Mentor, Ohio mother claims bullying played a role in her 13-year-old daughter’s suicide last month

Mentor, Ohio mother claims bullying played a role in her 13-year-old daughter’s suicide last month

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A Mentor mother is trying to make sense of a personal tragedy.

Her 13-year-old daughter, Autumn Issa, ended her own life just a few weeks ago.

Brittany Lawrence spoke exclusively with 19 News.

Visibly devastated, Lawrence told Erin Logan, “It’s hard. Now, I feel helpless.”

The minute she got that gut-wrenching call at work from police, her world turned upside down. Her beautiful daughter, Autumn, was gone. “She did have some depression at her age. She suffered a lot of loss,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence and her younger daughter, Makayla, said going to school often made Autumn feel worthless.

The insults had been going on for years for the pageant queen, cheerleader, and runner, who had dreamed of being a veterinarian.

“The kids told me there was this popular girl and Autumn came in and became the new popular girl and they would just make fun of her and call her Barbie because her hair was too blonde and eyes too blue and she was too skinny.”

Makayla asked, “What was your reason? Because most people don’t have a reason. They just do it out of jealousy.”

Lawrence pointed out one of the last photos of Autumn. She had very dark hair after begging her mom to dye it that color.

She isn’t entirely pointing the finger at school leaders, but Lawrence said she’s unsure if her concerns were ever really considered. “I came in at the very beginning telling you what I didn’t want to happen and now I can’t do anything. She’s gone,” said Lawrence.

The pain got worse for the grieving mom with mean social media posts after the tragedy, “Talking about how they were gonna come and flip her casket,” Lawrence told 19 News.

“Kids were saying that?” Lawrence said. “Yes, so we had to have officers stand by the casket because we were afraid that was gonna happen to her. People are just mean. I don’t get it.”

Lawrence said she reported it to the school and they said, “We’ll look into it."

Now, Lawrence is making it her mission for Autumn, to find a way to hold bullies accountable.

“I promised her I won’t stop,” Lawrence said.

In the meantime, she’s asking parents to teach their kids how to be kind. “It starts at home. I feel your kids are an example of who you are,” said Lawrence.

19 News reached out to Mentor Schools, they issued a statement saying, “We are heartbroken over the loss of Autumn. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this most difficult time. Our students and our community are grieving and many are searching for answers, as it is so hard to understand why a life was lost so young. We know that everyone will process grief differently, we also know it is extremely important to have supports in place and resources available for our students and their families so we can continue to work together to help our students cope with their feelings.’

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