Sad Details About The Suicide Of 11-Year-Old Brain Cancer Survivor Bethany Thompson

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Who Is Bethany Thompson? Details Girl Cancer Survivor Killed Herself After Bullying

An 11-year-old cancer survivor took her own life after being bullied for years and her parents filed a lawsuit against her school district claiming the bullying was ignored.

Bethany Thompson survived brain cancer as a toddler but surgery to remove a tumor damaged the nerves in her face, giving her what her parents lovingly called a "crooked smile." She was bullied for it relentlessly over the years. 

Bethany's parents filed a lawsuit against Triad Local School District and some of its employees in hopes of changing how the district addresses and responds to bullying, harassment, assault, battery, and discrimination, ABC6 reports. They “want people to know that this is a very serious issue. It has real-world effects, and it costs young people their lives.”

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According to the lawsuit, Bethany was subjected to 'severe and pervasive verbal and physical harassment' as a result of her appearance. The middle schooler endured being hit, name-calling, and was shoved in the hallways, classrooms, and at recess, it states. On Oct. 19, 2016, Bethany told a friend she was "done with the bullies" and was going to end her life later that day.

“She told her she loved her and that she was her best friend forever, but that she was going to kill herself when she got home,” Bethany’s mother, Wendy Feucht, 34, told The Columbus Dispatch at the time.

About a month prior to Bethany's death, Duane Caudill, the school's principal named in the lawsuit, was alerted of the bullying by the father of one of Bethany's friends but failed to contact her mother, despite saying he would do so. Caudill said he was "monitoring the situation," the lawsuit says.

“Bethany’s friend’s father did the right thing," said attorney Natasha Wells-Niklas. "He called the school. He told them about the ongoing bullying and the suicide threats. No one listened to him." 

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In response to the suit, the district said child suicide is a complicated issue and is often caused by more than one pressure felt by the child.

"Recognizing and addressing any child's pressures is a task for all persons involved in a child's life," the district said in a statement. "Our staff members certainly take this task to heart. 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.”

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The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and although nothing can replace their daughter, Bethany's parents hope he death brings about a positive change regarding bullying at school.

Wells-Niklas said her law firm works hard to make something good come out of a horrible situation.

“We try to help families accomplish something good out of something very, very bad that has happened to them," she said. "In this case, Bethany’s parents have lost their daughter, but they hope that through this tragedy they can at least bring about change that will prevent this from happening to another child.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Sarah Gangraw writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.