Alyssa Morgan was just 12 years old when she committed suicide in her home in Pleasant Hill, Iowa on April 3rd. Her mom, Nicole, is speaking out against the middle school that she says, didn’t protect her daughter when she was bullied for being bisexual. She contacted her local TV station, KCCI, because she feels Alyssa’s story needs to be told.
Nicole says that at home, her daughter was a typical 12-year-old who loved to draw, play video games, and put on makeup. But when she went to school, she was teased mercilessly and made to feel “worthless.” She would come home from school crying, and even started to self-harm by cutting herself.
When Alyssa came out as bisexual to her family, they supported her, saying, “We love you no matter what,” Nicole told the Des Moines Register. But at school, kids called her names and told her she was “disgusting.” When Nicole complained to the school, she alleges that their attitude was that students need to “toughen up,” she says.
Nicole claims the school, Southeast Polk Junior High, knew what was happening, but did nothing to protect her daughter from bullies. Just two years ago, 16-year-old gay student A.J. Betts committed suicide. His mom feels like the school is trying to “cover up their lack of responsibility.”
On April 30, Southeast Polk Community School District Associate Principal Nathan Ballagh emailed a statement to KCCI, saying: “Over the last four years our students and staff have stepped up our bullying prevention efforts. A lot of our efforts are led by our students who provide us (school officials) insight to what bullying looks like in our school and community and what we can do to help prevent bullying. Our students have really been the driving force and have taken ownership in preventing bullying in our schools.”
According to KCCI, this is actually the 15th suicide at that school in just 12 years. It seems like the school still has a lot of “stepping up” to do, and needs to rethink the way they handle bullying, especially with LBGTQ kids who may be too ashamed to seek help.
Courtesy—Des Moines Register