Bullying suspected in 10-year-old North Carolina girl’s suicide

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(NNPA)—Police are investigating the role of bullying in what they are calling the suicide of a 10-year-old girl from Chadbourn, N.C., who they say hanged herself.

According to North Carolina’s NBC affiliate WECT, Jasmine McClain’s body was discovered by her mother, Samantha West, in the family home Nov. 14.

jasmine-mcclain
JASMINE McCLAIN

West explained that other parents have said that her daughter was ridiculed for not wearing the latest fashion trends. Authorities are investigating the alleged assertions.

“She had anything she wanted,” West told WECT. “She may not have [had] the best in the world, but she had what she wanted and what she needed.”

Jasmine was repeatedly picked on at Chadbourn Elementary School, West said, noting that other children teased her about her clothes or her shoes. She left the school for a while and dreaded having to return about a month ago, her mother said.

Police Chief Steven Shaw also told North Carolina’s CBS affiliate WRAL that he discovered Facebook posts from students who said McClain had been routinely bullied in school.

“Children started coming forward and making accusations that she was bullied—and bullied bad—in school,” Shaw said.

“There have been a lot of issues that we’ve discovered in different places,” Shaw told the station. “I don’t think there’s going to be one contributing factor. There’s going to be several.”

Chadbourn Elementary School Principal Deanna Shuman explained that the school is working with authorities and conducting its own investigation. The school’s superintendent also said that staffers are trained to spot bullying and are urged to alert authorities if telltale signs of bullying surface among students.

Meanwhile, West remains stunned and said that she “doesn’t understand.”

“I’m just lost,” she told WECT. “I just don’t understand how kids can be that mean and hateful.”

“It’s a shame that kids are that cruel. It really is,” West said, noting that she never knew how badly Jasmine had been tormented.

McClain’s grandmother, who also lived with her, said the girl didn’t show any signs of depression and was in her typical playful mood prior to her death. Still, she insists that her granddaughter was a victim of bullying.

North Carolina introduced two anti-bullying laws two years ago. The first makes online bullying a misdemeanor offense, while the other forces local schools to enact anti-bullying policies without revealing the specific punishment for offenders.

Authorities said it’s too early to determine whether anyone will be charged.

(Special to the NNPA from the Afro American)

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