Authorities are urging parents to listen more to their children and not put too much pressure on them, after an 18-year-old high-school student jumped to his death on Tuesday, allegedly following a disagreement with his mother.
The apparent suicide victim was a freshman student surnamed Huang (黃) at a vocational high school in Greater Tainan.
According to investigations, Huang’s parents were divorced and Huang was under the legal guardianship of his mother, who lives in Canada.
Huang’s mother recently asked him to come to live in Canada, the police said.
Huang did not want to move abroad and argued with her on Facebook.
On Tuesday morning, Huang told his teacher he was going to wash his hands and walked out of his classroom on the fifth floor, police reports said, adding that instead of walking to the bathrooms, Huang climbed up the fifth floor parapet.
A few minutes later, a teacher surnamed Chen (陳) walked down the hall and told Huang to climb down immediately, police said.
However, Huang waved his hand to Chen and said “Goodbye, teacher,” then jumped off the parapet, the police report said.
When the ambulance arrived, Huang showed no signs of life and was pronounced dead at a local hospital, reports added.
According to Chen, Huang was a diligent student, but suffered from depression.
“Last year, some students played a joke on him. Huang asked them not to disturb him, but the classmates persisted. Huang took a knife and slashed his wrist in front of his classmates. He was treated at the nursing room, and revealed that he was suffering from depression,” Chen said.
He added that Huang spoke of his mother’s strict demands for high achievements in school.
When reached by the police, Huang’s father said his son was living with him, and although he was taking medication to treat his depression, he had not behaved abnormally in the days before his death.
Following the suicide, the school has instituted its emergency treatment procedures to provide counseling for students and teachers affected by Huang’s death.
Liu Shu-hui (劉淑惠), director of the Greater Tainan chapter of the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, said parents should not impose their opinions and decisions on their children.