Instead of celebrating the end of another school year, one high school near Tampa, Florida, ended this year on a devastating note. Suicide.On Sunday afternoon, Tovanna Holton, a freshman at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel, took her own life after a nude Snapchat video, taken without her permission, circulated to other students. The tragic suicide has sparked a viral outcry to stop teenage cyber-bullying.
Levon Holton-Teamer, Tovanna's mother, recounts being confused at her daughter's behavior earlier in the day:
Tovonna would say, ‘Mommy, I owe them; I owe them’. I said, ‘What do you mean you owe them?’ I couldn’t understand what was wrong.Holton-Teamer then found her daughter locked in the bathroom after noticing blood underneath the door:
I go to the bathroom; I couldn’t get in the bathroom. The bathroom light was off so I tried to get in and I looked down and I saw the puddle of blood. I tried to apply the pressure, the pressure to her head. I tried to save her.The teen had taken her mother's gun from her handbag.
Holton-Teamer reports having contacted the Wiregrass Ranch High before with concern over her daughter being bullied at school. She was never satisfied with the responses she received and even considered moving Tovanna to a new school the next year. Hours after Tovanna was found, her Aunt, Angel Scott, took to Facebook in a plea for answers:
I just said, ‘If anybody knows anything, what happened? Have you heard of anything? Do you know who these kids are who have the pictures?’ I thought it was just pictures and then the kids started inboxing me.She learned that a video of Tovanna in the shower, taken without her permission, had been passed around on the social media app SnapChat that same day. Only hours after the video circulated, Tovanna took her own life.
The Pasco County School District has turned the investigation over to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and detectives continue to investigate the incident. Wiregrass Ranch High School provided a crisis team for students on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
Tovanna is another tragic example of the serious nature of teenage bullying and the growing concern over the internet's involvement with cyber bullying. The nature of the internet takes bullying to a dangerous new level of speed and accessibility. Hurtful material can be spread in an instant to a wide breadth of people. Tovanna's picture has gone viral with the hashtag #stopbullying. H/T NBC, The Telegraph