Friends: Online Bullying Led To Student's Suicide
Jessica Marie Laney died Sunday, and now her friends are asking why anonymous social media sites remain online.
Fivay High School student Jessica Marie Laney, 16, committed suicide Sunday night, according to authorities.
She was found at her home in Hudson. Pasco Sheriff’s Office spokesman Doug Tobin said authorities took her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 11:26 p.m.
Her friends have said she was bullied online.
Tobin says the agency isn’t aware of any formal complaints about bullying. The school district isn’t either, but officials say they are doing a thorough review. The sheriff’s office is classifying the death as a suicide, but it is continuing to investigate it. Deputies are talking to family and close friends and reviewing social media sites on which Jessica had a presence.
Tobin says it’s important for parents to be aware of what their children, even older children like Jessica, are doing online.
“Who knows who they’re talking to and what damage can be done?” he said.
Jessica had an account on Ask.fm, a social media website that allows for anonymous commenting. Users of Ask.fm set up profiles on the site, and other users can ask questions or leave comments.
Some of the comments on Jessica’s Ask.fm account (jessicamarieee1) are mundane or positive. Some are upsetting.
“Die,” reads one anonymous comment left six days ago.
“Maybe later I'm to busy focusing on my future," is her response.
“Can you just kill youself already,” reads an anonymous comment left five days ago.
“Why.." is Jessica’s response.
“Nobody even cares about you,” reads another anonymous comment left five days ago.
“Yes they do,” is her response.
In the wake of Jessica's death, a petition asking Ask.fm to have it taken down has arisen on Change.org.
P.J. Moccaldi, a freshman at Fivay, was friends with Jessica for years. He says comments "must have" played a role in her death. There's no reason for anonymous commenting, he said.
P.J. has created a Facebook page in memory of Jessica, RIP Jessica Laney Never Forgotten, where people can share thoughts about her. He said she was funny and outgoing.
"She taught me the right way to kick a soccer ball," he said.
P.J urges people on the Facebook page to sign the petition to stop Ask.fm.
In another post on the page, he writes:
Remember what you say to people you never know the outcome countless lives have been takin from bullys
Jessica had threatened hurting herself before, according to authorities. She threatened to hang herself on July 26, 2011, if she was not allowed to leave her home. She was taken into custody under the Baker Act.
Brittany Hasemeier, Jessica's friend since seventh grade, said she spoke to Jessica the night of her death.
"She was happy. She was fine," she said. "She seemed completely normal."
Brittany "bawled her eyes out" after learning of Jessica's death Monday.
Jessica played soccer, her friends said. She rode horses. She had friends over to her house. She attended Hudson Middle, then Hudson High and then Fivay.
Kylee Hullstrung, who also knew Jessica, said she "was a great friend." She said Ask.fm "should be taken down."
Do you monitor your children when they're online?