HomeTop HeadlinesBullied 10-Year-Old Takes His Own Life

Bullied 10-Year-Old Takes His Own Life

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In Greenfield, Indiana, a community reels and a family mourns the loss of 10-year-old Sammy Teusch, a fourth-grade student at Greenfield Intermediate School. 

On May 5, after enduring harassment from peers, Sammy’s life came to an end by suicide. His family points to the persistent bullying at school as the catalyst for his drastic decision.

Sammy’s father, Sam Teusch, shared the harrowing experience his family has undergone. “I did the thing no father should ever have to do,” Teusch disclosed, his voice heavy with grief. “I held him in my arms.”

Over the past year, Sammy’s parents reported to the school about 20 instances of bullying, which began with teasing about Sammy’s glasses and later his teeth, and escalated to physical assaults, including an incident on the school bus where he was beaten and his glasses were broken.

The parents’ calls for action, however, allegedly met with unsatisfactory responses from the school’s administration. “I called the school… ‘What are you doing about this?’” Sam Teusch recounted, his frustration palpable as he spoke of the bullying’s increasing severity.

Contrasting sharply with the family’s assertions, Dr. Harold Olin, the superintendent of the school district, claimed no formal reports of bullying had been submitted by Sammy’s parents or by Sammy himself. However, he acknowledged that there were numerous interactions with Sammy’s family, although specifics were not disclosed due to confidentiality concerns.

Amidst claims of a zero-tolerance policy on bullying, Sammy’s grandmother, Cynthia Teusch, expressed her doubts about the policy’s efficacy. “That they can’t just say they have zero tolerance, because that doesn’t mean there is zero tolerance about bullies, their zero tolerance means that they don’t have responsibility for it,” she criticized, highlighting a disconnect between policy and practice.

Nichole Teusch, Sammy’s mother, pointed to a distressing incident in the school bathroom as the tipping point for her son. “He was my little boy. He was my baby,” she lamented, suggesting the bullying drove Sammy to dread returning to school.

At 10 years old, Sammy was the youngest in the family. His older brothers, Oliver and Xander, are 13 and his sister, Scarlett, is 11.

The children are the youngest in the Teusch’s blended family, which includes five other children they had in other relationships before getting married 12 years ago.

The day before the tragic loss of Sammy, the family had a delightful time watching the older children play soccer at Brandywine Park in Greenfield, where Sammy himself was a team member.

That evening, they all had a blast playing games at Bottleworks in Indianapolis.

The next morning began as any other, with the parents mentioning that Sammy went out to buy some pancake mix for breakfast.

Sammy had spent some time that morning cuddling in bed with his mom, enjoying a backscratch, something he often cherished.

Not much after Sammy returned from his errand, he was discovered lifeless in his bedroom.

A neighbor, who is a firefighter, was the first to answer their emergency call, dashing upstairs to offer first aid until further help could get there.

The ineffectiveness of zero-tolerance bullying policies is a recurring theme in discussions about school safety. According to a study published on ResearchGate, such policies often fail to address the underlying behaviors and may inadvertently increase covert bullying tactics as students learn to avoid detection. Experts recommend approaches that focus on empathy training and integrating bullies into the school community as more effective measures.

Meanwhile, the impact of bullying on mental health cannot be understated. A report by McLean Hospital highlights that bullying leads to significant emotional distress, including depression and anxiety, which can affect both the victims and the perpetrators.

In a Facebook post, Greenfield Police Department Chief Brian Hartman said circumstances surrounding Sammy’s death are still under investigation, noting the department is working to “sort truth from rumors.”

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