Reactions to high schooler’s suicide serve as important lesson to students

Eva Spitzen

Amanda Todd, a fifteen-year-old who committed suicide on Oct. 10, admittedly did not lead the most orthodox of lives. Bullied for sending pornographic photos of herself to a random stranger on the Internet in the seventh grade and later for taking part in sexual activity with a classmate that was in a relationship, she suffered from severe anxiety and turned to drugs and alcohol as means of coping with emotional distress. Her recent suicide attracted an immense amount of media attention — her memorial page received more than 900,000 likes on Facebook and her Youtube video received more than 1,600,000 views.

Amanda Todd tells her story in a Youtube video days before committing suicide. People across the country continue to send highly disrespectful messages even after Todd’s suicide. Screenshot by Eva Spitzen.

Unfortunately, not all of this media response has been positive. Viewers of social media, including students at MVHS, have liked photos and left comments on social media sites saying Todd’s suicide does not deserve such a massive amount of attention. Some say other people that have committed suicide due to bullying deserve more attention because they were innocent victims, and some even go as far as to say that Todd brought the bullying upon herself and therefore is completely to blame. Myriad ‘internet ‘memes’ have also been created, ranging from disrespectful to downright insolent.

Despite the circumstances of Amanda Todd’s life, every suicide by bullying deserves the utmost respect and attention and should be looked at as a lesson about the pitfalls of our generation. The continuing hateful messages being sent even after Todd’s death reveal that much our generation fails to realize the true implications of its actions.

Much of the discussion currently being held about Todd’s death revolves around forming an evaluation of her character, and this is where a large amount of the continued bullying is coming from. However, forming a conclusion on her decisions and life choices is both extremely subjective and also irrelevant, considering the circumstances of her death. The only fact that can be conclusively stated is that Todd was a victim of extreme bullying, both physically and emotionally.

Regardless of how Todd chose to lead her life, those that continue to disseminate hateful and disrespectful comments even after her suicide only continue the vicious cycle of bullying. The very reason Todd chose to take her own life was a long string of harsh words and extreme disrespect, and no matter what her life choices were, her suicide should be evidence that this kind of inhumane behavior must be put to an end, especially after the fact.

Todd was not given the opportunity to learn from her mistakes, and instead felt that taking her own life was the only option to escape the intense scorn of her peers. On the other hand, our generation still has a chance. We should take Todd’s suicide as a lesson to be learned, and realize: bullying has to stop.