Cyber-bullying reopens wounds at school with four student suicides

Lauren Wilson and Stephen Lunn
The Australian
CHANELLE Rae was beautiful, bubbly and a devoted fan of the Geelong Football Club. And on Friday night she became the fourth student of the same state high school to commit suicide this year, raising serious concerns about cyber-bullying and copycat suicides.

The death of the 14-year-old schoolgirl, who was adored by her parents, brothers and friends, has reopened wounds at the co-educational Western Heights College in Geelong.

In February, 14-year-old Natalie Rowe, who battled with bipolar disorder and briefly attended Western Heights College last year, took her own life.

A month later Zac Harvey, 15, a handsome, sporty teenager who was well-liked at the high school, made the decision to kill himself. Three weeks later, Zac’s devastated girlfriend of 2 1/2 years, Taylor Janssen, 16, joined her boyfriend in death.

Taylor’s mother, Helen Janssen, last night told The Australian that Taylor left her family a note saying she loved them but she couldn’t live without Zac. She killed herself to the music that was played at his funeral.

Since February, Natalie’s older brother, Thomas Rowe, 17, has got very little sleep. He told The Australian that he stayed up most nights, talking on his anti-suicide website, Gravity, to other young people in Geelong and across Australia who are contemplating taking the same, desperate action.

“It is not so much a Western Heights (College) problem, but a community problem,” he said. Full story.


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