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MILTONA, Minn. - The news of a high school student’s suicide began circling social networking sites Monday morning, after the news began spreading that 18-year-old Jefferson High School student Lance Lundsten had died over the weekend.
Around 10 p.m. Saturday the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call at the Lundsten’s residence in Miltona.
When officers arrived, they discovered 18-year-old Lance Lundsten needing emergency medical care. Lundsten was transported to the Douglas County Hospital where he later died.
The Sheriff’s Office confirmed to KSAX that they believed Lundsten’s death was a suicide. The Sheriff would not confirm the nature of the medical emergency.
According to his Facebook page, Lundsten was openly gay. On a Facebook memorial page in Lundsten’s honor, friends said that Lundsten had been bullied at school for his sexual orientation. Some students who knew Lundsten believed the bullying may have led to his suicide.
“Bullying is a huge issue, particularly with the youth in our country now,” Facilitator of the Diversity Resource Action Alliance Shari Maloney said. “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.”
Maloney said she works everyday to make Alexandria a more accepting place for community members and visitors. She said she has seen improvement, but there is still a long way to go.
“I think we are a welcoming community, but I think we are also a very traditional community as well,” Maloney said. “As the world changes, I’m not sure if we’re changing.”
Another Jefferson High School student started a Facebook group following Lundsten’s death called the Jefferson Anti-Bully Coalition.
Lundsten’s funeral is set for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria.
so once again, a young kid is driven to suicide by homophobic abuse and bullying
i've been the victim of homophobic abuse, and still am, and it sucks. a lot. i would go into further detail, but i'm sure most of you know about my Christmas Eve story.
you tell me SE++: do you think there will ever be a time where people can just be themselves, with no fear of bullying or harassment?