Parents Say ‘Relentless Bullying,’ Facebook Post Led To 14-Year-Old’s Suicide

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WARRENTON, Mo. – Parents of a Missouri middle school student are reeling after their daughter took her own life following months of alleged harassment – in person and on social media – by the girl's classmates.

Destiny Gleason, 14, hanged herself on Wednesday from a pull-up bar in her bedroom after what her parents describe as relentless bullying culminated in a fight at school last Tuesday.  That altercation ended with Destiny being taken away in handcuffs and charged with assault.

"She just wanted everybody to like her, that`s all she wanted," Destiny's mother, Stephanie Clark, told KTVI.

Destiny's family moved to Warrenton last summer. She entered Black Hawk Middle School in the fall of 2015.

"At one point they took some photo of some random person's private parts and put Destiny's name across it and spread it around the school," her mother said. "Anything they could possibly do to hurt her and bring her down."

According to her parents, the bullying began in the fall, and even though they say school officials were aware of it, they also say little was done to stop it.

"We tried to be there for her as much as possible and do everything that we possibly could," said Destiny`s stepfather Kurtis Clark. "It would have been nice if somebody else would have too, instead of just saying we are going to talk to them, or we had a talk with them and telling them not to talk to each other," he said.

As a result of the fight at school, Destiny was scheduled to start intensive behavioral therapy on Wednesday, but shortly after seeing what her mother described as "mean" Facebook postings about her daughter following the fight, Destiny went to her bedroom, found an extension cord and hanged herself.

All her family can do now is hope her death makes people think, Clark says.

"Words matter," said Stephanie Clark. "That old saying, 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me' – well, they will and we lost our daughter because of words."

Superintendent Dr. James Chandler says because of student privacy rights all he can say is the district takes bullying seriously and provides an anonymous hotline to report bullying.

Destiny Gleason's family has scheduled a memorial service for Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Brommelsieck Park in Defiance, Missouri.

A group of parents is also planning a candlelight vigil on 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. May 17 at the ball fields across from Black Hawk Middle School.

There is also a benefit for Destiny's family scheduled for June 11 at the Bulldog Saloon in Wentzville.

The family has also set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral expenses.

16 comments

  • Julie Norwood

    why the heck would you have your bullied daughter on facebook? i keep seeing these young girls and boys take their lives because of facebook bullying and at what point do you not get that they shouldnt be on facebook if thats a huge part of the problem?? i just dont get it.

    • Mitchell Willie

      Did you stop to think that maybe Facebook isn’t the problem? Facebook isn’t the one bullying kids; it’s other crappy human beings doing it. Removing social media from the question won’t help, only teaching your crappy children not to bully other human beings will.

      • Sheanna Caban

        No, Facebook isn’t bullying her, but these kids were *using* Facebook to bully her. They were bullying her online by posting pictures of genitalia and tagging her in the photo/saying it was her. Perhaps removing Facebook from the equation could be helpful in these instances to at least help curtail the situation. Even blocking and reporting the bullies would have helped. Once someone is blocked, they can’t even see your profile anymore, even through a search, and you can’t see theirs.

      • Liz Morgan

        You said it… I am so tired of this victim blaming game. The only way taking away Facebook woul dhave helped is if all of her classmates were also off Facebook. How about we stop putting it on the victim to do something, and do more to teach our crappy kids not to be crappy to other kids. This is not on the victim, it is not on the parents, it is on the kids that bullied her and the crappy parents that raised those crappy kids.

    • Debbi Hambers

      So you take away her right to have social media, because she’s the one being bullied? How about FB takes away the kids doing the bullying’s rights? Why punish the innocent and allow the guilty to continue? Why arrest her for standing up for herself if the school knew there was a problem? Screwed up world we live in today.

      • Sheanna Caban

        Hi Debbi. If your daughter is being bullied online by way of someone posting pictures of genitalia and then tagging your daughter in the photo and claiming it was her wouldn’t you take some precaution to guard against something like that happening again? Even blocking and reporting these kids would have gone a long way. Monitoring your kid’s social media presence is essential. I don’t think Julie was suggesting that the bullies get off scott-free and not be punished, or that the victim should be punished. I think she was suggesting that it would be beneficial to put some safeguards in place for a child that has been bullied relentlessly online. If there is no way for authorities or the other kid’s parents to control their little shitty kids, then it would have been a good idea to monitor social media activity, or even delete accounts to ensure that this girl wouldn’t be put through the wringer even more.

    • Anna Olivares

      Julie, you are blaming the VICTIM for being on social media? Yet, you’re giving a damn pass to those who bullied her? What IS party of the problem is that people like YOU blaming victims as opposed to having the a**holes who were being the bully take full responsibility of what transpired due to their relentless BS motives…… YOU are just like the school wanting to sweep it under the rug with “we will talk to them” yet blame the victim. GTFO here with “at what point do you not get they should be on facebook”. Stupid on all accounts….Be proud of yourself…..You are seen as a “FAIL” on social media. See what I did there?

      • Sheanna Caban

        With respect, I don’t think that’s what Julie Norwood is saying. I think what she’s saying is that if these kids and the entire situation couldn’t be controlled then perhaps it would have been in the best interest of the parents and this girl to stay off social media for a little while–Not forever, but until there was an appropriate solution. Logically, everyone knew that talking to these kids wasn’t going to stop them from online bullying, and Facebook isn’t going to kick these kids off. The next recourse would probably be to stay off social media for a little bit, at least until the behavioral therapy began and she could learn to cope with what was happening. Granted it’s not fair that the victim would have to leave social media in order to find safe haven, but I think we can agree that the alternative is worse. In the end we want our kids to be safe. I don’t know about you, but in circumstances like this I would be more than happy to delete my kid’s social media accounts to keep them safe and stop something like this from continuing UNTIL A SOLUTION IS FOUND AND THOSE THAT DO THE BULLYING ARE PUNISHED APPROPRIATELY. Then once things are neutralized I would probably proceed with caution. In fact, I’ve done just that with my daughter for the same reasons. It’s not fair, but I think we would do whatever is necessary to make sure our kids are safe.

  • Laura Lee Wojtowicz

    The school did not take bullying seriously or something would have been done. Seriously means immediate, tough, consequence actions. None of them were done and result in suicide. What is wrong with the children is what is wrong with the adults. Children are ruling the adults. Come-on, people, WAKE UP AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT FEARSILY, JUSTLY,…JUST RIGHT THING TO DO…WITH COMPASSION, AND LOVE…if anyone understands what i am saying. RIP Destiny

  • freeeweb

    I think the parents are responsible for not seeing their daughter was in need of serious psychological help especially when she was arrested at school for assault! While it is clear she was having a real tough time at school with bullies …..these kids preyed upon her because she was an easy target emotionally , bad kids see that in kids who are suffering emotionally and resort to picking on them …..doesn’t make it right in the least bit , but it’s the the week and injured one in the flock seems to suffer from even more abuse. This girl was having problems long before she took her life , these kids at school saw that too , and continued to give her even more of a battle for her to fight! She should have had help long before things erupted at school! And why are the parents having a benefit at a bar? Can’t pay for her funeral? There are some red flags at home….this is not all on the kids at school , not by a long shot!

  • Bob Helms

    Parents need to work with their children to understand that, no matter what, bully type people are ALWAYS going to exist. Don’t listen to what the school says, teach your child that if they get bullied, you fight back, physically, with everything you have got. It doesn’t matter if you win, you just keep fighting every time, you punch, kick, bite, do what you have to do. And if it’s what someone is saying, jack them in the face a couple times, see if they continue to post up nonsense. Just be careful to work closely with your children so they don’t become bullies themselves.

  • audrey920

    By blaming the victim and her parents are so wrong. The blame should be on the school for not taking the bullying seriously and the crappy little punks that continued to bully and harass this beautiful girl. The “fight” that happened at school that resulted in her being arrested is such BS. She finally felt the need to stand up for herself and she’s being punished. The biggest lies that ALL schools are saying is “Bullying is not tolerated and is taken VERY seriously ” I’m going through the same thing at my daughters school. If the one is being bullied by the popular kids, cheerleaders, or jocks the punishment is less severe. If the bullying is being done by someone not in the “in crowd” the punishment is taken seriously. I was told by the principal of the High Schools that “bullying is from the same person and that person has to have repeated offences against the person” I said that there are a group of kids that are continually being mean to my daughter and that they treat her so bad that she comes home crying every day. I was told by the principal that “that’s just kids being mean”. I do keep an eye on her social media account and when I see some punk with some negative comments on her post that’s when I pop in and tell them to get off her page and if anyone has any negative thing that they want to say, they can take it up with me. Usually they block her and we have got most of the punks off her page. I pulled my child out of that school and she’s going to get her GED. Of course the school took me to court over this and then they were court ordered to sign her withdrawal papers. Now everyone blaming this beautiful girl and her family should be ashamed of yourselves. How many kids need to die do to the relentless bullying of other kids before this is taken seriously? Parents need to teach their kids respect. There are very few kids nowadays that know what this is.

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