Brought to you by WBIW News and Network Indiana
Last updated on Friday, May 11, 2012
(BLOOMINGTON) - The mother of a teenage girl who committed suicide believes her daughter was bullied at school.
15-year-old Tori Swoape was found dead in her Bloomington home Monday. Her mother, Lana Swoape, say she hung herself with a scarf.
"I never thought she could do this. I never thought she would," said Swoape as tears dripped down her face.
Her mother says Tori was the new girl at Bloomington North this school year and that title made her the target of teenage bullying.
"There was name calling. There was rumors. A lot of what Tori went through was all just rumors," she explained. "This hurt her deeply. They didn't know her but, did this to her."
Lana tried to intervene, but Tori begged her not to, promising she would handle it.
"I thought everything was Ok, that Tori had handled things and that things were better," Swoape say. "She seemed happy.....Then I had a feeling something was wrong and went to check on her. Before I opened that door I knew...I could feel it."
Tori's last Facebook post confirms students were bullying.
'IM NOT TALKING TO NO ONE. so go ahead and spread that RUMOR around! Keep my name out of your mouth. LEAVE MY BUSINESS TO ME!'
Bloomington High School North Principal Jeffrey Henderson says the school has not been able to substantiate "a single instance of bullying from an eye witness." and the school has not found any evidence of bullying prior to Swoape's death on any social media outlets they have reviewed.
"Every statement about bullying that we have been able to follow up on has been second-hand information and rumor, or it has been a disparaging remark made about her after her death in some online social media format," Henderson wrote in an email. "All of the posts on Facebook and twitter alleging that bullying occurred all have been made after her death. We have not found any evidence of bullying prior to her death."
Henderson is not saying that bullying did not occur, just that school officials have not been able to find any evidence of it yet.
Bloomington police Detective Randy Gehlhausen has been assigned to the case and continues to be in contact with officials at the school.
But Lana says if the students knew, then the staff should have realized it too.
"People think 'oh it's just words, they can't hurt.' But to these kids, they do," Swoape says. "They hurt more than you know."
She hopes students at Bloomington North will choose not to gang up on other students as a result of Tori's death.
Swoape plans to meet with school officials once Tori's is laid to rest.
A walk will be held to raise funds for funeral expenses at Heekin Park in Muncie on tonight at 5 p.m. An account has been set up at Chase bank under Lana Swoape's name.
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