Utah family hopes son's suicide buries bullying

The Salt Lake City Tribune
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December 18, 2012

Before 14-year-old David Phan grabbed the 22-caliber pistol loaded with a single bullet and shot himself, he had been suspended from Bennion Junior High, perhaps for bringing a condom to school, the teen’s parents said Saturday. Inside their Taylorsville home, the family discussed for the first time the last moments of their youngest son’s life and what they hope his legacy will be: helping gay students, especially those from minority cultures, handle bullying and better training for educators in dealing with gay youths. The parents said district officials mishandled the situation from the beginning, starting with statements made by district spokesman Ben Horsley, who described the teen as having "significant personal challenges on multiple fronts." John Mejia, legal director of ALCU of Utah, wrote a letter this week on behalf of the Phan family to Granite School District Superintendent Martin Bates. "David’s parents have expressed deep concern that since the tragic incident, Granite School District officials, and particularly district spokesman Ben Horsley, have been extremely inappropriate in their public statements about David and his family," Mejia wrote in the Dec. 12 letter. "We urge you to immediately cease and desist from any further release to the public of any information about David and his family."