Truro mom spreads message about pain caused by bullying

Jennifer Vardy Little
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Pam Murchison of Truro, left, talks to North Nova Education Centre students Keir Feehan and Jill Doucette as part of Anti-Bullying Day held at the school recently. Murchison’s daughter, Jenna, committed suicide as a result of depression and being bullied. TRANSCONTINENTAL MEDIA

NEW GLASGOW – Pam Murchison doesn’t want other teens to end up the way her daughter did.

The Truro woman lost her daughter, Jenna, in January after the 15-year-old committed suicide. Jenna was a Grade 10 student at Cobequid Education Centre, had been battling depression and, since she started high school in September, had been the victim of increasing bullying.

“I believe, along with Jenna’s illness, that bullying pushed her over the edge,” said Murchison, wearing a pink T-shirt with her daughter’s smiling face on it. “She didn’t want to face anyone. I didn’t know how bad it was until she was gone.”

Why her daughter was bullied is a question Murchison can’t answer.

“Who knows? Why do they do it to anyone? She liked to sing, she was a beautiful singer and had a heart of gold. She’d do anything for anyone.”

Her daughter changed, she said, once she started attending high school.

“It started the first two weeks,” said Murchison, who is originally from Little Dyke. “For those weeks she went to school every day. Then she started to skip classes.”

It soon got to the point that the school told Murchison to keep her daughter at home because she was missing too many classes.

Jenna accessed the Kids Help Phone a few times, Murchison said, which is a great resource for kids in this situation. But what really needs to happen is to have students realize just how much pain bullying can cause.

“I want them to know that their words hurt,” Murchison said. “If they say it face to face, that’s one thing, but online, they don’t know the damage that they can do.”

Students want to see bullying stopped as well. Jill Doucette, a Grade 11 student at North Nova Education Centre, was a close friend of Jenna’s and called her a cousin.

“We hung out all the time when I went to Truro – she was like my best friend,” said Doucette, who helped to organize the Anti-Bullying Day activities at NNEC this week and arranged for Murchison to come in to talk to students.

“I want to help Pam get the message out – bullying is out there, it does hurt and we want it to stop.”

Organizations: Grade 10, Cobequid Education Centre, North Nova Education Centre

Geographic location: NEW GLASGOW

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Recent comments

  • Erika
    October 26, 2011 - 12:57

    I support Pam so much and it made me cry to read this story. I was terribly bullied in school and no one did anything. I was teased from the time I got on the school bus, all through classes and on the way home. They would steal my things, stick gum in my hair, shove me, trip me, make fun of me for everything. The teachers, VP and principal all knew and they never did anything. Almost 10 years out of school I still hate being near groups of teens, I'm still trying to build up my self esteem and I struggled with suicidal thoughts all through high school. Someone needs to do something other than just say lets stop bullying. Thank you so much Pam for standing up for this. You have my love and support, and everyone who was ever bullied or is being bullied needs someone like you!

  • Alice
    May 14, 2011 - 07:16

    Online bullying is very different from face to face. Online you are totally anonymous, and can say whatever you want with no one really knowing who you are...which means you can be much, much more cruel. Also, with all of the social networking sites like Facebook and twitter, you can say something about someone, have the whole school know about it in seconds, and give people a forum to discuss it. I was bullied when I was growing up as well, but I think bullying has gone to whole new level since then. At least I could go home and leave it at school.

  • Ryan
    May 12, 2011 - 16:54

    Bullying will never go away, because people will never stop being competitive. It is unfortunately a part of our nature that we cannot remove. Though bullying DOES hurt--it also rewards the bully with desired attention. The online bullying is no different front face-to-face bullying. It is simply a different mode of communication. Since our world today relies on this technology, online bullying is not going away. We continue reading it because of curiousity. We want to know what others say about us. To not care, is to be unsocialable. We need to continue educating ourself--and admit that ANYONE is capable of bullying another. It may be in the form of a joke, or perhaps prolonged taunting (which may last for years). The bully may actually be unaware of the damage being caused to the other person. Children need to be taught WHY people bully and how to COPE if being bullied. Yes, parents need to be alert of their children in this sense....but parents can't be around their child 24/7--nor do all parents give practical advice. I've even seen parents DEFEND their child's bullying of another child. I see that competition and ego aren't just present in mere children. It is often ADULTS that set horrible examples. The SCHOOLS need to step-up here...

  • s
    May 12, 2011 - 16:43

    My heart goes out to Pam, as it was a very devastating thing to go through. No parent should have to bury their child. I was bullied for being "different". First it started because my family didn't have as much money as the other kids did and then in Highschool because I wasn't as thin as other students. It does hurt and if you don't deal with things well to begin with it will follow you through life. I hope people will start to realize that it's not okay and it has to stop. I am just wondering how many more wonderful young people have to die before the message gets through. Keep it up and someone out there will get the message.

  • Concerned
    May 12, 2011 - 12:14

    I have to ask the same question; why do these children keep reading this online bullying ??? I'm an intelligent woman that has chosen to be childless; however, can someone explain why this bullying online is even read a second time?????,.... I was bullied as a child from approx. primary to jr. high & thank GOD, I was able to stand up to my bullies and tell my parents & school what was going on,... even to this day when I see one particular girl that bullied me, well; lets just say, she & I both know I stood up to her,... I'll NEVER forget though how she treated me,..... RIP Jenna,......

  • marilyn
    May 12, 2011 - 06:36

    what i'd like to know is why do they keep reading this stuff on line.they can turn it off.i don't agree with bulling & it should be today have no respect for others and that should start in the homes.parents,what are your kids doing?i would hate to think one of mine was doing or being bullied.