Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Bullied to death’s door - Teenager attempts suicide to escape peer abuse at popular Corporate Area girls' school

Published:Sunday | September 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris

She knew her 13-year-old daughter was being bullied at school and had met with administrators begging them to intervene, but she never expected that it would lead to her watching helplessly as 57 pills were pumped from the stomach of her only child, who had decided that death was the only way to escape a gang of girls who preyed on her.

Kimone* told The Sunday Gleaner that she thought things would have been better for her daughter after speaking to her teachers, guidance counsellor and even the principal of the prominent Corporate Area all-girls school her daughter attended.

"My child kept feeling more insecure as the days went by, and she expressed this in the mornings, especially when she was getting ready for school.

"She started to show signs of depression, she started talking about not wanting to go to school because she was afraid that she was going to be teased for whatever reason," said Kimone, whose daughter was taunted because of a medical condition.

"At one point, she was approached at the lunch room, it was about three of them, and one of them went to her and said something loud to her in front of everyone at the lunch room, and that just brought her down again," said Kimone.

She told our news team that in February, her daughter asked her a rather worrying question. The teenager wanted to know what would be the worst thing that could happen to someone who swallowed a good amount of pills.

"I thought she was communicating or corresponding with one of her friends on the phone and they were suicidal or made an attempt and shared it with her privately," said Kimone.

But then her daughter started crying, and at that point, Kimone went to check the teenager's room. At first, she thought her daughter might have dumped her bottle of probiotics in the toilet in a bid to get her attention, but not wanting to take any chances, Kimone decided to seek medical help.

"I was a bit confused. I was like, I don't think my kid will ever do that, but then I said you know what, don't assume, just get to it right away, so I immediately rushed her to the hospital," said the single mother.

Her worst fears were realised when the doctors confirmed that her daughter had indeed swallowed the pills and she would need to have her stomach pumped.

"It was very painful because she was crying a lot. I didn't even know what to do with myself; I was just like bawling. I was confused, I was hurt, and there was just so much happening at the time. I was very mad about what was happening at the school with the girls," said Kimone.

She has since transferred her daughter to another school, but the mother is warning parents to not take bullying lightly as it can have dire consequences.

"My daughter went to death's door. I could have lost my child because some little kid decided that they just want to be mean. That is really unfortunate, and I really wouldn't want anybody's child to die like that," said Kimone.

She added: "Every day that you pick up your child from school or that child comes home to you, or is dropped-off or whatever, ask how their day went. It is very important to ask your child, how was your day at school? Did you meet any new friends? Did you meet anybody who was mean to you today?" she advised.

*Name changed on request

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com