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Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013, 1:50 p.m.

Father says gay son's suicide shouldn't be in vain

  • A picture of Jordin Bell sits on a table during a memorial in his honor at La Grande High School in La Grande, Ore., on Tuesday. Bell died Feb. 3 from...

    Chris Baxter / The Observer

    A picture of Jordin Bell sits on a table during a memorial in his honor at La Grande High School in La Grande, Ore., on Tuesday. Bell died Feb. 3 from injuries sustained during a suicide attempt at a school playground.

LA GRANDE, Ore. -- The father of a gay La Grande teenager who hanged himself in a schoolyard and died two weeks later says he loved his son and accepted him for who he was.
"I think we need more of that," said Joe Bell, breaking the family's silence about the death Sunday of 15-year-old Jadin Bell.
The father offered no thoughts on what motivated his son, The Oregonian reported.
A family friend and spokesman, Bud Hill, said Jadin and his father had gone to a high school counselor to report the sophomore had been bullied.
Joe Bell spoke Wednesday night at Eastern Oregon University at the launch of a nonprofit foundation against bullying called Faces for Change.
"I don't want Jadin's death to be in vain," Bell said in a voice choking with emotion. "I want it to stand for something. I think we need to look at people for who they are and not who we think they should be."
Hill and two other friends are creating the organization.
Jadin Bell's death and the suicide of a 16-year-old girl in the La Grande area a few months earlier inspired the foundation, Hill said. Its mission will be to provide resources for teachers, school administrators, students and community members to combat bullying.
Neither family members nor school district Superintendent Larry Glaze have released details about the bullying of Jadin Bell, and no one has confirmed whether it triggered his suicide.
"I don't know that anybody knows what was really in his head," Hill said.
Story tags » LGBTSuicide

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