Aid workers failed suicidal Heerlen teen: Youth Care Inspectorate

The help offered to 15-year-old Tharukshan Selvam, who committed suicide early this year after being bullied, fell short, the Youth Care Inspectorate concluded in a report published on Tuesday. School and other aid workers did not cooperate or communicate properly and delayed further aid until after the Christmas holiday, ANP reports.

The boy committed suicide on the last day of the holiday.

The Inspectorate concluded that the suicidal boy was left to his fate. The helpers did not talk to each other, and therefore did not agree on who will keep in touch with Tharukshan during the holiday. That was partly due to the fact that those involved estimated that further aid could wait until after the holiday. The aid organizations involved also did not discuss the signals from the boy in an integral way.

Too little attention was paid to the fact that his family has an immigration background, the researchers found. The parents don't speak much Dutch and so the school had little to no contact with them. "Parents assumed that they were dealing with a school like those they knew from their country of origin, and were not familiar with the involvement Dutch schools expects from parents."

The school mainly looked at Tharukshan's school performance, and paid too little attention to the boy's emotional state and his situation at home. Though the Inspectorate added that the school did intervene to stop Tharukshan being bullied.

The municipality of Heerlen and the other involved organizations, including the Grotius College which the boy attended, will draw up an action plan to prevent similar situations in the future, ANP reports.