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School officials stunned by bullying link to girl's death

Posted November 17, 2011

— Columbus County Schools officials said Thursday that they haven't been able to find anyone who witnessed any bullying of a 10-year-old girl who committed suicide this week.

Chadbourn police are investigating whether bullying played a role in the death of Jasmine McClain, who hanged herself with a belt in her bedroom on Monday evening.

Police Chief Steven Shaw said he was about to close the case as a suicide when he started checking posts on Facebook and other social media about Jasmine and her death. Students were stating that she had been repeatedly bullied at school, he said.

"There have been a lot of issues that we've discovered in different places," Shaw said. "I don't think there's going to be one contributing factor. There's going to be several."

School Superintendent Alan Faulk said all school counselors and principals in his district are trained to recognize bullying. If they hear of any bullying in the schools, they alert law enforcement, he said.

No one has told school officials that they saw Jasmine being bullied, Faulk said.

Chadbourn Elementary School Principal Deanna Shuman said the school is working with police and is also conducting its own investigation into the bullying allegations.

Jasmine's mother, Samantha West, said she knew children teased her daughter about her clothes, her shoes and her hair, and Jasmine didn't like going to the school.

Jasmine McClain, bullying victim School investigates bullying allegations involving dead girl

West said, however, that she never knew how badly Jasmine had been tormented.

Jasmine lived with her mother and grandmother, Frances Smith, and Smith said the girl didn't have a Facebook account or a computer in her room where she could read anything bad posted online about her.

Smith said Jasmine hadn't shown any signs of depression, noting that she was "playing around like she normally does" in the hours before her death. Yet, she said she believes her granddaughter was bullied to death.

State lawmakers passed two anti-bullying laws two years ago. One made online bullying of children a misdemeanor, while the other required school districts to adopt policies to prohibit bullying without specifying the punishment for violators.

Shaw said it's too early to determine whether anyone could face criminal charges in Jasmine's death.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • soxalways Nov 18, 2011

    1st my condolences to the family of this beautiful little girl. Very sad and heartbreaking story.
    I agree with juju. The schools can only do so much. The parents have to be more involved in what their kids do. As a parent I can see how my children interact with the neighborhood kids and I make sure to correct them and explain to them when they say something or do something that can hurt the other kids feelings. I feel that there is not enough parental control and parents feel that teachers and others are more responsible for their kids than themselves.

  • bc4 Nov 18, 2011

    This may help some parents and students with bullying. follow link to find out about 12 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO STOP BULLYING. I hope this helps.


    Scroll down the page to the last blog post on the page to see the list.

  • wildcat Nov 18, 2011

    If a student is bullying another student, the parent of the bullying student should be told as soon as the school staff finds out. Many times the parents have no idea what their child is doing in school. Parents have to be told. How else will they know?

  • wildcat Nov 18, 2011

    My condolences to the family and her many friends. May God bless them each day and bring them comfort and joy in the days ahead.

  • warbirdlover Nov 18, 2011

    I was always the fat kid with glasses. I was bullied a bunch, but when I fought back and punched the lights out of the chief bullier, everything was fine and we turned out to become good friends in later school.

  • Diabolical Nov 18, 2011

    Speechless. wow, They are getting younger these days. So young with a full life ahead of her. Totally understand her and it is so easy for these other kids to get away with it. I hope whomever did the bullying wakes up and realizes that their actions have consequences. Such a shame. Beautiful little girl. RIP.

  • jollyrogered Nov 18, 2011

    Mimi- how does this not sound too bad? That is likely a humiliating experience for the smaller one, and potentially harmful.

    I hope you stopped and reprimanded them, or, in the very least, made sure the smaller kid was ok.

  • warbirdlover Nov 18, 2011

    Did ya'll see the story were the special need child was being bullied by her teachers, and her parents put a secret microphone on her and recorded her being bullied???


  • mimi1123 Nov 18, 2011

    When I was in the carpool line today at my grandson's high school I saw 3 boys pick up a much smaller boy and try to put him in the trashcan. May not SOUND too bad, but junk like this goes on all the time. When it repeatedly happens to someone, it can be devistating. And we wonder why kids go on shooting rampages at schools. Some kids can't cope with this over and over. They reach a breaking point.

  • itsjustasmith Nov 18, 2011

    Very sad story, and my condolences to Jasmine's family and friends. We live in a sad world where kids as young as 1st graders (probably kindergarten also) are bullies. My young granddaughter was bullied. She was bullied because of her clothes, not because her clothes were worn in disrepair or old, but because she wore nice, expensive clothes. She would come home and cry because of being teased endlessly. Finally, she had had enough and she began to fight back, literally. Then, she was the one that got into trouble and was sent to the principal's office for fighting!!! A young child can only take so much. My granddaughter comes from a good family with an excellent support system, so hopefully, she WILL be ok. I'm just sad that Jasmine didn't feel like she could confide in someone. Maybe she did, maybe she didn't, but something was lacking somewhere. Only God and Jasmine knows for sure. God Bless you Jasmine, may you now rest in peace little one.