A vegan schoolboy in Hertfordshire has been suffering from bullying ever since he transferred to Richard Hale School. The 12-year-old boy had been regularly seeing the school counselor as a result and had turned to harming himself to cope with the trauma of being bullied by school mates. The last straw that broke the camel’s back -or the poor boy’s spirit- is when bullies threw meat at him in the canteen to mock his being a vegan, driving him to hang himself in his bedroom leading to his death.
The victim has been identified as Louie Tom Fenton. His devastated family mourn for the loss of their precious, but are also understandably mad because the boy’s demise could have easily been prevented, especially if only the school listened to their pleas to do something about the bullying of their son from the onset.
Louie’s mother,Catherine Fenton shared to the Hertfordshire Coroner’s Court that she had tried to call the attention of the school of the bullying incidents victimizing her son. Prior to the meat-throwing incident, she had written to the school, sharing that she wanted to know whether the school has taken any steps to address the bullying problem, and ensure that it never happened again. She emphasized that she had tried speaking to the school about the dire situation of her kid, but still the bullying went on and on.
The mother also said that being bullied has had a severe impact on her son, as he turned to smoking and hanging out with older guys to cope with the bullying he was suffering from.
The vegan boy died on January 19. During the court hearing, the idea of the child not intending to kill himself was floated, given that there was no suicide note.
Geoffrey Sullivan, the coroner for Hertfordshire, also told the court that he would write to Richard Hale School to guarantee that bullying and self-harming will be tackled by the school authorities “in the right manner.”
The boy’s family gave tribute to him, said he was a “wondeful boy “ and was loved. His family also shared how he has been both a special and ordinary boy just like the rest, making their loss more real and painful. The family said:”In some ways, he had wisdom and concerns way beyond his years, and in other ways he was a mischievous, enthusiastic boy to whom the world offered the opportunity of discovery and adventure.”
They added in grief: “Louie had a wonderful sense of humour and an infectious giggle. We feel his loss deeply, he made our lives better by being with us. He still had so much to offer."
The Vegan Society also expressed sadness for the boy’s death. They said: "Unfortunately, schoolchildren can get bullied for any point of difference - wearing glasses, their hair color, social background and so on - and veganism is just one possible point of difference.”
They clarified, however, that they feel it was an “isolated case” and he was not singled out simply for being a vegan. They added: "This is an isolated incident and we are not aware of any other cases of children being bullied for being vegan; usually their peers are very tolerant and even curious about their lifestyle choice.'
In the end, the coroner gave an open verdict and explained how that he was not convinced that Louie meant to kill himself.