HUDSON - Freshman Feliska Chatterson spent her Tuesday night making a pink sweatshirt in honor of her late classmate Jessica Laney. Jessica's name is spelled out in bubble paint on the sweatshirt along with 1996-2012, the years Jessica lived.
Laney, 16, hanged herself over the weekend. Some are blaming her death on cyber bullying, specifically on the site Ask.fm. Despite this speculation, Laney's parents and her boyfriend said they were unaware of any bullying.
"We want to make sure we find out what happened, because her death was just tragic," said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.
Nocco said his investigation has not turned up any evidence or indication Laney was being bullied online.
Laney's classmates told ABC Action News they are not happy with how the school district is handling Laney's death. They expected faculty and staff to have a moment of silence, put up a plaque in her honor and to talk about suicide and bullying. That did not happen, according to students.
On Wednesday, students took matters into their own hands. They wore pink, purple and black clothing. All three were Laney's favorite colors.
Then, during fifth period at Fivay High School in Hudson, a massive text message was sent between students urging them to walk out into the courtyard for their own memorial. Hundreds of students were in attendance.
"They say that glorifying suicide is what we were trying to do and that's not what we are trying to do at all," explained Chatterson. "We are trying to address that bullying is not acceptable ever and it should be stopped because Jessica died from it."
Students upset that faculty will not address suicide wore pink pieces of tape over their mouths.
School district leaders say they follow very strict guidelines when a student commits suicide and 'walk a fine line' because they don't want to give other students ideas.
Principal Angie Stone did talk about Laney's death over the intercom Wednesday but did not address suicide, according to students.
In addition, there were grief counselors on campus.
School district leaders also said the rumors that students who walked out of class and wore pink tape over their mouths were suspended are not true.
"It’s a tragic situation," said Ray Gadd, assistant superintendent for Pasco County schools. "We met with our student services department at 7 o'clock this morning. We have kind of set in place some tentative plans for a new initiative to get back out there to all of our schools and work on this issue. Even though we haven’t found bullying to be a problem in this case, um, I would be an idiot to deny that bullying takes place in our society and our schools. So, we’ll want to double our efforts to do something about it."
School leaders say Jessica never reported she was being bullied.
A bonfire vigil is planned for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Spring Hill Calvary Church of the Nazerene
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