Last month, an 11-year-old boy went to his school counselor in Montebello, California to say that he no longer wanted to live. His classmates had been bullying him, and his mother often hit him while his stepfather held him down…
He wanted to commit suicide because his life was “unbearable” and “I’m tired of people hitting me all the time,” a report would later say. the records said.
He wanted to either shoot himself or hang from a rope.
A social worker was sent to the boy’s home later that day. What the worker didn’t know is that the agency had been dealing with the family since the boy was a baby. County workers had previously noted drugs, neglect and violence in the various places the boy had lived.
The social worker also didn’t know that the stepfather, who answered the door, had been barred from living in the home due to a history of drug abuse and domestic violence. Communication was so poor within the Department of Children and Family Services that none of this crucial info was relayed before the visit.
The social worker searched for a gun, but never searched for a rope. She asked the boy when his mother last hit him, but he only shrugged his shoulders. She also asked whether he was afraid of his mother, and the boy said no.
But since the worker knew nothing of the boy’s family history and asked these questions with mom and stepdad nearby, there was no way the boy would answer honestly. He was suicidal and scared shitless, remember?
So the worker deemed the boy’s environment safe and left. Later that night, mom made dinner before the family would sit down to watch the NBA Finals. She called her son to dinner. The boy didn’t answer.
She began to search the house before finding him in her bedroom closet. He’d hanged himself.
Police arrived to find him unresponsive. He would die at 1 .m. the next morning.
The department says the situation occurred due to poor communication stemming from a lack of funding, unused technology and legal limitations. That’s apparently bureaucrat-speak for “incompetence and carelessness.”
Because when you deal with life or death matter involving little kids, you just don’t get excuses. Especially when they involve a simple lack of effort. (Special thanks to reader Sandi for the tip.)
See our last episode of bureaucratic worthlessness: 6-Year-Old Girl Flagged on No-Fly List as Possible Terrorist.