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Victoria student kills self over bullying


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Filed: Other Country: United Kingdom
A TEENAGER took her life because she felt school bullies hounded her to death.

The suicide of Sarah Jean Walker, 17, who killed herself in the family's western suburbs home earlier this month is being investigated by the coroner.

It is believed the Victorian Certificate of Education student , from Melbourne, was involved in a spat with another student about a fortnight before she died on April 7.

Sources said Sarah left notes saying she had been bullied and taunted by schoolmates.

Police are believed to have seized notes and several personal items including her mobile phone.

Described as a happy student and keen hockey player, Sarah left behind her grieving father Doug, mother Evelyn, step-mum Kerrie and her younger sister.

Mr Walker and Kerrie said they did not blame the school or any individual for the tragedy.

But they encouraged youths to consider other people's feelings.

"Be kind to others and be careful what you say to people," Mr Walker said.

The Walkers said it was too early to conclude what had compelled Sarah to take her own life.

The principal of Mount St Joseph's Girls College distanced the school from the bullying claim.

"Our sole priority at this time is with the family," Regina Byrne said.

It is believed Sarah had been attending the school for less than a year.

Altona police confirmed they were preparing a report for the coroner.

"Investigations are ongoing and the death is not being treated as suspicious," a Victoria Police spokesman said.

A series of death notices in Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper reveal the devastating impact of Sarah's death on family and friends.

Sarah's aunt Linda and uncle Jim wrote: "A life lived too short. Cherished memories of a beautiful and special girl."

Family friend Neona Connolly recalled her vibrant personality.

"A shining light with twinkling eyes, a breath of fresh air whose sparkle warmed hearts," she wrote.

"Your special gift will live on in the hearts and minds of all who knew and loved you. You are our 'princess who laughed'."

An under-17 player with the Altona Hockey Club, Sarah was fondly remembered by school friends at her Catholic school, Mount St Joseph's Girls College.

Staff and students expressed their sorrow in a death notice published in the Herald Sun.

"She will be remembered for her smile and warmness of heart. She is already greatly missed but she will never be forgotten," it said.

Her hockey teammate Hannah wrote: "Sarah, I miss our constant talking and bludging at hockey. You will be my hockey buddy for life."

Sarah was buried at the Altona Memorial Park Cemetery on April 16.

The service booklet reveals she had been searching for peace of mind.

In a handwritten note beneath a picture of footprints in the sand, she writes:

"This image reminds me of a time when I was most relaxed,

"I took my shoes off and made footprints in the sand,

"I felt relaxed, like I had no care in the world, like I was free."

The State Coroner's Office confirmed the case was pending.

Suicide accounts for 18per cent of deaths among young Australians aged between 12 and 24.

The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report says it is the second highest cause of death among youths behind traffic accidents, which account for one in three deaths in that age group.


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Filed: Other Country: Canada

I was physically and psychologically abused by my so-called peers from elementary up until the end of high school. I fought back, of course, but when it's a large group against one, it's difficult to succeed. The point being that there needs to be a strong effort to emphasize how much damage bullying and tormenting others can do during this difficult stage of life.

I found being a teenager much more difficult than any other point in my life. I honestly don't know were the idea comes from that says "high school is the best time of your life." Maybe it is for a select few, but for the vast majority of people I've run into, it certainly wasn't at all.

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Filed: Other Country: United Kingdom

Bullying does a lot of damage - well into adult life in some cases.

High School certainly wasn't the best time of my life - that didn't really come about until college / uni. My High School was probably the worst Comprehensive in a not so great town.

Wife didn't enjoy school at all - in fact neither of us really keep in touch with... well.. anyone from that period of our lives.

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