Brandon Bitner Commits Suicide After Anti-Gay Bullying
Brandon Bitner, 14, Committed Suicide Last Week By Running Into the Path of a Tractor-Trailer in Pennsylvania
Bitner left behind a note saying that he was tired of being called names such as 'faggot' and 'sissy' and said he wanted to call attention to the problem of bullying. He started attending Midd-West High School in Midddleburg this year but never told his family or the school that he was being bullied so badly.
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He never disclosed his sexual orientation, but Bitner now becomes another youth who has taken his life after being subjected to name calling and bullying in his school.
"He didn't want to burden other people with his problems," his mother, Tammy Simpson, said in a telephone interview as the family prepared for Wednesday's funeral in this rural central Pennsylvania community. "I'm sure he felt that, if somebody said something, (the teasing) would get even worse."
His mother described him as 'soft-spoken', with many female friends and said he loved playing the violin.
"He was the most wonderful child anyone could ask for," she said.
The note Bitner left behind detailed an encounter with another student on November 1, during an exercise designed to encourage positive behavior where students would take turns wearing the school mascot costume and would walk around the cafeteria during lunch high-fiving and hugging other students.
The young man wearing the costume walked around and hugged a number of students, including Bitner and there seems to be some misunderstanding about what happened, because Bitner's mom said she thought her son thought he was being ridiculed.
Principal Cynthia Hutchinson said that this was not the case and that Bitner must have misunderstood the event.