ACT NOW! Please donate to anti-bullying fund set up by Phan family in memory of 14yo bullying victim David Phan

David Phan, 14, committed suicide earlier last month after being repeatedly bullied by his schoolmates.

(Hat-tip to Angry Asian Man)

Earlier last month, David Phan, a student at Bennion Jr. High in Taylorsville, Utah, died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. After being sent home after a trip the principal’s office, Phan reportedly returned to school with a gun that his family kept in a safe. He committed suicide in front a group of horrified students and parents. Students later said that Phan had been repeatedly bullied by several of his schoolmates, although school officials claim Phan never reported the harrassment.

Phan is the latest in a long line of students who have died far too young and at their own hands due, at least in part, to a failure of our culture to deal with schoolyard bullying. This country is long overdue for a real, and not merely reactive, conversation about how to address bullies in our schools, and how to build resources that will help support the victims of bullying.

David Phan’s family is seeking to help build those resources. In David’s memory, the Phan family has established a public memorial fund and are urging the public to donate to the account; all proceeds will go to building anti-bullying educational resources. Here’s the statement the Phan family has released:

As a family, we had hoped for a private opportunity to mourn the passing of our darling sweet David. Unfortunately, in this time of unrelenting grief, we are forced to confront conflicting descriptions of what led to David’s tragic passing.

David was an adored son, beloved by his close-knit parents, older brother, and large extended family. David’s home life was full of support and unconditional love. His parents are devastated to have lost their young son, who rarely left their side. Many of his peers and members of the community have confirmed that David was an amazing student and extraordinary friend.

David was an outstanding son, but he shielded his parents from the horror and negative experiences he was facing at Bennion Jr. High. The last few days have been an absolute living nightmare to learn that he was bullied in school where he was supposed to be in a safe learning environment. It is time for us to turn the hate David endured by bullies into a learning experience that will strengthen a divided community. Let us not deny the numerous accounts that David was a victim of serious bullying at school. Allow his family and friends the ability to heal by us all taking accountability and moving towards conversations and practices that will enable us to prevent other children from enduring this unbearable pain.

We would like to meet with school administrators this week to address issues we have with conflicting statements released by the school and district. . We don’t wish to relive this tragedy, but we deserve honest answers so we can move forward to create effective solutions. We demand to see that an effective anti-discrimination safe zone training be required for administration, faculty and staff who will then be able to pass down and model this crucial knowledge to students and the entire community. We don’t want David’s life to be tarnished as a bullied kid who was pushed to the limit. David exuded love when his bullies showed nothing but ignorance and fear. He was raised with compassion and understanding with a goal to contribute to society. We miss his beautiful smile, his exceptional personality and his witty sense of humor.

We encourage David’s friends, peers and community members to come forward with information to their school administration in order to empower our youth and create safe places in our schools. Please report bullying when you see or hear it. The love that David taught us should leave a legacy where we unite in a common goal to eliminate bullying.

In lieu of flowers, an account has been set up at Wells Fargo under The Anti-Bullying Foundation in memory of David Phan. All donations will go towards anti-bullying education and outreach. All funeral expenses have been covered by David’s family.

Today we’re honoring David’s life and his parents miss him terribly. We ask the media to please respect the family’s privacy. We will not be answering any questions at this time. Thank you for respecting the family’s wishes.”

Thanh-Tung Than-Trong
Phan family spokesperson

Act Now! Please donate to the account, set up through Wells Fargo. Donations may be made at any branch or online in reference to the account name (Anti-Bullying Foundation: In Memory of David Phan) or using this account number: 1015981093.
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