Mother Begs For School To Investigate 12-Year-Old Toronto Boy's Suicide After Bullying
There has not been a formal inquiry opened in her son's case.
The mother of a 12-year-old boy who jumped to his death from a high rise in North Toronto in June has been pushing for a formal inquiry, to no avail. Her son, Arka Chakraborty, had been having problems at school with other kids, who he would find himself in verbal and sometimes physical altercations with. When his death was ruled a suicide by the coroner, the investigation was closed without an official cause of death or other pertinent information about the chain of events that led to his suicide.
His mom, Durba Mukherjee, has been writing to all sorts of authorities in order to uncover details of what had gone on at school in the weeks leading up to her son's death.
She told Global News that she "wrote to [the] school board, I wrote to [the] ombudsman, I wrote to different politicians,” she said. “I wrote to [the] Toronto police chief, whoever I could, I looked for answers — how did my boy die?"
So far, there has been no plan made by the TDSB for a formal review. The school says that the teachers did not observe any patterns of bullying or notice any conflict with Arka and other students, which Mukherjee says is false.
“While we are aware of the concerns raised by the student’s mother, based on the information we have, the staff at the school did not observe any bullying, nor were they made aware of any pattern of bullying,” Ryan Bird, a spokesperson for the TDSB told Global News.
Durba Mukherjee and her lawyer Barry Swadron disagree. It's reported that Arka had been involved in several altercations at school, prompting him to enroll in taekwondo classes. There had also been a spectacle made out of a gaming console that he had allegedly taken from another student, which the school pushed for him to confess to. The school even searched his bag and locker looking for it.
Arka's side of the story was that he had been given the console under false pretenses, and he did return it to its rightful owner on his own, without being forced to. It was after this public spectacle at school that he committed suicide.
Now, the grieving mother and her lawyer, Barry Swadron are pushing for provincial intervention to find out what really happened leading up to the boy's suicide.
According to the Toronto Star, Swadron is filing a freedom of information request for police records as well as school records that may hold clues about the details of went on in this young boy's life at school that caused him to resort to suicide.
“She is determined to do all she is able to shed light on the sheer goodness of Arka and to dramatize the societal failures that led to his death,” Swadron said in an email to the Star.
The reason that the investigation was concluded was because the coroner found no evidence of foul play. His mother does not find this conclusion satisfactory. She wants answers about the details of her son's life at school that would shed light on why he felt so hopeless as to end his own life.
His final words to his mom were written in a note saying "I have been a disappointment to you. I have not been popular at school. No one will miss me if I'm gone," the Hamilton Spectator reports.
A GoFundMe has been opened to cover legal costs.