August 25, 2003
An overdose of school

This is a fascinating and thoroughly depressing article, about a boy who killed himself because he was so dreadfully unhappy at school.

Sandra Thompson was used to her son's weekend rhythm - the immediate relaxation and laughter of Friday afternoons, the dark mood that descended every Sunday as another week loomed. "With the first mention of school, Thomas must have had the same thoughts - are they going to be at the bus stop, are they going to get me today, do I have enough money on me to cover what they take?

Simply, he should have got out of that place at once, and pursued his very definite interests in living a more adult life, and done it in the adult way to which he was clearly suited.

There were reasons for that singling out, numerous and at the same time insufficient. Thomas was a highly articulate child, well-spoken, and without the usual local slur. He was overweight. He was easier with adults than children, and more confident around girls than lads. He preferred the Human League to Eminem. And because of this he was bullied, relentlessly. And because of that, on the afternoon of July 2, he took an overdose of painkillers and died later that day. He was 11 years old.

It's seldom you come across a story where the contrast between what a child was doing and what that child ought to have been doing is so screamingly obvious.

I would like to think that this article reflects a deeper disenchantment with the whole demented idea of compulsory education itself, among the Guardian-article-writing classes.

Please go and read the whole thing.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:46 PM
Category: Bullying