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Ayden Keenan-Olson, 14, researched suicide online and left notes outlining homophobic and racist abuse he faced at school
An inquest has heard that a teenager researched suicide online before taking his own life after years of bullying.
Ayden Keenan-Olson, 14, was found dead in his bed by his father, Tim Olson, at the family home in Colchester, Essex, at 7.20am on 14 March. He had taken an overdose of prescription drugs and left two suicide notes outlining the homophobic and racist bullying he had experienced at Philip Morant school, an inquest in Chelmsford heard.
Ayden’s mother, Shy Keenan, an author and prominent child abuse campaigner, said he had been “bullied to death”. A police investigation found that in the month leading up to his death Ayden had bypassed settings on his computer to research suicide methods on the internet.
Keenan told the inquest: “My job is to protect kids online but I could not keep my own son safe.”
The Essex coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, recorded that Ayden’s death was the result of suicide. The inquest heard that Ayden had attempted to take his own life six months earlier. The family believe he took prescription drugs from home and hid them at school.
The school’s headteacher said Ayden had reported up to 20 incidents of bullying since joining the school. Beasley-Murray said it was not her job to attribute blame and she made no finding regarding bullying or the school’s conduct.
Referring to suicide websites, the coroner said: “The court regrets the influence that such sites have on young people. He clearly was much loved and had so much going for him and I hope you can look back on the happy memories that you have of him.
Keenan told the hearing that her son had been bullied for several years and attempted to take his life in October last year.
Breaking down in tears during her evidence, she said her son had been targeted with violence, abuse and malicious allegations because fellow pupils believed he was gay and because he had part-Japanese ethnicity.
Shortly before Christmas he had told his family he thought he was gay. Keenan said: “He said he was gay and had found somebody he thought he loved but it was not reciprocated. We didn’t care, we just loved him whatever. After Christmas it was like talking to a different boy – since he was able to say out loud to people that he was gay.”
She described Ayden as a sensitive child who had planned to start his own anti-bullying campaign. He was a keen musician and idolised the television presenter Gok Wan. “People would call him Gok as a compliment,” she said. “He tried very hard to look like him.”
The school’s acting headteacher, Robert James, defended its policies for dealing with bullying. “As a school, our first priority is to make sure our students are safe,” he said.
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Ayden Keenan-Olson — (weebly.com)
Described by his Mom as a sensitive child who planned to start his own anti-bullying campaign, fourteen year old Ayden was no stranger to bullying – It was a daily occurrence at his school. For several years he endured both verbal and physical abuse due to his perceived sexual orientation and the fact he had part Japanese ethnicity.
The Headmaster of Ayden’s school confirmed that Ayden reported up to 20 incidents of bullying since joining the school.
In October 2012, the bullying became so extreme that Ayden made an unsuccessful attempt to take his life. He was prescribed medication to help with his suicidal feelings. Shortly before Christmas that same year, he “came out” to his family. He told them that he had found somebody he thought he’d fallen in love with but the feelings weren’t reciprocated. Ayden’s family supported him 100%. They didn’t care about his sexuality, they loved him completely.
Since he “came out” and felt comfortable telling people that he was gay, his Mother says Ayden became a completely different boy. Unfortunately, the bullying continued.
Following his attempt to take his life in October, his family were vigilante about his well being and online safety. Despite them blocking inappropriate websites on the computer, Ayden found a way of bypassing the blocks. No one could have imagined what he was doing – Searching for websites that explained the best way to commit suicide and how to write a suicide note.
The family were also cautious about the amount of medication he had and kept it safely locked away. They later discovered that Ayden had been storing some of it at school.
On March 14th 2013, Aiden committed suicide. He had taken an overdose of his prescription drugs and drank a bottle of red wine. His body was discovered in his bed by his Father. Police found Ayden’s bedroom littered with medication packaging alongside the empty bottle of red wine. They also discovered two suicide notes in which Ayden outlined the homophobic and racist bullying he had experienced at school.