.”

When Crossman rushed to Tempest’s bedroom, she found the girl hanging.

“At first, I didn’t believe what I was seeing,” Crossman said. “Then it hit me, and I got a knife and cut her down. Her lips were blue; I was freaking out.”

She called for an ambulance, which arrived within minutes. Tempest was rushed to Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte.

Crossman called Denessa Smith at work, and Tempest’s frantic mother raced to the hospital. “When I got there,” Smith said, “the doctors told me Tempest was probably brain-dead, but that they couldn’t make an official prognosis.”

A helicopter transported Tempest to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. At 5:30 p.m., doctors told Smith her daughter was suffering irreparable brain damage, due to asphyxiation.

At 10:55 a.m. on Feb. 21, after more than 50 organs were removed from her body for donations, Tempest Smith was taken off the hospital’s life support system.

Students express grief, guilt

Do you want to be around me? Ever will I live in peace?

Students at Lincoln Park Middle School are now trying to find peace themselves, haunted by the feeling that they may have driven their classmate to end her life. Many of Tempest’s classmates have told teachers and counselors they feel responsible, because they teased the girl so ruthlessly. More than 100 students showed up at Tempest’s funeral last Saturday, bearing cards and placards expressing their grief — and guilt.

“I’m sorry if I said mean things to you,” one of Tempest’s classmates wrote. “I didn’t mean them. It was the easiest way for me to hide what was wrong with me.”

“I am sorry that it led to this,” was the message written on a placard. “None of it should have happened. If only they had understood, then you would still be alive.”

Lincoln Park school officials and grief counselors have been working with the students.

“The last thing we want to do is make our students feel guilty,” said Lincoln Park Middle School Principal Robert Redden. “But, maybe there is a lesson to be learned here: that we should strive to treat each other with more kindness.”

More than 2,000 school-age children — age 19 or younger — take their own lives each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And while the numbers are small, the rise in suicides by children ages 10 to 14 is particularly troubling, health officials say.

Only four Michigan children in that age group committed suicide in 1995. In 1998, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 13 children in the state had taken their lives.

While there are no simple answers, health officials believe that teasing can send an already troubled child over the edge.

More than 90 percent of people who commit suicide suffer from clinical depression, said Lanny Berman, executive director of the American Association of Suicidology in Washington, D.C. “Often, it’s these mental conditions that cause children to be teased in the first place,” Berman said.

Jean Vasquez twice attempted suicide by slitting her wrists when she was in middle school. She still has the scars on her wrists, reminders of her difficulty dealing with the relentless teasing she received as a child.

“If you’re a little different, some kids can make your life an absolute hell,” said Vasquez, now 35, of Detroit.

Are schools responsible?

Anybody here to hear me? No one will stay near me.

Educators who fail to hear the distressed cries from students who are harassed now face litigation, after a 1999 Supreme Court ruling held a Georgia school district liable for monetary damages to a fifth-grader because of the district’s indifference to a pattern of sexual harassment.

There have since been a number of similar lawsuits, said Michigan Association of School Boards legal council Brad Banasik. “The Supreme Court case opened the door,” Banasik said. “But, the person bringing the lawsuit has to prove that a teacher or other administrator actually saw the harassment.”

Robin and Carl Zaas lost a lawsuit against the Northville district last year, after the couple failed to prove their 9-year-old daughter’s teachers were aware of any allegations of harassment by other students.

But similar suits have been successful. In 1999, a Seattle teen with cerebral palsy was awarded $300,000 in an out-of-court settlement, after the boy sued the school because he said his teachers were indifferent to his classmates’ taunts about his medical condition.

Denessa Smith isn’t sure if school staff knew about the teasing her daughter received.

“Tempest said she told her teachers about it all the time,” Smith said. “I have to wonder if someone in the school couldn’t have stopped it.”

School administrators weren’t aware of the problem, said Principal Redden. “If the teachers don’t actually see the teasing, there’s not much they can do,” he said.

Not too late

Death — why does it come? Ever will I die? No, no, I will live hopefully.

Educators are becoming aware of the often devastating effects of teasing and bullying by students, and some schools are setting policies that deal with the problem. In one Oakland, Calif., district, students have a “consulting teacher” they check in with twice daily, who resolves any conflict before allowing them back to class.

And in New Mexico, Chelwood Elementary School Principal Jack Vermillion last year instituted an “anti-bullying” program.

“Experience shows that about 15 percent of students do the teasing; 10 percent are teased; and 75 percent are glad they don’t get teased,” Vermillion said. “This program focuses on getting that silent majority to speak out when they see a classmate being teased or bullied.”

Such programs seem to work. Vermillion said he usually suspends between eight and 10 students a year for fighting; during the first year of the effort, he suspended just one. And, in Norway, bullying behavior reportedly dropped by 50 percent after a program was instituted in schools there.

Although Tempest Smith is gone, it’s not too late for educators and students to open their eyes to the consequences of teasing, Denessa Smith said.

“You never know — something you say might be the one thing that pushes them over the edge,” Smith said

Tempest would’ve been surprised at how many of her classmates cared about her, said seventh-grader Shirley Kovacs.

“I was sad when she died,” Kovacs said. “The whole school was sad.”

You can find out more here about Tempest's foundation which mainly seems to be based around religious tolerance for pagans here:

The Tempest Smith Foundation

Leanis also mentioned the Nicola Raphael suicide which I thought I had blogged about before when I noted it when I was dealing with Glasgow but for some reason the post got trapped in draft. I have now put it up here. The similarities between these cases are interesting. The question is how many other alternative people self-harm or consider suicide because of bullying? I fear it may be many. Look at this recent plea for help:

Attack on 14 year old left her feeling suicidal

Kent Police failed goth who was attacked in 2005

Thanks to Leanisb for providing some good links. We missed this interesting story in Kent where she talked about how the police failed to support her after an attack in 2005:


17 April 2008
Reading recent articles about Sophie Lancaster, kicked to death for her style of dress, was disturbing for everyone but for one Hythe resident it brought back painful memories.In a less severe incident Leanis Bathory was attacked in Hythe in 2005, also because she is a goth. The 24-year-old now wants to raise awareness of the extent of the problem.

Miss Bathory was set upon in the High Street by a group of youths who later boasted about the attack. She said: "They asked me for money and I refused so they started shouting abuse. They ran off but one girl came back and hit me in the face."

The former art student was found by women who called the police but she did not find officers helpful. She said: "They told me they'd try to catch them but they weren't sympathetic and I never heard anything back.

"I found out the girl's name when she bragged about it and told the police but nothing happened so I gave up."

The Stade Street resident said that this incident was not the only one her and her friends suffered. She said: "We've had a huge experience of violence like this. People think it's all right because we're different.

"I want to raise awareness of the problems faced by subcultures. A petition has gone to Parliament about extending the hate crime laws and there's a memorial fund called Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere (Sophie) to tell people about the problem."

Chief inspector Luke Dodson said the incident had been treated seriously and that everything that could have been done had been.

He added: "I'm sorry the victim is unhappy with the way it was dealt with. I would like to reassure people that we take all reports of crime seriously and we invest resources into training to raise awareness of diversity issues."
We hope they did better in March 2008 when a similar incident happened the news reports indicated they were at least taking it seiously this time:

Kent - Teenage goth attacked