Tempest Smith

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Tempest Kayne Smith (September 16, 1988 – February 20, 2001) was a 12-year-old girl from Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA who committed suicide by hanging on February 20, 2001. Based on the contents of her diary, the cause of the suicide was assumed to be bullying by her classmates at Lincoln Park Middle School. She wrote that she was targeted for her interest in Wicca, alternative clothing styles and shy demeanor. At the time, school officials urged others not to put the blame on Smith's classmates, stating that burdening them with guilt over a student's death was not constructive.

Five months after the suicide, Smith's mother, Denessa, filed suit against the school, alleging that they had turned a blind eye to the bullying and that their inaction allowed an avoidable suicide. She also claimed that the school district was biased against followers of Wicca, referring to a 1999 case in which high schooler Crystal Seifferly sued the district for prohibiting her from wearing a pentacle; in that case a US district judge ruled that the district's policy against such jewelry was a violation of religious freedom.

A foundation called the Tempest Smith Foundation was formed in her memory to promote religious tolerance.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Teasing sparks $10 million lawsuit - Lincoln Park district accused of religious bias in girl's suicide. The Detroit News/July 4, 2001 - By George Hunter
  • The Tempest Smith Foundation