Bullied Boy Takes Own Life At Boarding School After Classmates Smeared Feces On His Pillow

769 views03 October 2020
A 14-year-old student took his own life after classmates bullied him and smeared feces on his pillow. Pierre DaCosta Noble, a French-born student, was found hanging in the grounds of a prestigious school in the Lake District, England.

An investigation revealed that Noble, who was a model student, was "deeply upset" by the pillow incident and eventually led him to take this drastic step. The teenager ended his life on November 9. Windermere is a 157-year-old independent, co-educational boarding and day school in the Lake District, and charges close to $40,000 per year. The school has a strength of 350 students.

The Cockermouth Coroner’s Court also heard that Noble had feces smeared on the inside of his shoes as well in a separate incident. Noble reportedly told his close friends that he was having a hard time at the school, primarily on account of the bullying, reported the Daily Mail. 

The 14-year-old had joined the school as a boarder in Spring 2019 and was described by Windermere school officials as a "model student." The school officials were surprised that he was targeted because he was considered to be very liked among his peers. "We found it odd that he was targeted as he was well-liked," said Paul Ainsworth, a physics teacher and house-master of Pierre. "Someone had put excrement in his boot and smeared it on the inside of his pillow," Ainsworth said of the incident. On the day of the incident, Ainsworth found out Noble had been missing when it was time for the boys to go to bed. Ainsworth learned that the teenager had signed out immediately after an evening meeting around 8 p.m. and had not returned. The physics teacher didn't suspect anything out of the ordinary and assumed he would be at a friend's block or on the phone with his parents. Nevertheless, he asked a couple of senior boys to go looking for him.

The two students were beyond upset when they rushed to Ainsworth letting him know that they found the teenager hanging. Ainsworth called for emergency services and attempted to resuscitate Noble. The emergency responders rushed him to Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where he was later declared dead.

As per school protocol, Ainsworth is supposed to raise the fire alarm when a child in school goes missing. Ainsworth decided against it, assuming it would cause the teenager distress given the week he was having with the feces incident. Joanna Parry, the deputy head of pastoral care at Windermere School, backed Ainsworth's decision despite it going against the protocol. "I believe he made a good decision. He did not know what the students were going to find when they went out," said Parry when asked about it by the coroner.

An initial report on Noble's death claimed that the feces incident had nothing to do with the teenager's death but later, another investigation, found he deliberately took the decision to end his life and the feces incident affected him deeply. Jennifer Davies, head of safeguarding at Windermere School, agreed that the first investigation didn't get to the bottom of the incident.

Headteacher Ian Lavender said he was personally disappointed for not intervening earlier despite being aware of the incident. He admitted he didn't directly interact with Noble over the incident. Lavender said the system put in place meant other staff would intervene before the issue got to him. "I deeply regret that I did not get involved with the matter sooner," said Lavender. The coroner said there was no doubt Noble was aware of the actions he was taking, "It is clear what his intentions were. It is my conclusion that Pierre did deliberately intend to take his own life."

COVER IMAGE SOURCE: Sad boy - stock photo/Getty Images/Mrs

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