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Ohio gay teen in coma following suicide attempt due to bullying

Friday, March 23, 2012

WELLSVILLE, Ohio — An Ohio teenager was in a coma Friday in the intensive care unit at Akron Children’s Hospital, a week after he tried to end his own life.

Austin Rodriguez, 15, a student at Wellsville High School, told his parents last Thursday that they “didn’t know what was going on his personal life.” The next evening, according to his mother Bonnie Rodriguez, Austin told her he had taken more than 120 pills of his own medication and then collapsed on the kitchen floor.

Austin Rodriguez

Bonnie Rodriguez told local reporters that her son attempted suicide was because he was bullied, both online via Facebook, through texts, as well as physically bulled.

“They were hiding his gym clothes because they didn’t want him changing in the locker room with them,” she said. “They didn’t want him to eat by them, or in the school lunchroom. The night before this happened he said that we didn’t know what was going on in his personal life, and we let him know that we were more than willing to listen to anything that he had to say,” Bonnie Rodriguez said.

“Absolutely nothing was going through my head, and everything at the same time,” she said.

Rodriguez said Austin is openly gay, a loving son and good person, and with whom she has an honest relationship. But his mother admitted that she didn’t know how badly kids were bullying him.

“Until friends came out of the woodwork saying ‘we knew Austin was going through this, we thought he was handling it a lot better, we didn’t know what to do’,” she said.

Wellsville Schools Superintendent Richard Bereschik said the case involving Austin Rodriguez is currently undergoing an administrative review, and declined to discuss details. He said once the review is complete, school officials will follow the bullying policy in place.

Bonnie Rodriguez said she wants to work with the administration and get her message out to all school districts in the area.

“If I would have known anything, then I would have done something,” she said. “Parents, talk to your kids. Teachers, talk to your kids. You know, we’re the adults, we need to teach them.”

WKBN-TV reports that Wellsville High School held a student assembly in response to the news of the suicide attempt.

The school does not have a gay-straight alliance, but principal Linda Rolley said adding one might be considered among changes she’ll make in response to the administrative review of what contributed to the suicide attempt.

It’s too soon to tell if Austin will completely recover, he remains in critical condition at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Doctors said they’re keeping him heavily sedated because of damage to his lungs, but his mother said she plans to fight for him no matter what.

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60 more reader comments:

  1. this has to stop smh

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:51pm
  2. jesus fucking christ i hate this

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:52pm
  3. any young people will we lose before something is done?

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:53pm
  4. u to suzanne

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:53pm
  5. As awful as this is, at least this one is alive. Something has to be done.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:53pm
  6. :(

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:54pm
  7. This is heart-breaking! Thank the Good Lord they are still here. There needs to be stricter laws and consequences for bullies No one needs to feel the need to take their own life because, everyone’s life with worth it. Bullies need to be taken down!!!

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:55pm
  8. hope he will one day know that people do love him just the way he is! ♥

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:56pm
  9. =[ sad, bullying is out of control and just unacceptable!

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:56pm
  10. those bullys gotta STOP !! :(

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:57pm
  11. I agree with everyone

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:57pm
  12. I agree with the thank ged hes still alive I hope he cpomes out of it!

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:59pm
  13. This is really heartbreaking and this has to stop I swear

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:05pm
  14. Wow I was bullied a lot for being gay, but I’ve never even thought to kill myself because of it. Be strong young gays, it gets better when you’re older.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:06pm
  15. If you can make it through highschool then you can make it the rest of your life.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:09pm
  16. This has got to stop!!! I am a momma, and all I care about is my sons’ happiness. Gay, straight….Whatever. What gives people the rightr to judge and/or bully?? Just makes me sick, all of the ugliness in the world.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:11pm
  17. stop already with the bullying people !!!

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:15pm
  18. Very sad !!!

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:24pm
  19. I am saddened by this.It disgusts me to think that people can be so heartless by bullying kids not caring or even thinking what it can ultimately lead to.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:26pm
  20. Thats awful that someone could be bullied to the point of taking thier own lives :(

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:34pm
  21. *trying

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:34pm
  22. thats rlly sad

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:40pm
  23. I was bullied so bad between 6-9th grades that to this day, over 40 years later, my mother still doesn’t believe all of it. If you’re the target in a small town, you are ALONE! They come at you anytime, 7 days a week, with anything. My crime was being new and from the city. Then, as my self-esteem fell, my weight rose and gave them more ammunition. I thought about suicide and mass-murder all the time and even wrote a suicide note once. The experience scarred me emotionally for life but I DID WIN because I am alive! These suicides are hurting my heart so much.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:41pm
  24. Eff! Why cant we learn to support one another, not tear each other down?? He looks adorable. Sending positive thoughts. :_(

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 4:52pm
  25. I hope he wakes from his coma in better days and soon, too.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:09pm
  26. Sending lots of love his way!

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:13pm
  27. this poor guy, my wishes are with him. He’ll wake up and find some better days ahead of him.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:29pm
  28. May God be with him and his family.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 5:58pm
  29. wtf arent these kids listening, there is a huge influx of social awarness growing for them, and their situations, its starting to get annoying now…

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 6:06pm
  30. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family… <3

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 6:58pm
  31. :(

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:23pm
  32. so sad my prayers goes to him & family..

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:23pm
  33. :’( I wonder if he know the program It Gets Better Project ? :’( Poor soul

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:23pm
  34. this is sickening! when will it end!!! so sad :(

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:25pm
  35. Makes me wanna cry. Hope is is ok.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:26pm
  36. Surrounding him and his family and those that love him in prayer

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:29pm
  37. SAD

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:30pm
  38. what a shame

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:31pm
  39. It’s sad how LGBTs are killing themselves and the media isn’t doing enough to expose the haters that caused these tragedies.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:31pm
  40. We have to stand up against bullying in every way we can. These kids live in hell every day and we have to protect them.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:32pm
  41. Unconscionable!! When will people stop hating, it is just making the world miserable for everyone, nobody wins, when hates consumes one half of the population and death and destruction claims the other half. If he doesn’t make it, who knows what the world will miss out on that he might have done. Cure cancer, write a wonderful book, paint an awe-inspiring masterpiece, write a beautiful song. It might all be lost because someone couldn’t stop hating to see a beautiful young man!!

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:32pm
  42. What should be done to those involved with bullying this poor young man is exactly what was just done to another anti gay bully, Dharum Davi. Prosecution with jail time is the only way to make these bastards think twice before they destroy others lives with no fear of punishment.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:36pm
  43. I really think what we can do right now is to start paying attention to our children. Really, if parents really spend times to teach their children small little things (how to be polite, respect and listen), I am very sure our society will be in better shape. STAND UP PARENTS! DO YOUR JOB! <3

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:36pm
  44. Who gave the right to anyone to judge anyone else!!!!! God must be ashamed of his this creation am sure called humans!! Suffering from disorders or self created misnomers that they can judge or pass verdicts!!! Be proud of who you are and don’t judge others don’t push them to limits!! Next cud be you for some or the other reason!!

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:38pm
  45. And CRACK DOWN on bullying in school. Teachers, principals, administrators, do NOT let this stuff slide. Its not funny, its not “kids being kids”, its not normal, and its not okay. Ask anyone in this country and probably more than half of them will tell u they still break down if they think of the pain they went through during junior high. Even those of us who survive have life-long PTSD. Its like war. And the effects stay with u for life if they don’t take ur life right there. FIGHT it. Don’t say “quiet down kids” and just leave it unaddressed. And its true parents need to do better. Your kids get hateful ideas from YOU and torture other kids with it. Is that who u wna raise?

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:44pm
  46. I should b clear though, generally good people can be raising generally good kids inadvertently passing on a message that bullying is okay and those generally good kids can b torturing other kids EVEN if they’re being tortured themselves. That’s y this issue is so difficult. The victims and the perpetrators are often the same people.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:49pm
  47. Thats so sad!

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:54pm
  48. To the religious leaders of the world.
    It will only stop,
    When you open your
    Hearts.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 8:06pm
  49. Oh but most of them won´t ever,specially muslim fundies !!!

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 8:12pm
  50. And adamant, homofobic christian fundies either.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 8:12pm
  51. Hope he makes it….if only kids could get past the rough stage to understand the world is a f’ing mess….especially the middle of America.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 8:57pm
  52. The poor boy. His poor parents. Please help them through this time of stress and worry.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 8:58pm
  53. This is seriously 20 minutes from where I live. Completely breaks my heart.

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 9:05pm
  54. Will this ever end?

    Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 10:25pm
  55. Instead of loving each other as humans, they drive people to suicide and self loathing.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 3:19am
  56. Won’t you finally end that shameful It Will Get Better campaign in exchange for a Bullies Are Criminals campaign?

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 3:26am
  57. My heart goes out to him and his family. When will it end?

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 4:38am
  58. Jochen, YES Bullies ARE Criminals, but IT GETS BETTER Does help SO many kids. I KNOW it seems Glass half full/Half empty right now, but once we get THE OTHER SIDE – REAL Law and REAL Enforcement against the bullies – THEN the glass will be FULL! Full of Love and Joy and Safety for ALL out children.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 6:47am
  59. No comment…..

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 6:59am
  60. This is SOOOO wrong and so sad!

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 7:31am