published Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

School bullying not seen as factor in McMinn County teen’s death, sheriff says

McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said preliminary investigation didn’t turn up evidence of school bullying in the suicide of a 17-year-old McMinn Central student Tuesday.

In a news release, Guy said his office and school administrators are looking into any possibility that bullying may have led to the death.

“I’ve kept in close contact with the young lady’s parents,” Guy said. “Neither her parents, school administrators, nor our school resource officers had received any reports that she was a victim of bullying prior to this unfortunate incident.”

Guy said the girl didn’t go to school Tuesday. He said the incident occurred around noon in a church parking lot.

He said two chaplains from the sheriff’s office are at McMinn Central today to help local clergy and counsel faculty and students.

He urged students who know of bullying or harassment happening at school to report it to an adult.

“Her parents and I agree that the most important thing is to do whatever we can to prevent another family from having to experience a tragic loss like this,” Guy said.

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