Education

‘Bullied’ Indian-Origin Teen Killed Herself in UK’s Top School

The 14-year-old student of the Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb was removed by friends from a WhatsApp group.

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A 14-year-old Indian-origin girl had killed herself last year because she was snubbed by her friends at the Henrietta Barnett School in North West London, an inquest heard on March 28.

Elena Mondal may have hoped that she would be discovered before she died but her “dramatic statement” went wrong, consultant psychiatrist Dr. Cathy Wainhouse said, according to the Daily Mail. Mondal had hanged herself from a tree on the school grounds and later died at the hospital. She was found unresponsive in the woods on school grounds at The Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Mondal was at the top in her class and wanted to be a doctor. She was also studying in one of the top grammar schools in the country. Her parents Shyamal and Moushumi believe that she was bullied at school, the inquest at Barnet Coroner’s Court heard. Their barrister Susan Jones also questioned a police officer, Detective Constable Simon North, over the girl’s phone. According to the GPS location of the phone, which was faulty, the police had concentrated the search for her in the wrong location.

North said that there was “minimal” use of the phone on the day of her death last June and added that “everything had been deleted” from the device, according to the Daily Mail.

A teacher had found Mondal hanging from a tree in the woods. The teenager had a history of eating disorders and self-harm. What triggered her this time could have been her friends removing her from a WhatsApp group, said Dr. Emily Hallgarten.

At the court, school officials said that she once fled a classroom in tears with a pair of scissors, before collapsing in a corridor and cutting her arms in a toilet. Mondal had been referred to the school counselor for missing meals and complaining of depression but missed many appointments, said Henrietta Barnett well-being manager Kelly Barry.

Asked if the school’s academic “hothouse culture” could have affected Mondal and put students at risk of mental health, Barry replied, “It is not unusual for teenage girls at different points to engage in experiments with food or self-harm,” according to the Sun. The school was the top performing state school in the country in the Sunday Times league table in 2016 and 2017.

Barry told the court that 10 per cent students might suffer from eating issues or self-harm, a typical proportion.

Mondal had been assessed at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead but the general consensus was that she was not at risk of suicide.

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