HUDSON - With her best friend standing at her side, Jenna Clifton has decided to talk about her suicide attempt last year.
Clifton, then 15, told ABC Action News classmates at Fivay High School began bullying her freshman year. Then, three days before Thanksgiving last year, after she says she was bullied all day at school, Clifton came home and swallowed 18 prescription pills.
"I decided suicide was the best option," explained Clifton.
Clifton decided to come forward with her story after her friend and classmate, Jessica Laney, 16, took her own life over the weekend. Although friends say bullying is to blame for Laney's death, police cannot find proof that is what caused the tragedy.
For Clifton, bullying came via Facebook and text messages.
"Messages saying, 'You are fat and you're pathetic and we hate you' and stuff like that," Clifton recalled.
Clifton said hurting herself was less painful than hearing people make mean comments to her.
Clifton's parents came home and found her unconscious. Clifton spent three days in the hospital recovering.
She said whenever she was bullied, she notified school administrators but was not happy with how they handled her complaints.
"Every time there was an issue it was sign this paper and don't talk to each other and if you do you will get an in school suspension," Clifton said.
Principal Angie Stone explained that students are brought to mediation to try and work their issues out. She added that all bullying allegations are taken seriously and investigated. If an allegation turns out to be true, disciplinary action is taken and punishment depends on the severity of the bullying.
"It could be an in school suspension and out of school suspension or it could be removing a student from the school," explained Stone in a telephone interview.
Stone told ABC Action News bullying is something that is coming up more often at the high school, especially over the past year.
What presents a problem for administrators is that bullying is taking place via text message and online and not on school grounds or face-to-face. Still, she says school leaders try to intervene.
"If somebody is being sending inappropriate text messages or inappropriate Facebook stuff we ask for copies from the parents or from the students," Stone explained.
Stone said workshops are held to teach students that bullying by definition is a person being habitually cruel to a weaker person. She said the goal is to raise awareness and prevent bullying from happening.
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