Eighteen-year old Lance Lundsten died on Saturday as a result of a suicide attempt, according to KSAX-TV. Lundsten’s friends say he was gay and that he was bullied at Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Minn. Within hours, his death has prompted the formation of an anti-bullying group in the school district. Sen. Al Franken, who is the author of anti-bullying legislation in the U.S. Senate, extended his condolences to Lundsten’s family and friends on Monday evening.
KSAX reports that emergency responders took Lundsten to Douglas County Hospital where he died.
“Bullying is a huge issue, particularly with the youth in our country now,” Shari Maloney, facilitator of the Diversity Resource Action Alliance, told KSAX. “I think because we’re in central Minnesota, and we aren’t as diverse as some of the larger Metropolitan areas are, someone who is different maybe draws more attention and it’s not always positive.”
UPDATE: Via Bruce in the comments, it seems that there’s now some question as to the nature of Lundsten’s death. It’s sad regardless, and my guess is that there’s a more complex set of factors at play here than we yet know. Will update as more comes out.