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Suicide of Nicola Raphael

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A case which attracted a lot of media attention from 2001 onwards was the suicide of Nicola Raphael a 15 year old who allegedly endured bullying because she dressed in a Goth style. Her suicide and allegations of bullying at her school Lenzie Academy led to wide coverage in the local and national press. Later commntary has said that"in many ways the suicide could be read as a grim warning of the strength of hatred that was to lead to Sophie Lancaster’s death".[1]

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The case is also notable in that was featured some early coverage in the media of the issue of bullying by text message/mobile phones.[2]

The case was also one of those cited by the daily record in the setting up of their "Save our Kids Campaign" as seen here[3][4][5]

The Issue was also raised in the Scottish Parliament by Lyndsay McIntosh MSP : "The minister mentioned children in his opening remarks, so I will channel his thoughts towards youngsters' being bullied. We should think about 16-year-old Nicola Raphael or 12-year-old Emma, who attended Broughton High School, both of whom committed suicide as a result of being bullied at school. I can think of nothing more crucial to the quality of life of our youngsters than that."[6]

Contents

[edit] Bullying incidents and suicide

Information requested for later legal action found that the bullying allegations went back over several years: "Internal papers just released reveal that 15-year-old Nicola Raphael, who took an overdose in 2001 after being tormented over her gothic appearance, had complained to teachers about bullying long before she died ... the document shows staff clearly knew the youngster, whose suicide shocked the nation, had felt under threat of physical attack but did not inform her parents."[7]

[edit] Reaction

Shortly after her death at a concert Nicola was due to have attended Marilyn Manson was seen comforting Nicola's mother:[8] "Performing in Glasgow last weekend, Manson dedicated the song Fight On to Nicola Raphael, 15, who overdosed on painkillers two months ago and was buried along with her ticket to the Manson show. After the concert, Manson met with the girl's mother. He was very caring and considerate, Rona Raphael told Scotland's Daily Record newspaper. I was so touched that this megastar took time out to meet me. Despite all the controversy about him and his shows, he just seemed like a normal man to me...."

In 2003 the story was also featured on Tonight with Trevor McDonald: GIRLS AFRAID "A report on the dramatic increase in bullying by girls. "

The case was also cited as the reason for a Scotland wide spate of legal actions against education authorities due to bullying. [9] "Mr Fyfe believes the recent spate of law suits may have been triggered by the highly publicised suicide of Lenzie Academy pupil Nicola Raphael, who killed herself after being victimised by fellow pupils for her taste in "Goth" music and clothes. Her mother, Rona, is suing East Dunbartonshire Council, claiming that school staff failed to protect her daughter from bullies despite repeated complaints."

[edit] Bullying Review

The Scottish parliament and in particular Brian Fitzpatrick took an interest in the case and joined in the calls for reviews of anti bullying policies at the school ...

"MSP BRIAN Fitzpatrick has welcomed the decision to review the anti-bullying policy at Lenzie Academy, after the tragic death of teenager Nicola Raphael in June." "Following a meeting with Lenzie Academy rector Roddy McLelland, Mr Fitzpatrick also welcomed the plans to improve the existing mentoring arrangements. "

... and in east dunbartonshire as a whole...

"He said: It is vital that a consistency of approach should be adopted. I will be pressing East Dunbartonshire Council to ensure that there are clearly delineated responsibilities across the authority for co-ordinating anti-bullying policy.

John Simmons, head of education at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: The council made a commitment last month to conduct an authority-wide review of the systems in place in all schools to deal with allegations of bullying. "

[10]

[edit] Organ Donation

There is bright spot in the tragedy of Nicola’s death in that her organs later helped save lives! Her family also were involved in NHS organ donation campaigns[11] and were later featured in a 2005 BBC TV documentary on organ donation entitled "Life on the List" where they met a young boy named Jack who was one of the recipients.[12] The Life on the list doumentary was broadcast widely and won a peabody award that year(2005) [13]

Despite Nicola having carried a donor card for several years hospital staff did not ask the family about donation. Instead Nicola's mother had to approach staff herself to make sure her daughters wishes were carried out.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. Alterophobia: The Tragic Suicide of Nicola Raphael — bullied to death for being a goth. Alterophobia.blogspot.com. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.
  2. Mallon, Margaret She came in one night and you would never know anything was wrong. Then she took an overdose. Living.scotsman.com. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.
  3. SAVE OUR KIDS: Kids will not be allowed to suffer. Thefreelibrary.com. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.
  4. I'D WALK OVER RED HOT COAL FOR KIDS; Mum ready to defy pain and fear to raise funds.. Thefreelibrary.com. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.
  5. Scots show Solidarity in fight to beat suicides. Thefreelibrary.com. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.
  6. Scottish Parliament — Official Report. Scottish.parliament.uk. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.
  7. Suicide pupil was bullied at school for THREE years; Teacher's damning note may hold the key as heartbroken family fight for justice | Mail on Sunday (London, England), The Newspaper | Find Articles at BNET. Webcache.googleusercontent.com. URL accessed on 2011-01-24.
  8. Susman, Gary Manson Family Values. EW.com. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.
  9. Published on Thu Oct 25 01:00:00 BST 2001. Bullying court claims soar. Kirkintilloch Herald. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.
  10. Published on Mon Aug 27 13:58:41 BST 2001. Fitzpatrick Welcomes Anti-Bullying Review. Kirkintilloch Herald. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.
  11. http://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/newsroom/bulletin/archive_bulletins/bulletin48_autumn2003/bulletin48.pdf
  12. Jack’s set fair for games trip. Swindonadvertiser.co.uk. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.
  13. List of Peabody Award winners. Wikipedia. URL accessed on 2011-01-23.

[edit] Links

| NAME = | ALTERNATIVE NAMES = | SHORT DESCRIPTION = | DATE OF BIRTH = 1985-09-10 | PLACE OF BIRTH = Glasgow, Scotland, U.K. | DATE OF DEATH = 2001-06-24 | PLACE OF DEATH = Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, Scotland, U.K. }}-->

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