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Suicide victim kept secret from parents

TAYLORSVILLE Utah (ABC 4 News) - David Phan's parents were shocked to learn he had been recenly been bullied at the school.
TAYLORSVILLE Utah (ABC 4 News) - A meeting between the parents of a 14 year old boy who committed suicide and the school district is being planned to avoid future situations like the one confronting Bennion Junior High.

Last week David Phan committed suicide in front of three of his classmates. His parents in a prepared statement were shocked to learn he had been bullied.

"The last few days have been an absolute living nightmare to learn that he was bullied in school where he was supposed to be in a safe learning environment," the family statement read.

But he didn't say anything to them this year.

"If he felt intimated or for any reason that information was never presented to the administration to take action," says Ben Horsley of the district.

And his parents had no idea he was troubled as of late. In the statement they write:

"David was an outstanding son, but he shielded his parents from the horror and negative experiences he was facing at Bennion Jr. High."

Nnow both his parents and the district want to meet to figure out what went wrong and to prevent this from ever happening again.

"We have reached out to them," Horsley says. "But we want them to be able to grieve and bury their son before we proceed,"

And the family also wishes to meet with the district. In their prepared statement:

"It is time for us to turn the hate David endured by bullies into a learning experience that will strengthen a divided community."

Horsley says the district already has extensive training on bullying and offer counseling for victims. He says students have several opportunities to make complaints. Horsley says school have drop boxes in which a student can remain anonymous and submit a complaint. The school also has a hotline in which students can talk to counselors.

Meanwhile, parents of David are preparing for burial Tuesday. In their prepared statement they wrote: "In lieu of flowers, an account has been set up at Wells Fargo under The Anti-Bullying Foundation in memory of David Phan. All donations will go towards anti-bullying education and outreach. All funeral expenses have been covered by David's family."

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