Bullying blamed for second suicide at Polk County school

13-year-old girl reported problems to officials 'more than once'

Copper Basin High School
photo Directional sign for Copper Basin High School in Copperhill, Tenn. (Facebook Photo)
photo Polk County Director of Schools Dr. James Jones.

For the second time since March a Polk County, Tenn., student at Copper Basin High School has committed suicide amid allegations of bullying.

Family friends said this morning that 13-year-old Jazmine Kellie Harris, an eighth grader, took her life Friday morning after ongoing bullying.

Polk County Director of Schools Dr. James Jones said the school system is conducting an internal investigation into the allegations that bullying played a role in the death, and he admits something's wrong when two students from the same school claim their own lives in less than three months.

On March 5, 18-year-old Patrick Griffin took his own life under a cloud of bullying allegations that his family said led to his decision. Griffin's mother, Doresa, and brother, Raymond, said school officials failed to respond to the problem.

Jones said Jazmine and her mother had reported their bullying problems to officials "more than once." He declined to discuss the bullying allegations in detail until the school system's legal counsel could weigh in.

The funeral service for Jazmine Harris is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Akins Funeral Home in Copperhill, Tenn., with visitation planned tonight and Tuesday night from 5 to 9 p.m. there.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

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