Parents say bullying led US teen to hang herself

Los Angeles, California — A 13-year-old girl who was the target of taunts and insults for years at her California school has died after she hanged herself, leaving a message describing herself as “ugly” and a “loser”.

Rosalie Avila hanged herself in her room on Nov. 28 and was rushed to hospital, where she was declared brain dead a day later. The teen was kept on life support until Monday so her organs could be donated, local media reported.

“My daughter is a victim of bullying,” Rosalie’s mother Charlene Avila wrote on the GoFundMe crowdfunding site, in which she sought money for funeral and medical expenses.

“She was a beautiful person inside and out. She was a great artist, very lovable (and) loving.”

Avila, who was a student at a public middle school in the town of Calimesa — some 114 km east of Los Angeles — left a farewell note for her parents.

“Sorry, Mom and Dad. I love you,” the message read, her father Freddie Avila told CBS News.

“And it said, ‘Sorry, Mom, you’re gonna find me like this’,” the grieving father said.

The Avilas said their daughter, who dreamt of being a lawyer, was bullied at school and on social media. On the day before she hanged herself, bullies had made fun of her braces.

“Rose just kept this to herself,” Freddie Avila told NBC News. “On the inside, it was just tearing her to pieces that they were always making fun of her.”

According to the New York Post, the parents received a meme via social media taunting them over their daughter’s death.

Some 5,900 youths between the ages of 10 and 24 committed suicide in the United States in 2015, according to government figures.

The Yucaipa-Calimesa school district issued a statement mourning Rosalie’s death. Candlelight vigils were held at the victim’s school in her memory.

An investigation is under way into the allegations of bullying at the school, the statement read.

It added that the district is “committed to maintaining a positive, inclusive school culture that enables our students to grow academically and socially.”

According to the government-run “Stop Bullying” website, 28 percent of middle and high school students in the United States are victims of bullying, and nine percent are victims of cyber bullying.

In September, a 15-year-old killed a schoolmate and injured three others at a high school in Washington state, in a case also related to bullying. — AFP