Suicide of Sladjana Vidovic
Sladjana Vidovic (Croatian: Slađana Vidović, April 4, 1992 – October 2, 2008) was a 16-year-old student at Mentor High School in Mentor, Ohio who killed herself by hanging. She had been bullied by several classmates because of the way she looked.
April 4, 1992
|Died|| (aged 16)|
Mentor, Ohio, U.S.
|Cause of death||Suicide by hanging|
|Education||Mentor High School|
Sladjana Vidovic and her family were from Croatia, but they moved to northeast Ohio as a young child. Vidovic was pretty, energetic and charming. She liked dancing. She would turn on the CD player and drag her father out of his chair, and they would dance around in circles together.
Her life was different in high school. Students would mock her for her heavy accent. Classmates threw nasty insults like "Slutty Jana" and "Slut-Jana-Vagina." In one incident, a boy pushed her down the stairs. He wasn’t punished by the school because of his elite athletic status. In another, a girl smacked her in the face with a water bottle. Her sister Suzanac recalled that prank callers would call her at night and tell her to go back to Croatia, otherwise she would be dead next morning or they'd find her after school. Jelena Jandric, a friend of Vidovic, remarked that "Sladjana did stand up for herself, but toward the end she just kind of stopped, because she couldn't handle it. She didn't have enough strength." In her four-page-long suicide note, she wrote about all the harm she had suffered in class, mostly being criticized for her heavy accent, called a "slut" and "whore" because she dated an unpopular boy at her school, and that people would throw food and drinks at her during lunch time.
On October 2, 2008, Vidovic committed suicide by tying one end of a rope around her neck and the other around a bed post before jumping out her bedroom window. Her bullies attended her 2008 funeral and they made fun of Sladjana's body in her coffin, commenting later on Myspace that her clothes were ugly.
Vidovic's parents say they begged the school to intervene many times. They say the school promised to take care of her. She had already withdrawn from Mentor and enrolled in an online school about a week before she killed herself. When the family tried to retrieve records about their reports of bullying, school officials told them the records were destroyed during a switch between computer systems. The family later sued Mentor High School in August 2010.
Sladjana's parents were featured in a documentary film titled Mentor, which premiered on December 9, 2014. It follows the families of two victims and the shocking culture of bullying at Mentor High School.
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