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Last updated on Thursday, May 10, 2012
(BLOOMINGTON) - Bloomington High School North officials are investigating the possibility that the suicide of a 15-year-old student was in response to bullying.
Tori Swoape, a sophomore at North, died Tuesday evening at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis as the result of an attempt to asphyxiate herself Monday night.
North's principal Jeff Henderson said in a letter to parents on Wednesday: "It is with a heavy heart that I report to you that Tori Swoape, a sophomore at North, passed away last evening a little after 5 p.m. as a result of suicide. Tori was a well-liked sophomore with a great smile and a warm personality. She will be sadly missed."
Henderson said he became aware of the bullying allegations surrounding her death through social media websites such as Facebook and YouTube.
"Rumors circulating around this situation are that it was a response to bullying," Henderson wrote. "While no reports were ever made to any staff members that this was the case, I would like to reiterate that this is your school, and that it is only as good as you make it. We all have a responsibility to each other as a part of this community. Please take care of each other and support one another as we all struggle with this loss."
"I want to be clear that I'm not saying that it didn't happen," Henderson said. "I'm saying we had no knowledge of that being the case."
As of Wednesday morning, Henderson had not spoken with the student's mother.
"Our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to her mother and little sister," Henderson said.
According to Bloomington police reports, officers were called to an apartment in the 500 block of South Basswood Drive about 8 p.m. Monday, after Swoape's mother discovered her daughter had attempted to commit suicide in her bedroom.
Swoape was transported to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in critical condition. She died at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday at the Indianapolis hospital.
Monday evening, police interviewed Lana Swoape, who said her daughter "has just been depressed for some time." Lana Swoape told police she felt the depression was over a breakup with her boyfriend, according to an initial police report.
Bloomington Police Sgt. John Kovach says Tori did not mention suicide to her mother, or family and police received no indication from the family that she was being bullied.
However, while at Riley Hospital Lana Swoape told detectives several of her daughter's friends say Tori was bullied. According to Kovach, those friends have not reported the bullying to police.
At the school, guidance counselors and social workers are available to students and staff.
"I want to make sure that all students are aware of the fact that we have extra social workers as well as our guidance counselors and administrators on hand, ready to speak with students and teachers as you cope with this loss," Henderson wrote in his letter. "Any loss of life is difficult to understand, but suicide can be especially difficult. I want to express to all of you that these support services and resources are available, at all times, to help anyone who may be struggling with issues in their life and need a
place where they can seek support, assistance and understanding."
The letter also listed the number for a suicide prevention hotline and other resources parents could use to discuss the issue with their child.
According to Henderson's letter, funeral arrangements for Tori Swoape are pending in Muncie.
At least four Facebook pages have been created in memory of Tori Swoape. One called "Stop Bullying! Inspired by Tori Swoape" had amassed more than 1,800 followers by Wednesday evening. Another, called "In Loving memory Of Tori Swoape," had more than 1,700 members.
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