Chanelle Rae’s school in $3m anti cyber-bullying project

Geelong kids and parents will become part of a $3 million federal project targeting cyber bullying. Leaders have confirmed schools from the region will be among 150 public and private schools across the country leading pilot work promoting safe use of communication technology and boosting effectiveness of cyber safety programs in schools.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard and Youth Minister Kate Ellis announced the project yesterday and won quiet endorsement from Geelong mum Karen Rae.
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Computerworld: Teen’s death puts spotlight on cyber bullying

By Kathryn Edwards
The suicide of a 14-year-old girl in southern Victoria last week has pushed the issue of cyber bullying into the spotlight. The child’s mother has blamed the suicide on the Internet. The case, the fourth suicide in six months among students from the same school, has highlighted the severe impact of cyber bullying on young people.

“I laid in bed with her in my bed and we discussed [an unwanted Internet message] for about an hour and she left me fairly happy,” the child’s mother, Karen Rae, told Melbourne radio station 3AW. “I can guarantee you if she didn’t go on the Internet Friday night she’d be alive today.”
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Chanelle Rae schoolmate: I could have met the same fate

By Melissa Jenkins
AS 14-year-old Chanelle Rae is laid to rest in Highton today, another teenager has reflected on the frightening fact she could have met the same fate. Year Nine student Sarah (not her real name) tried to kill herself about one month ago.

Like Chanelle, who took her own life last week, Sarah was the victim of school bullying – in person and on the internet. She attempted suicide following an extended campaign of bullying at the hands of schoolmates and someone who hacked into her Facebook and MSN Messenger accounts and, pretending to be her, posted nasty messages to others.

“I lost so many friends through that,” Sarah told AAP. “Every single day I would go back to school and go through being bullied and having this horrible feeling about every day waking up to go to this horrid place. Full story.

Hundreds of mourners gather for Chanelle Rae funeral

By Patrick Carlyon
GEELONG, Australia — SONGS by Eminem and Michael Jackson played as mourners farewelled teenager Chanelle Rae, who took her own life last week.

Mourners wearing blue and white Geelong scarves attended the Barrabool Hills Community Centre in the Geelong suburb of Highton to pay their respects.

Chanelle, 14, was the fourth student at Western Heights College to commit suicide in only five months this year.

Chaplain Aaron Hille told mourners that no crisis was so bad it could not be talked about.

Chanelle’s best friend, Rachael Scott, told the congregation how they had met as little girls, how Chanelle was always on the phone and was always fun.

“Most of all I remember how she made me laugh,” Rachael said.

Mourners watched a series of photos of Chanelle through her life, with her generous smile evident in each one. Songs played during the service included When I’m Gone by Eminem, Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Stride by Unique II, You Are Not Alone by Michael Jackson and It’s Not Easy Being Me by David Gray. Full story.

Related coverage:

Chanelle Rae: Mum recalls bubbly daughter

Cyber-bullying reopens wounds at school with four student suicides.

Geelong Cats offer support to family of cyber-bullying suicide victim Chanelle Rae

Grieving mother warns parents about Internet

NineMSN: Girl’s death linked to cyber-bullying

Landmark case: U.K. boy convicted of racial bullying of suicidal school girl

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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.

Bullies now have a cyber gateway to practice evil

By Tracey Spicer
The Daily Telegraph
COULD there be anything worse than losing a beloved young child to suicide? Putting my daughter to bed last night, I couldn’t stop thinking about Victorian mum Karen Rae, whose 14-year-old daughter killed herself after being bullied on the internet.

She will never see Chanelle go to her high school formal. Start her first job. Get married. Have children.

Consumed with grief, Karen is blaming the messenger. “I want to tell people to keep their kids off the rotten internet, it’s a horrible place,” she said. “I guarantee you that if she didn’t go on the internet on Friday night she’d be alive today.”

It’s human nature to find a target for the overwhelming anger that accompanies the grieving process.

But blaming the internet for bullying is like blaming guns for murder.

Facebook, MSN Messenger, MySpace, Twitter, email and SMS are merely conduits for the bullying that is happening everywhere: the schoolyard, the workplace and on the street. Full story.

Chanelle Rae: Coroner probes cyber attacks after teens take own lives

Anthony Dowsley and Megan McNaught
The Herald-Sun
THE coroner is investigating whether cyber bullying contributed to the deaths of four teenagers from one school. The heartbreaking deaths have shocked Victorians and police have not ruled out laying charges.

Three of the teens were enrolled at Geelong’s Western Heights College when they took their own lives and the fourth had recently left.

In the most recent case, Chanelle Rae, 14, committed suicide last Friday just hours after being bullied online.

Insp Phil Swindells said last night the four deaths were being investigated by the coroner. He said he would not speculate whether an offence took place, but a crime had potentially been committed.

“There is potential that charges could arise,” he said. Full story.

Related coverage:
Geelong Cats offer support to family of cyber-bullying suicide victim Chanelle Rae

Grieving mother warns parents about Internet

NineMSN: Girl’s death linked to cyber-bullying

Grieving mother warns parents about Internet

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