News that bullying had taken the life of 15-year-old Amanda Todd, a month after the B.C. girl posted a cry for help on YouTube, has Albertans pleading for something good to come from the gut-wrenching tragedy.
— Will.I.Am Native (@laker4life24) October 12, 2012
After years of bullying – both cyber and physical – Todd recounted the entire sad tale that had become her life in the last few years in a black and white video last month.
In the nine-minute video Todd doesn’t make eye contact or even speak to the camera but simply uses cue cards to tell the story of how one small indiscretion years ago grew into cyber bullying, black mail, physical assault, drugs, depression, panic and suicide attempts.
On Wednesday, her latest suicide attempt was successful, spawning cries of grief, anger and compassion from Albertans.
“I feel so bad for Amanda. It's awful she felt she had to take her own life to put an end to the pain she was feeling,” said Sarah Gelinas on the HuffPost Alberta Facebook page.
“ I am in tears for this lovely young person and all who loved her. I know how it feels to be bullied and I'm devastated to read her story,” Sheryl Ratcliff also said on our Facebook page.
Others could only pray for peace.
“RIP beautiful girl! Sorry you couldn't fight anymore. Hope your in a better place!” commented Rhianne Starshine.
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This is the description attached to Todd's video.
“I'm struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I'm not doing this for attention. I'm doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. I did things to myself to make pain go away, because I'd rather hurt myself then someone else. Haters are haters but please don't hate, although im sure I'll get them. I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyones future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through. I'm still here aren't I?”
Many of those sharing their thoughts on the story hope that some good can come from Todd’s suffering and untimely death.
“ I saw this on the news last night. its so sad what she must have gone through. I hope this is a lesson to those who choose to bully others. Words can hurt. Even kill...I hope they make her tormentors accountable...Rest in Peace sweet Amanda. And God Bless her family; may her parents have comfort at this difficult time,” said Lana-Rae Blood.
— KristaMergel (@KristaMergs) October 12, 2012
The Vancouver Sun reports that Todd went to school in Maple Ridge and then Coquitlam.
RCMP in Maple Ridge told CKNW their school liaison officer had previously directed Todd to support services.
Coquitlam RCMP said they were called to a Port Coquitlam home on Wednesday evening for the "sudden death of a teenager." The death is not considered suspicious, said police, adding that the family does not want to speak publicly.
Meanwhile the Alberta government is still sitting on a piece of legislation that can potentially make school children safer from bullying.
"I want to make sure that in the province of Alberta we have a uniform code of conduct clearly spelling out what is and what isn't allowable in schools relative to students' behaviour," said then provincial education minister Thomas Lukaszuk after introducing Bill 2 in the legislature CBC reported back in February.
"That will include verbal abuse, physical abuse, homophobic abuse, cyberspace abuse and the list goes on and on."
The proposed news Alberta Education Act was shelved after discourse among home schooling parents, who were concerned the act would infringe on their rights.