To protect the identity of the 7th grade girl, we'll simply call her Julie. Her Mother and older sister were there for support as she told us how the bullying escalated at Woodlan Middle School. In the fall, a 7th grade boy began calling her names and pushed her into a locker, things got worse in January.
"he called me a fat 'B'. He would push me into my locker or like knock my books out of my hand", said Julie.
She describes how the same boy got a lunch table to "moo" at another girl, she eventually changed schools. Julie would cry in the bathroom, but thought she could handle it. Her Mom only found out when she found a suicide note, describing the pain her daughter was going through.
"it wasn't their fault, it was his. I would just put on a smile, you know, because I didn't want my Mom to feel bad. I feel that other kids should know that it's no ok, what you say can actually really hurt someone."
While East Allen Community Schools has a "zero tolerance" for bullying, Julie's family was frustrated by the slow process after they went to school officials. They say the boy wasn't even brought into the office until several days after this complaint was filed.
East Allen Officials declined an on camera interview, but said the zero tolerance plan clearly spelled out on its website was followed. They also feel those efforts helped resolve the issue.
Julie says despite giving the school four witnesses to the incidents she was made to feel like she did something wrong.
Ryan Elijah "it was suggested that you be suspended, were you stunned by that? Julie- very, because I supposedly retaliated against him by calling him a name in front of one of my friends. It was not zero tolerance at all, they kept trying to turn it around on my, like what have I done."
Last week, two weeks after finding out about the problem, East Allen was alerted that myself and a News-Sentinel reporter were contacted. Multiple sources told us he was gone from school for a few days - though officials couldn't confirm if any discipline was handed down.
Julie told us she feels much stronger as a person now and is happy she has the support of her family,
These numbers are alarming: According to a CDC study bully victims are 8 times more likely to consider suicide and 10-14 year old girls are the most vulnerable. ABC News found 30 percent of all students are bullies or bully victims.
To be clear, we receive countless requests to look into bullying stories - from various school districts. Listening to her tearful story and her thoughts of suicide is nothing short of heartbreaking. While her family wants to put this painful experience behind them, they came forward because they feel the procedures in place aren't enough. Hopefully her bravery will help other students - and parents - parents that might not be fortunate enough to fine a note describing what their daughter or son couldn't bear to tell them
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