Tempest Kayne Smith died on February 20, 2001. She had been the victim of religious harassment and bullying. It was after her diary was discovered that people learned the extent and severity of the bullying she was put through.
Sticks and stones might break our bones, but those are wounds which can heal. The wounds caused by words are not so easy to heal, and sometimes it seems that they just don't heal.
I won't criticize Tempest for how she died or anything about her death. I have enough memories of my own life at age twelve to know better than to "Monday morning quarterback".
In the United States of America, people claim that there is religious freedom. It didn't work that way for her - and the last I heard, Lincoln Park, Michigan is within the United States. And we've heard enough about bullying, including a recent case in Seattle in which police refused to help a young woman who knew she was in danger, and then so-called security guards stood around and watched as she was beaten.
Tempest Smith's classmates, the ones who should have been her friends, wrote many apologies which were on display at her funeral.
I see her as a martyr. I also see her as a patron for religious freedom and for victims of bullying.