Family, friends of 13-year-old Sultan boy say bullying led to his suicide attempt

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zachSULTAN, Wash. — A 13-year-old boy at Sultan Middle School is in a coma after having tried to commit suicide. Friends and family said he did it because he was being bullied.

Hundreds of ‘get well’ wishes from kids are posted at Sultan Middle School to a boy fighting for his life at the hospital.

The family of 13-year-old Zach said it was constant bullying at the middle school that drove the teen to try to kill himself.

A fellow student and friend said she`s witnessed Zach being picked on. “Verbally harassed the most because he dyes his hair and stuff,” she said.

Some at the school said there is a culture of bullying there.

“Well, that’s a troubling thing to hear,” said Sultan School Superintendent Dan Chaplik. “And what I would say is we need to open the doors wide and take a look.”

Chaplik said he doesn`t know of a specific incident that may have led to Zach`s suicide attempt.

But he’s teaming up with the police and mayor to put together a forum on bullying.

“People`s emotions are raw,” Chaplik said. “They (parents) want to know why. Why would somebody do this? What led to this? We want to know, too, because we clearly have a role in making this a safe learning environment.”

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  • Brandy Bowen

    This is so wrong, this boy has to much life to live then to be picked on by middle school inmature kids, now this boy may loose his life because of the bullying he went through because of these kids. kids are being punished way to lightly now, i was a student at Sultan Middle School and people got away with so much, things they should of been expelled for. I pray Zach and that he makes it through, and kids need to open their eyes and realized that bullying someone is serious its not a joke, especially when it can cost someone a young boy or girl their life.

  • Kimberly

    At this day and age it is ridiculous to read these stories. All schools should have active anti bullying capaigns in place. As brandy said this school has been getting " under the radar" for too long. Why does it always take something tragic for a society/ school to wake up?!

  • jon

    Not to sound cold, but bullying has always gone on and will always go on. Its in our human nature. Bullying happens everywhere. Countries bully each other, politicians bully each other, law enforcement bully folks, businesses bully other businesses, etc. Its a part of life. Heck I was stripped naked and tied to a flag pole my freshman year in HS. I would be stuffed in garbage cans and rolled down the stairs in MS. It happens. I doubt his issues were due to bullying. His issues had to deal with low self esteem, and other mental issues. I tried also as a kid, but it wasnt becuase I was bullied it was becuase I had self doubt issues, and didnt have a good support team in place. Its sad that kids think they need to do this as an escape, but I am tired of folks blaming it on bullying and not on the real issue that might be going on in his life.

    • Amy

      Low self esteem is not a "mental issues" and depending on your personality and the severity of the bullying, it can cause these issues. Everyone deals with stress and trauma differently. Some tough it out, other fall apart. And your self doubt most likely was caused by the bullying and the lack of support.
      And regardless if bullying is a part of life, it is still unacceptable. I certainly wouldn't put up with at work or in my personal life. If nothing else, you can choose as an adult not to be around that type of person.

  • kelly Iverson

    That is why I am blessed to be able to homeschool my son. The bullying got so bad since he is special needs that we got fed up! God Bless this child…My prayers are with you all.

  • PeachWookiee

    Why am I not surprised that the superintendent was "unaware"? I've seen it before. Teachers and other adults in authority are "unaware" because they don't see it happening in front of them. And when they follow the kid to see if it's happening, of course they don't see anything. Parents of kids accused, I suggest you don't take the attitude of "Not My Baby." Your "baby" can be brutal. To the parents of the kids accused here, you had better make it clear what they did to this boy was no laughing matter and not something to ever be shrugged off.


    Every school should be required to have a program in place to deal with the issue of bullying. Plus trained counselors who know how to deal with bullying when it occurs.

  • rst

    he was bullied for dying his hair? I'm not saying bullying is okay but people try to force feed the I'M DIFFERENT attitude and this is what happens. you know where there is less bullying? That's right in uniformed schools where there is a dress code and everyone has to adhere to them. If everyone is forced to where the same thing and adhere to appearance standards it gives bullies less ammunition.

    • Sherri

      bull crap rst, kids are bullied just as bad in uniform schools and just because someone dyes their hair or dresses different from others does not give the right to bully them, I am sure you must have been a bully when you were a kid, because only bullies think a person can't be themselves and have to be like everyone else, BS kids have a right to be who they are without being bullied, some kids family can't afford the in clothes, that don't mean the others have the right to bully them, some kids dye their hair others have piercings don't mean its ok to bully them.

  • Ron

    From what I see in the comments, here, bullying isn't the only thing being neglected in schools. Punctuation, spelling and grammar are another. Maybe if kids were taught that schools are a place to learn and not some social club, there wouldn't be so much time for bullying.

  • Laurel

    I think that the school is to blame here. I went to high school where bullying was NOT a serious issue. Yes it happened but it was a minor issue. We had great programs for bullying and the teachers paid much attention. It was never over looked and kids who bullied were punished. The adults in the school know whats going on they just choose not to see it. They need to be held accountable as much as the kids doing the bullying.

  • Elizabeth

    What a cute boy!! So sad about how much bulling we hear about today… What happen to people accepting people for who they are and they are just so young… Send many prayers to him and his family. God Bless!!!

  • zach

    not to sound rude at all but I go to that school and the kid was never bullied in fact most of the time he was rude to nearly everybody saying how i was a fag but i really didn't care about what he thought about me so i moved on and didnt try to kill myself since ive been dealing with bullying my entire life and times i think of the irrational but i never do it.

    any ways sultan is a terrible school where most of the kids get addicted to drugs by the seventh grade.