Winston parent speaks out against bullying after her son commits suicide

A former parent of a child at Douglas High School speaks out after she says the bullying her son experienced led him to commit suicide.

Posted: Jan. 12, 2018 5:58 PM
Updated: Jan. 12, 2018 7:36 PM

WINSTON, Ore. -- Parents are continuing to come forward with stories of their children being bullied, saying bullying is an issue in the Winston-Dillard School District as a whole.

One of those parents is Nicole Hanek, whose son committed suicide just three months ago on October 11, 2017.

Hanek said her son, Trent Hanek, was just 14 years old and a freshman at Douglas High School when the bullying began. She said within a week or so of school starting he told her he was being taunted both online and in person over serious rumors.

MORE: Parents of Brockway Elementary stand up for a stop to bullying

Hanek said she tried to reach out to the school multiple times, but her calls were never returned. After she said she tried and failed to solve the problem, Trent asked to be transferred.

”He said mom, I really need to go, like I need out of this school. So I researched what I needed to do to transfer him to Roseburg schools, transferred him to Roseburg High School, and October 11 I found him in his room, dead," Hanek said.

She said she still receives requests from students and parents to help them due to bullying. She feels that something in the district must change with the way they handle bullying.

”So nobody else has to go through this. So nobody else has to feel the pain," Hanek said. "Because losing your kid and finding him that way is the worst thing a parent could ever go through." 

On the other hand, some parents also reached out to KEZI saying they were floored by the reports of bullying, and they had always been pleased with the way the Winston-Dillard School District handled bullying.

Jessica McClendon said she learned first-hand how the system works when her son was disciplined for bullying.

”They threatened law enforcement on him. It was a big deal," McClendon said. "It’s not something that they take lightly." 

She said it even prompted her to look into his mental health, which led to her son being diagnosed with ADHD.

She does feel that bullying is an issue that needs to be addressed, but she feels like it was handled appropriately when she dealt with it.

Meanwhile, Hanek said she lost her best friend when her son died. She said she needs children to know that if they're experiencing bullying that there is other options.

”There is help and there is places they can reach out to, and they don’t have to take that drastic of an action," Hanek said. "And I want parents to teach their kids that bullying isn’t okay, and that you never know what someone else is dealing with at home."

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