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Minnesota Teen Commits Suicide after being Bullied for Months
A seventh grade student from Mantorville, Minnesota died on April 29 after she hung herself at home. The girl, Rachel Ehmke, was bullied for months leading up to her death, according to her parents. Ehmke was bullied at Kasson/Mantorville Middle School and on the internet. The bullying began in the fall when Rachel’s chewing gum got stuck to her textbooks and ‘slut’ was engraved on her gym locker. Rachel was described as athletic, outgoing and friendly but was still bullied by the same group of girls. Those girls threatened Rachel and called her a ‘prostitute’ despite the fact that she never kissed a boy.
Only two days prior to Rachel’s death, a text message was anonymously sent to students at the school.
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“It was pretty explicit. Something to the effect of that Rachel was a slut and to get her to leave the Kasson-Mantorville School, forward this to everyone you know,” said parent Chris Flannery.
Police traced the text and found that it was sent by someone who was not a student at the school. The bullying policy at the school prohibits threats online and in person and will launch an investigation within 24 hours of bullying being reported. Rachel asked her father not to report the incidents to the school because she feared that the incidents would get worse. A note was found by her parents following her death that read:
“I’m fine = I wish I could tell you how I really feel.” The note was left next to a picture of a broken heart. Rick Ehmke, Rachel’s father, said the family will not press charges against the students involved.
“They’re kids. They made some horrible decisions. If these kids would’ve known this would happen I’m pretty sure they never, ever would have done what they did,” Rick Ehmke said. “Sadly enough, even those kids that know who they are will carry this bag their whole life. That’s a sad thing too, it really is.”
“Words hurt. Words can kill,” mother Mary Ehmke said.
A prayer vigil and a walk have been scheduled for May 19 at Mill Pond in Austin, Minnesota for Rachel. The walk organizers are hoping to raise support for the family and awareness for teen bullying and suicide. The United States Department of Education identified 16 components in bullying legislation. These include but are not limited to a statement of scope, reporting guidelines, process of district review and listing of enumerated groups. The state of Minnesota ranks last in the country with state bullying laws as it covers just two of the 16 components defined by the Department of Education.
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