Kitty McGuire, Bullied Maine 13-Year-Old, Kills Herself
Thirteen-year-old Kitty McGuire of Troy, a sixth-grader at Mount View Middle School in Thorndike, killed herself last Tuesday. According to some of her family members, staff at Mount View refused to acknowledge that Kitty was being bullied, referring instead to abuse suffered at the hands of fellow students as “teasing.”
“She had spoken to the guidance counsellor several times,” 26-year-old Tim McGuire, the girl’s uncle, told Maine Public Broadcasting Network. “My dad was actually going to call her again, but Kitty asked him not to. She said it would make it worse.”
Tragically, Kitty’s 20-year-old uncle Edward– who was like an older brother to her– also killed himself. Edward had dropped out of Mount View High School in 2011 because he, too, was being bullied. He committed suicide in April 2012. Edward’s death deeply affected Kitty, and relatives say it was one of several factors that contributed to her decision to end her life.
Tim McGuire said Kitty was bullied by other students because like many teens, she was experimenting with different ways of expressing herself.
“She was trying to figure out her sexuality,” McGuire told the Morning Sentinel.
A Facebook tribute page claims that Kitty was bisexual.
Heather Perry, superintendent of Regional School Unit 3 (RSU 3), told reporters that the school district was investigating McGuire’s death. According to the Morning Sentinel, the teen was the target of three or more incidents the school described as “teasing,” not bullying.
The school’s refusal to acknowledge that bullying played a role in McGuire’s suicide has upset some of her relatives as well as students and members of the community.
“I don’t feel like they do anything right now except look the other way,” Tim McGuire said of RSU 3. “We felt like we needed this to be public to get any action. It needs to be a public discussion.”
Perry said RSU 3 is considering the possibility that McGuire was affected by bullying.
“We are taking it seriously and conducting an investigation,” Perry told the Morning Sentinel. “We haven’t come to any conclusions yet. When we have, we will share that.”
Some Mount View students are also upset that the school has discouraged them from wearing t-shirts, pins and other items to memorialize McGuire and condemn bullying.
“We shouldn’t hide it,” 10th-grader Tori Strain, 16, told the Morning Sentinel. “We do not support suicide. We just want to support Kitty.”