Mentor, Ohio was listed as one of the Top 100 Places to Live in the United States in 2006 and then again in 2010. The untold story is that within that time period an alarming number of teens committed suicide. Families moved to Mentor expecting it to be a gentler environment than what they had experienced in other places, but soon discovered that they had been misled, and that Mentor wasn’t as wonderful as it had been depicted. This documentary follows the families of two teens as they unveil a shocking story of repeated bullying that took place at the high school.
Sladjana Vidovic’s family moved to the United States following their friends who had said they had found a better life. After enduring the war, they feared for the future of their family as they watched their country’s economy collapse. They were unprepared for the treatment their daughter was given at school where she endured constant abuse beginning in the eighth grade. Her classmates made fun of her name, mocked her Croatian accent, and laughed at her clothes. Her family turned to the school seeking help. They spoke to principals, counselors, nurses, and security guards. She was being taunted at her locker and the school had footage of all of this abuse. Seeing that there were no answers, the family even went to the police. Everyone systematically failed to put an end to the bullying or to create a safer environment for their daughter. Sladjana hung herself at 16. She was the fourth student to die as a result of bullying.
Then there’s Eric Mohat who did not tell his parents about his daily physical and emotional abuse. He was always friendly and bubbly and everybody remembers him as being such a happy boy. Apparently he loved to hug people whenever he felt that they needed one. But it was at his funeral that his parents found out that he had been called “fag” and “queer” at school on a daily basis. He was taunted into killing himself at 17, just six short weeks before school was out. He had made plans to go on a field trip to Hawaii with his choir. On that fateful day a classmate said to him ‘why don’t you go home and just shoot yourself? It’s not like anyone would care.’ And Eric did just that.
These families then join forces and hire an attorney to sue the school district. As the data was being reviewed the attorney was horrified at the fact that one school alone had that many students who had committed suicide and that the whole issue was being swept under the rug. They found that the school had a very negative school climate in comparison to other schools within the same district. There was no acknowledgment of the issue at all, instead the school adopted a policy of denial, destroyed evidence, and willfully refused to address the matter. Who is really to blame? Watch now.