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Teen's suicide draws national attention



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SALT LAKE CITY — Today friends and family will gather to remember a Morgan County teen who took his life after he was bullied.

The death of Jack Reese, 17, on April 23 stands out because he was a gay. Now, support for him is pouring in from across the country.

The story was written about and generated sympathetic comments in Salt Lake's Q-Magazine and the Huffington Post. Many people are calling for school and community leaders to do more to stop anti-gay bullying.

Reese's boyfriend, Alex Smith, tells the Huffington Post that Reese was subject to repeated anti-gay bullying at school. Reese attended Morgan and Weber high schools.

On the evening of his death, Smith was speaking on a community panel about the dangers of bullying and even spoke about what Reese was going through. What Smith didn't know yet, was that Reese had already taken his own life.

An obituary describes Reese as having been "very good with computers and loved to play his X-Box games." It goes on to say he was learning to speak Japanese and loved anything to do with Japan.

Nationwide people are expressing sympathy for Reese. Chris Rothbauer of Louisville, Kentucky, wrote on Myer's Mortuary's guest book: "My deepest condolences to Jack's family. No child should be treated the way he was."

Paul Ellison of San Francisco wrote: "What he (Reese) endured should not have happened. I pray that his death will help change this culture of bullying our lesbian and gay youth."

An event to discuss anti-gay bullying and suicide will be held tonight at 6:30 at the Ogden Amphitheater. Following the discussion a candlelight vigil will be held in honor of Jack Reese.

Shara Park
    Andrew Adams

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