Two Colorado parents are grieving the unthinkable loss of their 10-year-old daughter after she took her own life following allegations of severe bullying.
Ashawnty Davis, a promising fifth-grader at the Sunrise Elementary School part of the Cherry Creek School District in Aurora, Colorado, died Wednesday after doctors removed her from life support at a children’s hospital, KDVR reported. She reportedly hanged herself in a closet at home after a video of a fight involving her was posted to an app in October that left her under the thumb of merciless bullies.
Ashawnty reportedly only confronted another female student accused of bullying her in the cellphone video posted to the app Musical.ly, the report said.
“I saw my daughter was scared,” Latoshia Harris, Ashawnty’s mother, told to KDVR about her daughter being a victim of “bullycide.”
Ashawnty was vibrant, full of life and had a passion for basketball, the parents said. Things took a turn for the worse when she started facing bullies when the fight was caught on video.
“She was devastated when she found out that it had made it to Musical.ly,” Latoshia Harris, Ashawnty’s mother, said to KDVR. “My daughter came home two weeks later and hanged herself in the closet.”
The Davis family’s loss sheds light on harrowing statistics about bullying. More than one out of every five , or 20.8 percent, students report being bullied, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.
An overwhelming amount of kids who are bullied don’t report it, according to many educators. Most bullied children are at a higher risk of anxiety, depression and other negative outcomes. Particularly, race-related bullying is “significantly associated with negative emotional and physical health effects,” according to work published in the Journal of Health Psychology.
The facts make it clear that children, like Davis, do not find safe spaces at schools away from torment. Her parents are now left to cling to only memories of their daughter.
“She was just a child of joy and she brought joy to everyone,” Anthony Davis, Ashawnty’s father, said.
The Cherry Creek School District issued a statement about the tragedy: “We were made aware of that video when a media outlet approached us with it. We took immediate action in response, turning the video over to police and addressing the matter with students. It should also be noted that the video did not take place during school hours.”
The school also said there’s a zero-tolerance policy for bullying. However, the Davis’ family, like most families of bullied children, don’t believe that the school has done enough to stop bullies.
It’s clear that several schools across the nation must go back to the drawing board to prevent harassment with better measures to prevent tragic deaths like Awshawnty’s. There are no shortcuts in making schools safe for children of all races and backgrounds who deserve to be protected.