Teen suicides raise concerns about bullying in local high school - WSMV News 4

Teen suicides raise concerns about bullying in local high school

Posted: Updated:
(WSMV) (WSMV)
LEBANON, TN (WSMV) -

Allie Johnson may never know how many lives she touched in her short 15 years.

Those she left behind are not only sharing memories of her, but hoping for change.

Jenna Manus said she didn't know Allie personally, but saw her between classes at Lebanon High School.

She said after learning Allie took her own life last week, she couldn't stay quiet about the bullying she sees every day around her.

"Obviously bullying isn’t a new thing, but now it’s a lot easier to bully someone on social media. It’s all the time. It’s all the time. It’s not just at school." Manus said.

Manus wrote an open letter to her classmates and friends asking everyone to put other people’s feeling first over jokes and teasing.

"When one of our classmates is hurting, it is all of our responsibility to help him or her. This is our school," she wrote in part of the letter.

Allie’s death is the second suicide at Lebanon High School in the last year. Another student died under suspicious circumstances at the beginning of the school year, according to the Lebanon Police.

The pain from all three tragedies runs deep and is hard to move past, Manus told News 4.

Travis Watkins was Allie's student pastor at the Generation Changers Church. He said he's known Allie for the last eight years.

"When we first met her she was a quiet, very introverted little girl. And she blossomed into this really awesome young lady that moved people’s hearts," Watkins said.

He says the youth ministry is planning a campaign called the Allie J Project using the hashtag "#LoveLikeAllie" so that other teens have a safe place to go to talk about their feelings, fears and frustrations.

"Allie came to a point where she felt like she ran out of options, and that breaks my heart," Watkins said. "It tears my heart apart. It breaks her parent’s hearts, and the friends that were closest to her. We want to make sure that never ever happens to anybody else ever again.”

Manus' open letter has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook. She said she never wanted attention for herself, but attention on the issue of bullying and hopelessness.

“Even if you weren’t close to the situation, it’s astounding that someone felt so void and so down in our student body that was their only outlet," Manus said. "I just feel like as a student body as a whole we’ve got to change that.”

Wilson County Schools' spokesperson said students are asked to read over anti-bullying polices at the beginning of each year. Wilson County administrators are aware of the impact of the recent student deaths. Social media, relationships and teasing have been a concern throughout the county.

The Wilson County School Board will hold a community meeting about bullying Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at Lebanon High School. 

Copyright 2017 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
WSMV
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.