A family from Hampton County, South Carolina is mourning the loss of their 11-year-old daughter, Toni Rivers. After facing months of being bullied at school, the sixth-grade child “couldn’t handle it anymore,” and as a result, she tragically took her own life.
According to KMOV, Rivers’ family often went shooting together as a hobby. On Wednesday, October 25th, the elementary schooler shot herself with her own gun, but the family assured the media they store guns and ammunition properly away from the children. This was the only time she had accessed the guns without permission.
Before the incident, she reportedly told five of her close friends that she was going to kill herself. It is unclear if any of the friends tried to inform family members about what they heard.
However, WSAV stated that Rivers’ mother approached the school on several occasions, including the final one, which occurred only two days before her daughter’s death. Her mother felt that the school did nothing about the ongoing bullying. The school did issue a statement sending their condolences but refused to comment any further.
After Rivers’ death, six other children from her school have come forward saying they have been bullied by the same student, according to a local news source. Those girls have agreed to be interviewed as a part of the investigation.
Rivers' family created a GoFundMe page in hopes of raising funds to create "Toni's Law," which will help protect children from school bullying. Their family believes the "school system failed" and they want to ensure that this does not happen to other families dealing with similar struggles.
This tragic incident sheds a light on the significance of fighting bullying. Recent statistics indicate that suicide is the third leading cause of death among younger generations and victims of bullying are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide as an escape outlet.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Bible also assures that every life is precious and is created for a specific purpose by God. Below are a few Bible verses to help cope with depression and suicidal thoughts, provided from Bible Study Tools.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Please keep this family in your prayers today. In breaking news, a lead rock band singer recently passed away after his long battle with addiction.