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.”