Girl, 13, commits suicide after dad’s public-shaming video posted online

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TACOMA, Wash. -- A 13-year-old Washington girl took her own life after her father recorded a video of him punishing her, sparking a debate over public shaming videos posted online by parents.

On Saturday, Izabel Laxamana got out of a car and jumped from a highway overpass, landing on Interstate 5 below, police said.  She was rushed to a local hospital where she later died.

The suicide came after a 15-second video showing her father questioning Laxamana after cutting off her hair as punishment for unspecified behavior was shared online.

"The consequences of getting messed up?" the father says for the camera as he pans from his daughter's face to a pile of hair lying at her feet.  "Man, you lost all that beautiful hair.  Was it worth it?"

"No," Laxamana says.

"How many times did I warn you?"

"Twice," she says quietly.

While many have criticized the father online, police say he didn't upload the video and that it wasn't meant to be published.

"She was a 13-year-old that made some poor choices, meaning that she didn't have to kill herself," Tacoma Public Information Officer Loretta Cool told the New York Daily news.  Police believe an unidentified third party uploaded the video, thinking it would help.

While her father may have intended the video to be a personal reminder for his daughter's eyes only, her suicide has prompted a larger debate over the public punishments that can haunt children online -- years after they broke the rules.

Board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Jodi Gold says if you are at a loss as to how to best help your bulled child, the first step is to make sure you’re not part of the problem.

A Facebook page, "Justice For Izabel," decries Laxamana's punishment and the shaming of other children.

18 comments

  • DaTruth

    Sad story. Kids is a lot weaker these days. One Embarrassing moment and they feel like they can’t go on! The hajr would grow back, but you can’t get another life. Discipline is setup to correct wrong doing and you don’t feel good when it’s being done to you! Embarrassment comes with no warning and at times it sets you in order. Corrects that attitude of I feel like nothing wrong can happen to me. It’s sad the little girl wasn’t strong enough to overcome that moment. I would not upload a video of my child to discipline him/her, but sometimes some children need different methods to correct their rebellion. First thing children need to know is that life isn’t fun and games and discipline comes with wrong doing. Children who receive no discipline usually react really angry when they do something wrong, because they feel like they do nothing wrong.

    • Bria D

      This is very true.. I completely agree.. Children these days just act as though life is over and where will they go from here.. “Getting messed up” I’m sure referenced to doing drugs.. He wasn’t wrong in any way.. Will he feel bad?? Of course but at the same time her actions were not going to slove anything..

    • Elizabeth

      So, whose fault is it, then, when a child commits suicide because she was publicly shamed for the *world* to see? Is it the child’s fault for being too “weak” and being unable to handle the scrutiny of millions of people? No. Parents are responsible for the negative life outcomes of minor children.

      Also when were YOUR childhood punishments ever posted online for anyone in the world to view at any time? How do you think YOU would feel – or would have turned out – if your most embarrassing childhood experiences were posted online for millions to see? The true difference between when you were a child and children today has nothing to do with “weakness”, but the fact that *your* embarrassment lasted for only as long as the punishment itself lasted . Your childhood mistakes were not made public for the world to see for a lifetime, nor were your punishments. Punishments should be corrective; they should not be cruel and have the ability to follow you around – punishing you – for life. How is public, online shaming any different from when a child is the one making a fool of themselves online? Great – now parents are doing it for them. The child may no longer be posting inappropriate pictures online (or whatever the case may be), but now she’s bullied at school and has become depressed, insecure, and socially awkward. Great job!

      Previous generations have been allowed to make mistakes, be punished, and move on. This is no longer true for the youngest generations, as they have to worry about being shamed online by their parents, in addition to the original punishment. When a punishment is extreme, as public shaming in front of the world is, then it ceases to be corrective and only causes damage.

      • Elizabeth

        Granted, the father is not the one who posted the video online, but it’s disturbing that some think that it is acceptable to post these things online for the world to see. Extreme behavior by a child does not give a parent license to engage in extreme behavior themselves. How is the adult any better than the child, then? Developmentally, that girl was in one of the most critical stages of development. You cannot do things like this to a child. A parent who does this becomes no different from a classmate who posts embarrassing pictures of another classmate online for the world to laugh at and criticize. It is the exact same thing and has the exact same effect – only it’s coming from the people who are supposed to be protecting the child’s well-being and reputation, even when they lack the maturity to do that themselves.

  • deidra

    This is sad and i hope he feels horrible. Not funny now huh she got her point across clearly…

  • La Jibara

    What was the offense that granted such a punishment? I bet that in the great scheme of things, it is not even that big of a deal, and certainly not worth sending a daughter into despair.

  • Rubyroo

    My father once cut off my long hair at the request of my older sister. It was the 70’s and long hair was the style. It was a horrible haircut. It broke my little teenage heart.

  • ibn nate

    From the father’s statement, “The consequences of getting messed up?,” it could be understood that this young lady could have gotten intoxicated. If that were the case, then she definitely deserved to be SEVERELY disciplined, but the act of public shaming one’s child is questionable. Public shaming of criminals is used to deter other citizens of the society from committing certain crimes, but publicly shaming one’s child is probably not a good idea, and by the way, I am not saying that the father uploaded the video.

  • Bob goode

    One of the saddest things I’ve read. How could this happen? I am no father of the year, not by a long shot, but cutting a little girls hair off as a punishment is equal to a punch in the stomach, assault, and whoever posted that online should hang their head in shame. Children already have issues with self esteem, peer groups, academics, and their life at home. This is terrible, and I think those responsible should b

  • Been There.

    Unless that Dr. Has ever been in her shoes how the F**k can she say Sh*t about anything!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Wilson

    This chump is an idiot. How could he do what he did to his own child?? Hope he rots in hell. POS ahole!!!

  • AJ

    I realize the father didn’t post the video, and he will never for a second live without questioning himself. He has a life sentence and for that I feel heartfelt sadness. These schools need to do more when children are getting bullied. When a child speaks up, the school speaks to the bully and/or friends and at the end says, if anything else occurs let us know. Well now the child is bullied even more for telling but now the kids are careful not to get caught. Now if the victim tells he/she is scared again nothing of any consequence will happen to the bully or bullies. The school needs to keep a very close eye on the situation after they are advised, and this rarely happens. The school wants to believe it is over – that the situation is resolved. We need to look into a better system once abuse is reported – one that follows up and follows through with changing the pattern. Nothing changes without an incentive!! Now public shaming on social media is horrible, even more so when it’s a parent…The one person the child is supposed to know and trust is ALWAYS on their side – the person who anywhere they are together should feel safe, should feel supported has now been destroyed. If nowhere else in the world a child feels safe – home should be that place. A parent is supposed to discipline their child (the consequences should be representative of trying to change said behavior), but the minute that punishment is over – a parent should be the 1st person to put their loving arms around that child so they know no matter what my arms are hear to comfort you. You are safe in them…and never let a day go by without finding something about him or her to say you are proud of and that you love them. Children get enough criticism from society – they need you to love them and guide them. Lead by example – children don’t learn by listening to you – they learn from a very young age to learn by watching you…

  • zooooom

    that’s the father’s fault, maybe that will teach him a lesson, don’t be a dick to your children, shaming is a powerful and evil tool, and shaming were his intentions.. there was no love involved, it was an attack on her and what she was doing, bad parenting on his part

  • Susan

    Cutting your daughter’s hair off as punishment is cruel. What father would do this to his precious little girl? Then to further shame her by making it public? What is this guy… in the Taliban? Now look what he prompted. Awful.

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