MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Family friends and classmates are pushing for change and accountability after their loved ones’ suicide.
Alexcia Smith, 14, was found dead from an apparent suicide Tuesday.
Relatives and supporters demonstrated outside Riverview Middle School on Thursday, claiming she was bullied repeatedly at the school. They also expressed their belief that the school didn’t do enough or handle the alleged attacks appropriately.
Shelby County School said they received no reports of bullying involving Smith.
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Memphis Police are investigating on their own, trying to figure out what drove the 14-year-old to end her life.
They demonstrated for hours outside Riverview Middle School, where 14-year-old Alexcia Smith, should have been on Thursday afternoon.
“She was the life of the party,” said Latanya Reed, Smith’s mother.
On Tuesday MPD investigators said Smith died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
“I am out here for justice for Alexcia. Because the bullying has pushed my daughter to literally take herself out,” said Tristan Williams, Smith’s father.
Fellow student LaQuincy Brown told me he witnessed the bullying.
“She would walk down the hallway and they would smack her in the back of her head. Talk about her shoes, talk about her clothes. She don't do nothing, she stays to herself,” said Brown.
In a statement, an SCS spokesperson said:
“The school does not have any reported incidents and staff members were not notified of any issues. We take all reports of bullying very seriously, and any time a family or student makes a claim, it is thoroughly investigated. Families are notified and brought in to help resolve any reported issues. We encourage anyone who suspects bullying to please report it immediately.”
“The school knew about the bullying. I talk to the school two or three times a week,” her mother said. “I reported it. The man they kept sending me to was bullying my child as well. He told my baby she wasn't going to amount to anything. He told my baby that she was a demon child.”
Student LaQuincy Brown claims he also heard the bullying reported.
“She reported it and he told her, ‘You must be doing something to them in order for them to be doing something to you,’” said Brown. “She reported it in the cafeteria during lunch time.”
MPD Detectives were investigating at the school while we were there.
“They want to know why,” said Reed.
The family believes they know why, but no answers from MPD will bring their Alexcia back.
They just hope other parents can learn from their tragedy.
“I just want everyone to be aware of bullying. Bullying is a real crime. Talk to your children about bullying,” said Reed.
According to the Memphis Crisis Center, suicide calls in our area increased 57% last year.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you can always get help.
Call the 24-hour Memphis Crisis Center hotline at 901-247-7477, or the national line 1-800-273-8255.
You can also text HOME to 741741
To view the full SCS policy on bullying, click here.
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