COMMENTARY | My heart goes out to the family and friends of 13-year-old Rachel Ehmke. She's the girl in a kare11.com report from Mantorville, Minn., who recently committed suicide after months of bullying. Her death shocked the communities of Mantorville and Kasson so much that over 1,500 people attended her funeral Monday. Most of us cannot imagine the grief and pain her parents are feeling. New revelations do not ease the pain and confusion either.
In a news release from the Dodge County Sheriff's Department today, investigators have determined what they believe to be the origin of what proved to be the fatal text message. After numerous warrants to track down the source, officers have determined the message came from the residence of Rachel's father -- and it appears likely she sent it herself. The Sheriff's Department reports Rachel seemed more upset over the investigation into the text message than the message itself.
At first, it was believed the final text message had originated from four students who Rachel had said she was finally getting along with. After her death those students and their parents ended up on the receiving end of bullying and harassment by an outraged community.
This is not to say Rachel never experienced bullying in her school. She went through months of torment at the hands of several of fellow students. But the investigation leads to this last incident being a maneuver Rachel undertook to get into a new school and away from her tormentors. This is sad on so many levels.
The ultimate lesson is bullying must be stopped. It's not just school administrators and teachers who need to take accusations of bullying seriously, but also students need to refrain from taking part, even going so far as to shun those kids who do.
Parents need to teach their children to treat each other as humans and not objects of derision and abuse -- and hopefully by example. Kids are in the learning stage of life in how they treat their fellow students. Most have no idea how to behave except to act out what they learn at home from their own families.