According to a Fox 59 report, Missouri middle school student Destiny Gleason, 14, hanged herself yesterday after what her parents described as relentless bullying, including Facebook bullying.
Although school officials were well aware that bullying was taking place both online and in person, her parents say those same officials did little to stop it. Things came to a head last week when Destiny got into a fight at school over her alleged bullying and was taken away in handcuffs and charged with assault.
Because of the fight, Destiny was to begin intensive behavioral therapy this week, but that never happened. Instead, after reading posts about her fight on Facebook, she hanged herself in her bedroom with an extension cord.
Describing some of the bullying Destiny had to endure, her mother said:
‘At one point they took some photo of some random person’s private parts and put Destiny’s name across it and spread it around the school. Anything they could possibly do to hurt her and bring her down.’
Destiny responded to the students who were bullying her in an online video, saying:
‘The words you call me are just words. That’s not who I really am. That’s not what I’ll ever be.’
But as Destiny’s mother points out, words sometimes do really count:
‘Words matter. That old saying, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me – well, they will and we lost our daughter because of words.’
Superintendent Dr. James Chandler could not comment on Destiny’s case because of student privacy concerns but said the school district takes bullying very seriously and has an anonymous hotline for students to report it.
While Destiny’s suicide is without a doubt tragic, it’s unfortunately not all that isolated. According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and accounts for 4,600 deaths each year. This Yale study found victims of bullying are 2 to 9 times more likely to commit suicide and girls 10-14 years old are at a much higher risk than the rest of the population. The thing is, even when relentless bullying is reported, it can still take its toll, as Destiny’s case makes all too clear.
Destiny’s parents have set up a GoFundMe account for help with funeral expenses. Watch the Fox 59 report below.
Featured Image via YouTube screengrab.