On May 19, thirteen year-old Isabella “Bella” Angelique Bruinekool of Kalamazoo took her own life. Just weeks before she had uploaded a video to You Tube where she talked about herself, things she liked, and the fact that she was a lesbian. According to the video, she enjoyed skateboarding and had five pets, plus multiple fish. She was an eighth grade honor roll student at Milwood Magnet School.
Bruinekool only posted one video, but she commented on many others having to do with sexuality. “I want to know why they don’t have a gay/lesbian part of sex Ed they act like there is no gay/lesbian people in the world,” she commented on one. And “Your right little girl suck it haters go fuck off cause I was born this way [sic]” on another.
Her mother, Camille Bruinekool, came forward about her daughter’s death in hopes of spreading awareness about bullying. She told WWMT Channel 3, “My daughter was on a mission and that mission was to spread love in the schools and to take away the judgment and the pain that all of her friends felt,” said Isabella’s mother.
Channel 3 also reported that Kalamazoo Public Schools released the following statement:
“With the death of Isabella Bruinekool, Milwood Magnet School lost a bright and valued 8th grade student with her whole life in front of her. Clearly, this is a tragic story. We have no incident report in Isabella’s file of Isabella being judged or claiming to have been judged. Isabella did not share concerns with any administrator at the school or, to the best of our knowledge, with any staff member at the school.
“Children everywhere judge one another, and can be rough on one another. In our diverse school district and our diverse community, we work to teach children that it is important to accept and appreciate differences. We will continue to work with programs and partners such as Gryphon Place, Peace Jam, Peace Pizzazz, Western Michigan University, and others to educate our children about the importance of acceptance and valuing of differences.”
A celebration of Bella’s life will be held at The Celery Flats Amphitheatre in Bi-Centennial Park, 7335 Garden Lane, Portage, MI on Sunday June 23, at 2:30 p.m. In appreciation of Bella’s great love of her pets and all animals, donations may be made in her memory to Kalamazoo County Humane Society, 4239 South Westnedge Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49008. Friends may visit http://www.joldersma-klein.com to share a condolence message with the family.