Destiny Gleason, a student at Black Hawk Middle School in Warrenton, Missouri, hung herself from an extension chord in her bedroom after enduring months of bullying from her classmates.
A group of about six female students allegedly plagued the 14-year-old, who started at the school as a new student in the fall.
“At one point they took some photo of some random person’s private parts and put Destiny’s name across it and spread it around the school,” mother Stephanie Clark told Fox59. “Anything they could possibly do to hurt her and bring her down.”
Shortly after the incident, Destiny posted a now-removed video to Facebook, addressing said her tormentors, where she said: “The words you call me are just words. That's not who I really am. That's not what I'll ever be.”
A day before her suicide, Destiny got into a fight with her bullies that ended with cops taking her away in handcuffs and charging her with assault. The teen was set to start intensive behavioral therapy, but something she saw on social media that night drove to take her own life.
“Words matter,” the grieving mother added. “That old saying, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ — well, they will and we lost our daughter because of words.”
It appears the administration at Black Hawk Middle School knew about the harassment, but did nothing to stop it.
“We tried to be there for her as much as possible and do everything that we possibly could,” said stepfather Kurtis Clark. “It would have been nice if somebody else would have too, instead of just saying we are going to talk to them, or we had a talk with them and telling them not to talk to each other.”
A lot of people are saying things like : "How can you get bullied, just log off, close your eyes , walk away." And "If you get bullied you're weak and the internet is not for you." I hate hearing stuff like this. Destiny was being bullied on social media AND in person. You cant just "log off" from bullying, because you never know where a person's head is at. You never know their state of mind, and how they're affected by what you may say. #WORDSHURT #WORDSMATTERTOO #ripdestiny #destinygleason #stopbullying #rip
Meanwhile, a family friend set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the teen’s funeral expenses.
“There of coarse (sic) were a group of girls that were jealous of her and instead of being accepting how blessed they were to know someone like her their hatred and jealously caused them to shun her and do everything they could to make her life unbearable,” the page reads. “I know firsthand how ruthless they were I witnessed her tears due to her bullies.”
All of Destiny’s organs, including her heart, have been donated to those in need across the state. Her parents hope her death will bring awareness about bullying in schools and save other teens from a similar fate.
When a person resorts to bullying someone, it’s their own personal insecurities and shortcomings they are trying to compensate for. Killing yourself over the words of someone who needs to belittle others in order to feel in control is not the answer.
With any luck, the authorities will identify and punish the girls responsible for Destiny’s death, because letting them go unaffected might end in another tragic incident.