LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) – The death of a Lebanon High School teenager prompted a meeting for parents by school leaders Tuesday night
The 15-year-old student died by suicide two weeks. A police investigation into her death is underway.
The teen’s father went to the meeting and wanted to address parents and students about the “devastating” and “brutal” rumors that are swirling on social media.
“This is my Facebook right here. Right in front of all of you,” Mike Johnson told the crowd. “If y’all [don’t have anything] to say to me face to face, stop posting things.”
Johnson asked if the crowd had any questions but only person did and it didn’t pertain directly to his daughter’s death. So he had a message for parents in the crowd.
“As beautiful and as gorgeous as my daughter’s eyes, I didn’t see it coming,” he said. “I had no idea. So as a parent, pay attention.”
He said he wasn’t sure if bullying was a factor in his daughter’s death.
He did say since her death people have said cruel things like, “she did it for attention” and “she deserved it.”
He asked students, and adults alike, to treat each other kindly online.
“That could solve a lot – just be nice,” Johnson said. “You don’t need an app or Facebook. Just be nice. That goes for us as adults too.”
School officials told News 2 they wanted to address the rumors and define what bullying actually is to empower parents and students to take action.
“I think what we want to do is open up a dialogue with the community,” explained Wilson County Schools spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson.
“I mean, bullying is not new, but cyberbullying is new. I venture to say there is probably not a high school in this country not dealing with this problem right now. So, because of all the attention it’s received on social media we thought it was important to speak to parents and be open about what is going on and hopefully give them some resources so they can take action, too,” she continued.
Besides school officials, the Wilson County juvenile court judge was in attendance of Tuesday night’s meeting, as well as the Wilson County sheriff.
They stress bullying is not a conflict between students, but a power imbalance that is meant to abuse the victim.
If a student or parent believes a student is being bullied, they’re asked to report it to police or a school official immediately.