Another Teen Suicide Due To Bullying: Walks In Front Of Tractor-Trailor


Brandon Bitner

According To

Brandon Bitner was a straight-A student with a core group of friends.
A passionate violinist who brought down the house at his middle-school talent show, his audacity led him to don the black-clothing and eyeliner look of an “emo kid,” one who readily shows his emotions, in his rural Snyder County high school.
But for the better part of three years, Brandon struggled with the fact that school, which allowed him to find friends and an outlet for his creativity and intellect, was also his greatest torment.
It was a torment, the 14-year-old freshman at Midd-West High School wrote in his suicide note, that he felt powerless to prevent. Rather than endure another four years of being called “faggot” and “sissy,” on Friday he stepped in front of a tractor-trailer rig on Routes 11/15 in Perry County.
As Brandon’s family, including his cousin Katie Goodling, cope with their devastating loss, they are reaching out in hope no other child decides death is preferable to life.
“People have to know — and I’ve been getting his story out on Twitter, Facebook so people can read it — that this can happen to anyone, even people you don’t suspect,” Goodling said.
Brandon’s death is the latest in a spate of youth suicides in the midstate, including a 13-year-old Cumberland County girl who died recently in Dauphin County.
Wesley Knapp, superintendent of the Midd-West School District, said he received no reports of Brandon’s bullying at the high school aside from a humiliating incident in the high school cafeteria days before Bitner’s death.
He was still trying to figure out what happened when Bitner took his life, he said.
Instead, the district lowered flags to half-staff in his memory and is planning a memorial.
“I’ve been questioning myself,” Knapp said. “We can’t be too conscientious. If we see a kid who seems to be hurting, we need to single them out [for help]. The fact they don’t report it doesn’t let us off the hook. We need to reach out to kids. We’re going to try and do a better job.”

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