SLED Investigating After 11-Year-Old Girl Commits Suicide Because of Bullying
HAMPTON COUNTY, SC (AMANDA LaBROT, WTOC-TV) — SLED is investigating the shooting death of an 11-year-old girl. Family members say the child committed suicide after being bullied at school.
Toni Rivers was a 6th grader and full of life. “She was so energetic,” said Brandy Rivers-Dixon, Toni’s aunt. “Never sat down, never.”
But her energy was taken from her families lives when she took her own last Wednesday.
Her family blames bullying at school for her death. “She told five of her little friends that she just couldn’t do this anymore, and she was going home and she was killing herself.”
A Hampton County Sheriff’s Office incident report said Toni’s 14-year-old sister called 911. Deputies found her lying on the ground, shot with a caliber rifle. Toni was airlifted to MUSC Health in Charleston but later died.
Now, Toni’s family says six other parents have contacted them saying their children has been bullied by the same student and agreed to be interviewed as part of SLED’s investigation.
“My baby’s gone, but everyone’s got confidence now, you know, they can stand up to her,” Amy Thomas, Toni’s mom.
That includes parent’s like Miranda Cook, whose daughter Kyra is also a 6th grader. “She (Kyra) actually got shoved into a bookcase and had her head hurt, and when she came home, she told me it was the same child that had been bullying her. But she said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry,’ as soon as she as she realized she was hurt.”
Cook said it has been an ongoing problem.
“It’s been a regular thing since last year,” she said. “It’s taken care of, and it won’t happen for awhile. Then, it’ll be a few weeks, and she’ll come home saying she’s bullied again.”
Hampton County School District 1 Superintendent Ronald Wilcox said the district’s legal team told him not to comment on the situation or the family’s allegations. Instead, he released a statement expressing the district’s condolences:
“It is with heavy hearts that the Hampton One family mourns the loss of one of our students. Our sympathy and prayers go out to the family and friends affected by this tragedy. Counselors have been made available and will continue to be available to offer any needed support. Student matters are confidential and we believe it would be inappropriate to comment further on this tragic incident.”
Toni’s family will host a candlelight vigil on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. to honor her memory and will raise awareness about bullying.
SLED does say they are investigating but won’t say if it is a death or criminal investigation.