AURORA, Colo. – The parents of an Aurora elementary school student say their daughter took her own life after she was bullied online and at school.
Ten-year-old Ashawnty Davis died Wednesday morning.
The Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office confirms investigators are investigating the Sunrise Elementary School student’s death as a suicide.
“This is a tragic and heartbreaking loss for the school community. We have mental health supports at the school today for any students who need help processing the loss,” the Cherry Creek School District said in a statement.
The district said it takes bullying issues very seriously and has worked over the last 15 years with a curriculum called “Bullyproofing Your Schools.”
“Suicide rates have doubled over the past 10 years and bullying is now really at crisis levels,” Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, child therapist, said.
Ziegler has no direct knowledge of this case, but said in general bullying and especially cyber-bullying can create serious problems for kids especially at 10 years old.
“What we’re seeing is that this has a tremendous effect on the fragile, growing brain of a child,” Ziegler said. “It’s very difficult for that child to handle that level of input.”
Ziegler said it can be difficult for parents to detect suicidal tendencies in kids as young as 10 years old, but they should look for changes in their behavioral patterns and talk to them about it.
“You’re not really eating well. You don’t seem to be sleeping well. You’re having stomach aches every day,” Ziegler said.”You’re telling me you have a headache and can’t go to school. I’m gonna actually listen to your behavior or your body more than your words.”
She adds that parents should be aware of their kids’ social media accounts and passwords to keep track of what they are doing and seeing online.
“They have to have that feeling of I’m not alone in this cyber world. My parents and people that I really know that I really talk to on an everyday basis are watching my posts,” Ziegler said.
The Arapahoe County Coroner expects the investigation to be completed within the next two months.
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