A gay teenager in La Grande, Oregon died after a suicide attempt that took place in the schoolyard of an elementary school. Fifteen-year-old Jadin Bell hung himself on Saturday, Jan. 19, but according to Portland’s KATU, he was taken off life support on Tuesday. Family and friends said the boy was the target of vicious bullying, both at school and online.
“He was different, and they tend to pick on the different ones,” said family friend Bud Hill, who considered Bell to be like a nephew. “If someone was down and out he would walk into a room and say a couple quick words and everybody would just forget about their problems and smile. He just had a gift.”
Bell had begged his parents to allow him to be home schooled and when that failed, he appealed to school administrators for help. Authorities were investigating the matter when he hung himself from the jungle gym on the playground at La Garde’s Central Elementary School.
A passerby found the teenager and quickly cut him down, but by then it was too late. Doctors at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland said there was little brain activity, that the flow of blood to Bell’s brain had been disrupted for too long.
More than 200 well-wishers and friends held a vigil on Friday to pay tribute to Bell. The gathering was organized by students and only ended when attendees were told they had to leave because the building was closing.
Bell was active on the school’s cheerleading squad and and friends remembered his unique kindness and sensitivity toward others. La Grande High School junior Frankie Benitez echoed the sentiments of many at the vigil when he said, “Jadin is one of the best people I have ever met. He makes everyone around him feel good all the time.”
Bell’s mother, Lola Lathrop, sent a message to would-be bullies in an interview with the La Grande Observer, “The next time you are thinking of being unkind to someone, think to yourself, if that person was a member of your family, would you want them treated like that? Don’t treat them like that.”
Watch video about this story, embedded via KATU, below: