Saturday, April 08, 2006
Eighth Grade Student Commits Suicide
According to the article:
An eighth grade student, Anthony Soltero, of De Anza Middle School has committed suicide after being told by school administrators that he would be going to prison for his involvement in the student walkouts last week. According to friends and family the suicide is a direct result of his meeting with the assistant vice principle of the school and occurred shortly there after.The article links to a long telephone interview (audio) with the family's lawyer that makes some additional points not mentioned in the article on LA Indymedia or a sister article on Bay Area Indymedia (which notes he "shot himself through the head").
Specifically, that "last week during Tues and Wednesday there were a number of walkouts from the High and Middle school in the Ontario area". The boy had "participated as an organizer".
He was summoned by the Principal on Thursday and allegedly advised that "because he was involved in the walkout he was not going to be able to attend the class dance or his graduation".
There was also allegedly mention that "he was going to prison for three years because of a prior juvenile offence that he had." This was not mentioned in other text.
Prior criminal history is not mentioned in the main article. It is however stated that:
The suicide is a direct result of his meeting with the assistant vice principle (sic) of the school.Personally, I would ask why an eighth grader had such ready access to a firearm. This doesn't appear to be on the agenda of activists who entitled the Bay area piece "First Casualty of Student Walk Outs!" and stated in their "press release" :
:1st Walkout Death!
Anthonys death is likely the first fatality arising from the protests against the immigration legislation
The connection seems tenuous at best.
Whilst it doesn't excuse the suicide, the mention of his criminal history in the text, would have been considered full reporting yet I imagine was omitted as it would have taken away from the suggestion this was a perfectly normal child driven to suicide by the fascist principal.
This is not the first time activists have been martyred by far left wing groups where the death itself was merely a means to an end.
There was much mention by the interviewer as well as the text of free speech laws and whether the Principal broke these. As far as I can tell however, the problem was not what the student said, but his repeatedly leaving the school.
Truancy and free speech simply aren't the same thing. The school has a duty of care to its students, and had this one remained in school, he may be alive. It's harsh, and I'm sorry for that, but it's true.
The involvement of young easily influenced children by political groups needs far greater scrutiny. Especially considering how many politically immature children would walk out of school for a day under nearly any pretense. I have noted this previously here and here.
I can't find any reporting of this sad story in other news sources at this stage.
Update: Roland has more on the politics of ditching school and on Indymedia in general.