In what can only be described as a heartbreaking incident from rural Tamil Nadu, a 15-year-old school boy has killed himself after his peers teased him for his being effeminate.
Ranjith, a Class 10 student who stayed with his parents at Lalgudi in Tiruchy district, hanged himself after he came home on Thursday evening. When police began to investigate the case, they found a suicide note that explained his drastic decision. In the letter addressed to his mother, he has blamed bullying by his peers for his death.
"Amma, this is your son Ranjith. All the children in my school see me a girl. That is why I have taken this decision. Please forgive me for this. My wish is that you do not leave this house. The people responsible for my death are ***, *** and ***. What happened to me should not happen to anyone else. Please forgive me. Your loving son, Ranjith,” the boy wrote.
The boys that he had named in his letter belonged to different sections of the same standard and the police have already slapped Section 305 (Abetment of suicide of child) on them. They will be shortly be produced before a juvenile board.
An investigating officer tells TNM, "This entire incident is extremely sad. Ranjith seems to have always displayed feminine tendencies and all his classmates used to tease him about it. It was ongoing, but on Thursday, he decided to end his life over it."
The incident once again highlights the need for informed, sensitive, and approachable counselling in schools and other educational institutions.
Child psychologist Jayanthini says, "There is a need for a larger system to be in place. The parents should have ensured he received counselling to tackle this form of bullying and to increase his own acceptance of who he is. But at the same time, teachers should also ensure that students are educated and made sensitive through constant communication.”
“Even if children are not ready to talk to teachers about such bullying, peer advisors can be appointed from senior classes to help them in such situations,” she adds.