Bullies drove Alex to suicide
IN mid-July 2008 schoolboy Alex Wildman was beaten up twice and one of his attackers wrote online: “I'm only gonna keep bashing him till he learns.”
By the end of that month, the 14-year-old had taken his own life.
Alex was no stranger to bullying, having endured physical attacks and threats at Ingleburn High School in Sydney throughout 2007, before moving to live with his mother near Lismore for a “fresh start”.
An inquest into his death heard bullying started again at Kadina High School, including several physical assaults as well as taunts and threats posted by students on the social networking site MySpace.
Handing down his findings on Thursday, Deputy State Coroner Malcolm MacPherson said he could not pinpoint any single factor that led to his suicide, but that bullying had contributed.
“Whilst I have no doubt it played a significant role in his decision to take his own life ... there were other factors at play,” Mr MacPherson told Glebe Coroner's Court.
In April 2008, Alex became the subject of a series of taunts posted on students' MySpace pages and was pinned up against a wall in June.
The online attacks appeared to escalate and he was beaten up at the local shops on July 18.
The Coroner criticised the Department of Education's 400 pages of policy documents – including its anti-bullying policies – as bewildering and “information overload” when what was needed were “clear guidelines”.