Parents say 10-year-old daughter killed herself because of bullying
(CNN) – The parents of a Colorado fifth-grader who killed herself blame it on bullying, and they say her school could have done more to intervene.
Ashawnty Davis, 10, died Wednesday November 29th, 2017 after being taken off life support at a children’s hospital, two weeks after she was found hanging in a closet at home.
Her parents said Ashawnty was bullied after a video of a fight she was in at her school in Aurora in October was posted on an app. Ashawnty confronted a girl who had already been bullying her, her mother said, and the fight was recorded on a cellphone and posted to an app called Musical.ly.
“She was devastated when she found out that it had made it to Musical.ly,” Latoshia Harris, Ashawnty’s mother, told CNN affiliate KDVR. “My daughter came home two weeks later and hanged herself in the closet.”
The Davis-Harris family has not returned CNN’s requests for comment.
A spokesperson for Musical.ly told CNN the company learned of Ashawnty’s death “through news reports.”
“We are absolutely heartbroken to hear about this. Our hearts are with the Davis family in this unimaginably painful time,” the company statement said.
Parents wanted school to do more
If her parents are correct, Ashawnty is the latest victim of “bullycide,” which is bullying that leads to suicide. It’s happened in a number of cases involving teens over the past couple of years.
Ashawnty’s parents say the Cherry Creek School District should have done more to stop the bullying that led to her death.
Abbe Smith, director of communications for the Cherry Creek School District, told CNN that the students were talked to about the fight, parents were called and the cellphone video was sent to the Aurora Police Department.
But Ashawnty’s parents say that was inadequate.
“There was nothing done about it. When I got the call telling me that my daughter had been in a fight, they never gave me the opportunity to meet with the other parents to come to the bottom of the line,” Harris said.
If they had been able to have that meeting, her parents say, Ashawnty might still be alive today.
Smith said the school didn’t know about any bullying.
“The school did not receive any complaints from students or parents that the student was being bullied,” Smith said. “We do not tolerate bullying of any kind in our schools and we have a comprehensive bullying prevention program in place at all of our schools for grades K-12. The safety and well-being of students is our highest priority and we strive every (day) to ensure schools are safe, welcoming and supportive places that support learning.”
Smith also stressed that the fight, while taking place on a school field, did not happen during school hours.
The district described Ashawnty’s death as “heartbreaking.” Smith said counseling was being provided to students who needed it.
“We are very much focused on supporting the students and school community as they navigate this heartbreaking situation,” Smith said. “This is a tragic loss that has shaken the whole school community. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family and everyone who knew the student.”
Ashawnty’s mother said she wants to hold school administrators accountable for the bullying that goes on inside their schools.
“With the last breath in my life I’m going to make sure that the unfortunate kids are able to go to school comfortably and learn,” Davis said.
The effects of teen bullying
The National Institutes of Health estimates that 10 percent of U.S. children and teens are victims of frequent bullying by peers. Adolescents who are bullied are at risk for developing a variety of psychological symptoms including depression and anxiety that last well into adulthood, according to the NIH.
A 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey of LGBTQ students found that 10 percent were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, 34 percent were bullied on school property, and 28 percent were bullied electronically.
V Cares™ – The V stands for the Victims and the Volunteers of teen suicide and teen bullying. The tragedy of a young person dying because of overwhelming hopelessness or frustration is devastating to family, friends, and community. Parents, siblings, classmates, coaches, and neighbors might be left wondering if they could have done something to prevent that young person from turning to suicide.
The reasons behind a teen’s suicide or attempted suicide can be complex. Although suicide is relatively rare among children, the rate of suicides and suicide attempts increases greatly during adolescence.
Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after accidents and homicide. It’s also thought that at least 25 attempts are made for every completed teen suicide.
List of teen suicides attributed to bullying
|Kelly Yeomans (1984–1997), age 13||Dawn-Marie Wesley (1986–2000), age 14||Nicola Ann Raphael (1985–2001), age 15|
|Ryan Halligan (1989–2003), age 13||Megan Meier (1992–2006), age 13||Sladjana Vidovic (1992–2008), age 16|
|Ty Smalley (1998-2010), age 11||Phoebe Prince (1994–2010), age 15||Tyler Clementi (1991–2010), age 18|
|Jamie Hubley (1996–2011), age 15||Jamey Rodemeyer (1997–2011), age 14||Audrie Pott (1997–2012), age 15|
|Amanda Todd (1996–2012), age 15||Kenneth Weishuhn (1997–2012), age 14||Jadin Bell (1997–2013), age 15|
|Rehtaeh Parsons (1995–2013), age 17||Katelyn Davis (2004–2016), age 12||Tyler Long (1992–2009), age 17,|
V Cares™ wants to be recognized as one of the most influential anti-bullying/teen suicide organization in America and beyond.
V Cares™ is dedicated to preventing suicide and attempts by making suicide prevention accessible to everyone and removing barriers to help by empowering individuals and communities through leadership, awareness and education; and by collaborating and partnering with the school systems and support networks to reduce stigma and help save lives.
V Cares™ will focus on reducing and preventing bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other digital abuse, educating against homophobia, racism and hatred, decreasing school absenteeism, and deterring violence in schools, online and in communities across the country.
V Cares™ will teach effective solutions on how to respond to all forms of bullying; as well as educating kids and teens in school and online, providing help for those in need and at risk of suicide, raising awareness, peer mentoring programs in schools, public service announcements by noted celebrities, and social media campaigns.
V Cares™ will also provide additional focus on educating parents on how to keep their children safe and responsible online.