Kids can be cruel. In the case of Hope Witsell, a 13-year-old girl attending middle school in Florida, her classmates’ cruelty led to her suicide last year.
It all began when Witsell “sexted” her then boyfriend. The revealing photo was circulated and classmates began to taunt her. According to CNN, they even set up a Facebook “Hope Hater Page.”
Things become unbearable for Hope, who feared for her safety.
Kyla Stich, Witsell’s friend, told CNN that fellow students would “walk up to her and call her ‘slut,’ ‘whore,’ and they would sometimes, they would call her ‘skank’ and just be really cruel to her.”
Determined to prevent other parents’ from experiencing the loss of a child due to bullying, Hope’s mother, Donna Witsell, started Hope’s Warriors, a group that will work to combat bullying.
“It happened to my daughter, it can happen to yours too. No one is untouchable. No one is untouchable,” Donna Witsell told CNN.
As my Famecrawler colleague Emma Brady writes, “Parents can help stop schoolyard bullying by taking a proactive roll in their kids lives both online and offline.”
But sadly, that’s not enough. We need to educate our kids about the dangers of bullying in person and online.
All week at 10 pm ET, CNN’s “AC360°” is airing a special report on the dangers of bullying and what we can do to stop it.