Mother wants bullying to stop after daughter commits suicide
Every day, 105 Americans will die from suicide. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that rate is rising, especially in teenagers, 4 out of 5 of those teens giving clear warning signs.
Locally, several families have been affected by suicide in the past few months. The mother of a 12 year old Neosho girl wants to see an end to bullying after her own daughter’s death.
Skating was one of Erica Smith’s favorite things to do. Now her mother circles the rink to warn other parents about the dangers of bullying. Her 12 year old daughter committed suicide earlier this month.
“I wish she could see it, I know she can see it, she’d be amazed at how many people showed up to show that they love her,” says Jennifer Lantz, Erica’s mother.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people ages 10 to 24.
“It’s tragic. The amount is phenomenal so if we could raise awareness to it and put an end to it, I think it would be great,” says Wade Kesinger with Midwest Car Club.
In Kansas, pending legislation would require teachers to have 2 hours of suicide prevention training every year, something many at the skating rink think should be required nationwide.
“Being trained to recognize the warning signs would be the biggest thing the schools could do. Unless a child comes up and tells someone of authority, they don’t know what’s going on,” says Lantz.
“Between social media and schools, that’s where it begins, that’s where it happens with kids and sadly it’s happening younger and younger,” says Kesinger.
Community organizations Cyclops and Midwest Car Club come together to get a simple message out. Stop bullying.
“Being here together, you’ve got rich families, poor families, nice cars, poor cars it doesn’t matter really just everybody to get along and realize we’re all human,” says Roy Moore with Cyclops, a charitable brotherhood.
The Neosho School District never received any reports of bullying, but Erica told her family that she was being teased.
“I don’t blame the schools, they can only do so much. I think they need to pay more attention to what does go on but I don’t blame anybody, Erica made this decision,” says Lantz.
As she teaches her to skate, Lantz shows her young niece that with family support, you can find happiness
“She was just an amazing little girl all the way around,” she says.
Today’s event also helped to raise money for funeral costs. To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/t7k35pvw