Suicide of Jadin Bell

Jadin Robert Joseph Bell (June 4, 1997 – February 3, 2013) was an American youth known for his suicide which raised the national profile on youth bullying and gay victimization in bullying.

Jadin Bell
Jadin Robert Joseph Bell

(1997-06-04)June 4, 1997
DiedFebruary 3, 2013(2013-02-03) (aged 15)
Cause of deathSuicide by hanging
ResidenceLa Grande, Oregon, U.S.
CitizenshipUnited States
Parent(s)Joe Bell
Lola Lathrop

Bell, a 15-year-old gay youth, was "intensely bullied" both in person and on the internet because he was gay. He was a member of the La Grande High School cheerleading team in La Grande, Oregon, where he was a sophomore. On January 19, 2013, Bell went to a local elementary school and hanged himself from the play structure.[2] He did not immediately die from the strangulation and was rushed to the emergency department, where he was kept on life support.[3]

The Associated Press reported that a spokesman for the OHSU Hospital in Portland announced that after being taken off life support, Bell died on February 3, 2013.[4]

Bell's death was widely reported in the media, starting discussions about bullying, the effect it has on youth, and gay bullying. The Huffington Post,[5] Salon,[2] Oregon Public Broadcasting,[6] The Raw Story,[7] GLAAD,[8] PQ Monthly,[9] Pink News[10] and many other media outlets reported on Bell's death. The media reported his suicide stemmed from being bullied for being gay, which Bell's father fully believed, stating: "He was hurting so bad. Just the bullying at school. Yeah there were other issues, but ultimately it was all due to the bullying, for not being accepted for being gay."[11]

Of Bell's death, Oregon LGBTQ activist Alex Horsey stated: "Sometimes, it can be easy to become disconnected to so many stories like Jadin's in the media... Every story (including those not covered by media outlets) has equal importance... It's heartbreaking that Jadin's story has become a reminder of the horrifying consequences of bullying, rather than a story of a young man overcoming adversity and a community changing its ways."[9]


After Bell's death, his father, Joe Bell, planned a cross-country tribute in honor of his son. He planned to walk across the entire continental United States within two years, spreading awareness about bullying and the effects that it can have. Bell resigned from his position at Boise Cascade and helped launch Faces for Change, a non-profit anti-bullying foundation, to speak in high schools across the U.S. He stated: "Not doing anything is not acceptable. [Those who watch and do nothing] are just as guilty. They are saying that it is acceptable."[12]

Joe Bell was killed half way through his journey after he was hit by a semi-truck in Colorado. The driver of the truck, Kenneth Raven, was charged with reckless driving and may have fallen asleep at the wheel.[13] Joe had begun the walk in April 2013 and was killed on October 6, 2013. He was pronounced dead at the scene on the shoulder of US 40 when authorities arrived.[14][15]

Faces for Change created a scholarship program in memory of Jadin Bell "to make awards to scholastic institutions on behalf of individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and the development of community tolerance in our area of service."[16][17]

See also


  1. "Jadin Bell Obituary". Loveland Funeral Chapel. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  2. Toutonghi, Pauls. ""They ripped him apart": Searching for answers in the suicide of bullied teen Jadin Bell". Salon. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  3. "Jadin Bell, Gay Oregon Teen, Taken Off Life Support After Hanging Himself". The Huffington Post. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  4. Associated Press (4 February 2013). "Jadin Bell Dead: Gay Oregon Teen Who Hanged Himself Dies After Being Taken Off Life Support". Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  5. "Joe Bell, Father Of Gay Teen Jadin, Discusses Cross-Country Anti-Bullying Walk". The Huffington Post. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  6. "La Grande Grapples With Bullying After Gay Teen's Death". OPB. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  7. Ferguson, David. "Bullied gay teen taken off life support after hanging self in schoolyard". Raw Story. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  8. Hefferman, Dani. "Jadin Bell". GLAAD. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  9. Rook, Erin (29 January 2013). "Project Believe in Me Founder Speaks Out on Bullying and Suicide". PQ Monthly. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  10. McCormick, Joseph Patrick (30 January 2013). "US: Gay teen taken off life support after hanging himself because of homophobic bullying". Pink News. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  11. Tierney, John (10 October 2013). "Father killed on walk to honor bullied son who committed suicide". KATU. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  12. "Joe Bell, Father Of Gay Teen Jadin, To Walk Cross-Country With Anti-Bullying Message". Huffington Post. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  13. Nichols, James (10 October 2013). "Jadin Bell's Father, Joe Bell, Killed While Walking Cross Country For Tribute To Dead Gay Teen". Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  14. Sandell, Clayton (10 October 2013). "Man Killed on Walk to Highlight Dead Son's Struggle With Bullying". ABC News. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  15. Nicholson, Kieran (10 October 2013). "Oregon man walking to honor his son hit, killed by truck in Colorado". Denver Post. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  16. "Scholarship Program". Faces For Change. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  17. "Family announces foundation to combat bullying in wake of Jadin Bell's death". LGBTQ Nation. 7 Feb 2013. Retrieved 15 Mar 2014.
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