Texas student dies by suicide after enduring relentless bullying
A Texas high school student shot herself in front of family on Tuesday, and the family says it was relentless bullying that led her to it.
Eighteen-year-old Brandy Vela was a senior at Texas City High School in Houston. Her sister Jackie told Fox 12 she knew something was wrong when she got a text from Brandy on Tuesday that read, “I love you so much, please remember that, and I’m sorry for everything.” Worried, she called her grandparents and parents. They all rushed home to check on her and found her in her bedroom with a gun pointed at her chest.
The family pleaded with her not to pull the trigger, but she did.
Jackie says her sister was relentlessly bullied about her weight. “They would say really, really mean things like, ‘Why are you still here?’ They would call her fat and ugly. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful; the only thing people could find to pick on her was her weight.” She says the bullying ramped up last year, forcing Jackie to change her phone number. She even reported cyberbullying to police, but her family insists they were told they couldn’t do anything “until something happened.”
A spokesperson for the school district, Melissa Tortorici, says the community is “devastated.” Regarding the bullying, she said, “It’s extremely difficult to stop someone from sending messages when apps make it easy to remain anonymous.”
High school students are decorating the halls with blue hearts to commemorate Vela’s “beautiful blue eyes.” Those eyes, along with other organs, were donated after her death.
This is what happens when bullying isn’t taken as the serious threat that it is and when guns are accessible to suffering individuals. We’re failing teens in every way by allowing this kind of behavior to go unchecked.
Twenty-five percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone. Fifty-two per cent of young people report being cyber bullied. Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying.
If there has been a crime or someone is at immediate risk, call 911.
If someone is feeling hopeless, helpless, thinking of suicide contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).