“Bullied to death” – Press release for immediate distribution, 18 March 2013

The news that 14-year old Ayden Olson took his own life as a result of bullying has greatly saddened us. This is a most tragic case, involving unspeakable pain, and the terrible waste of a young, talented and irreplaceable young life. We would like to offer our heartfelt sympathies to Ayden's family at this very sad time. The connection between bullying and child suicide is undeniably clear, and there is an urgent need to undertake more research into this link.

No young person should get to the point where they see suicide as their only option. Kidscape offers successful anti-bullying strategies and programmes, which will be effective if they are implemented consistently and wholeheartedly by whole school communities. The success of our ZAP assertiveness training sessions, which have been delivered to thousands of children and families over the past 10 years, shows that with support and a tool box of skills targets of bullying can be given practical ways to deal with bullying situations.

Bullying is totally unacceptable and all schools and LEAs should make the tackling of destructive behaviour their top priority. It is imperative that schools have an effective recording system to monitor ongoing bullying incidents, that policies are reviewed and evaluated regularly, and that clear sanctions are in place to ensure that bullies are held responsible for their actions.

The tragic loss of Ayden shows us once again that bullying costs lives.

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