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Death was preventable

October 24, 2008

Re "Teen who killed himself was bullied, students say," Oct. 22

As a teacher, I was dismayed and angered by the preventable death of 14-year-old Vasquez High School student Jeremiah Lasater. Who -- of the people who mourned -- ever reached out to this aching teen while he was alive? The tears and vigils at his school are the height of hypocrisy. Everyone who ignored Lasater pulled that trigger.

Bullying comes with a terrible price, and it needs to be eradicated, period.

Richard Mandl

Los Angeles

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I was saddened to read that a 14-year-old special-needs student shot himself at school in an apparent reaction to bullying. I was disappointed, though, that The Times made no mention of how this boy gained access to a firearm. Have we become so inured to the use of firearms by youth that a newspaper of The Times' stature doesn't even bother to report on such a seemingly crucial aspect of a story?

B. Chris Brewster

San Diego

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My daughter was teased in middle school because of her appearance while being treated for a serious illness. One girl even asked her if she ate balloons for lunch. My daughter survived the teasing and is a stronger, more compassionate person. I am fighting back for her and Lasater every day in my classroom and every time I do a lesson for my second-graders on character education. These lessons have to start early and be continued all the way up through high school.

Genie Penn

Los Angeles

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