Polk County Schools investigate bullying claim in suicide of 18-year-old student

Directional sign for Copper Basin High School in Copperhill, Tenn. (Facebook Photo)

As a Polk County, Tenn., family reels with grief, county school officials are investigating circumstances surrounding the self-inflicted death last week of an 18-year-old Copper Basin High School student.

Patrick Griffin was found dead early last Thursday morning from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Polk County Director of Schools Dr. James Jones said Tuesday. The incident shocked the community and left behind many questions.

Jones said school officials have been investigating rumors that Griffin was bullied in the time leading up to taking his own life, but officials so far have not been able to substantiate those claims.

"We have not been able to substantiate that happening with the student body," he said. "If it happened, we want to know factually, and we will punish people accordingly.