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RadioSerenade Offline
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The Case of Abbie Bartels. - December 27th 2015, 05:30 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of suicide, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread therefore might not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

I was cruising around Youtube and I ran into a CNN story about the case of a woman named Abbie Bartels, who committed suicide after being banned from graduating.

A summary:

Abbie Bartels was a fourteen year old female student at the Milton Hershey Boarding School. She was a successful student with a significant resume in student welfare engagement and educational performance. Legal and alcohol problems of her father caused her to become depressed. The issues were raised to the attention of the school. The school contended that "students must be free of serious emotional and behavioural issues". The school stated that Abbie must be treated in a professional institution, otherwise her enrolment will be cancelled. She was treated in an institution and discharged on the basis of "good progress". The institution declared that she should be released in a structured supportive enrolment at the school. She returned for two days. She "relapsed" (no detail of the nature of the relapse). She was treated in a seperate institution, which told the family of the need for a one year leave of absence to continue treatment. She was released from the institution two days before the graduation. She was denied an invitation and security was informed.

She was denied this invitation of the grounds of her records, which stated an incident in which she wrapped her arm around the neck of a neighbour. The school counsellor downplayed the incident but the school warned of the requirement to balance her attendance with "the absolute mandate to ensure the safety of students and staff".

She was eventually found deceased in her room.

STORY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS1pvcbEW64.

There are issues at play:

1) The wording of the policy.
2) The motivations of the school.
3) The risk analysis of her attendance.

Thoughts on that and other points?

EDIT: The title was chosen before I rewatched the video and heard the details of the first and second institution. It has since been changed.

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Last edited by RadioSerenade; December 27th 2015 at 06:33 AM.
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Re: Failure to Treat: The Case of Abbie Bartels. - December 27th 2015, 05:54 AM

I don't think this was a case of failure to treat, they have records showing that she was treated by at least 3 different professionals at school and two other places. I think the school made the wrong decision and that combined with her state of mind broke her. The school was wrong, especially since they didn't explain themselves, but even I, as someone who has been suicidal over actions of a school and faculty, hesitate to say that you can blame the school for what happened.

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"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you." Jean Paul Sarte

Last edited by Kate*; December 28th 2015 at 12:06 AM.
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Re: The Case of Abbie Bartels. - December 27th 2015, 11:46 PM

The schools action was probably the tipping point but I don't think that they can be blamed. They could have handled it differently and they should have but there are a lot of teachers and schools that aren't understanding of these issues. I had a teacher who wasn't very cooperative when I tried to commit suicide. All the teachers did what they could to help me in regards to grades but this teacher didn't. He always played favorites and has been known to give people passing grades but they have to be a favorite. I was never a favorite because I wasn't outspoken so he chose not to be compassionate. His actions weren't wrong. He had every right not to cooperate but that doesn't mean his actions were called for or right. But, people choose not to be understanding of mental illness and sometimes their actions reflect that.

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