Parents say bullying epidemic is causing kids to take own lives - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Parents say bullying epidemic is causing kids to take own lives

(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)

Some Middle Tennessee parents say they're dealing with a bullying epidemic, and it's leading kids to take their own lives.

Parents say within the last year, two Lebanon High School students committed suicide, while others have tried.

Facebook has been flooded with posts, in memory of the latest Lebanon High student parents say committed suicide.

“It’s devastating. We are talking about kids they went to school with their whole lives. We live in a small town,” said parent Alicia Hindelang.

Hindelang said her own daughter has fought her own battles with depression.

 “I had to go to the hospital because everything got really hard,” said Christian McGill.

McGill said bullying is happening during and after school.

The cyber-world is circulating hate. Parents want the school to step up.

“I don't think any of us want to fight the school. We want the school to fight for the kids,” Hindelang said.

Wilson County Schools spokesperson Jennifer Johnson sent us this statement:

What we're hoping to do is open up a two way dialogue with the community about how we can work together to combat online bullying. The problem is becoming more and more pervasive, not just at Lebanon High School, but all across the country. Unfortunately, school administrators don't always know about these situations, and even when they do, there are certain limitations on what the school system can and can't do. Legally, parents have far more power than they may realize, and some of these laws are so new, parents may not even be aware of them. These are just some of the discussions that need to happen, and we felt like a community meeting would be the best setting for that.

Obviously, the school system has a role to play in this solution. If there are things we can be doing better, then we need to figure out what those things are. At the same time, it would be short-sighted to think that we can make a few policy changes and systematically end cyber-bullying. If it were that simple, you wouldn't be seeing it happen over and over and over again, all over the country.

“The most sad part for me is it is preventable but nobody wants to talk about it, because it's so taboo in our society so it is kind of hidden,” McGill said.

On Saturday, McGill and her mother will go to a funeral for a young teen. They hope it's the last.

“All of these people are going through it and they feel so alone because of these feelings they are having, but so many other people are going through them too, and they wouldn't feel so alone if people were not afraid to talk about it,” McGill said.

A community prayer service will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. at Don Fox Park in Lebanon.

Parents and students are starting a support group that will meet for the first time Tuesday, Oct. 10. It will also be held at Don Fox Park in Lebanon at 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Wilson County Schools will hold a community meeting on Oct. 18.

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