Families say bullying linked to Perry High School student suicides

Published: Nov. 15, 2017 at 4:24 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2017 at 5:21 PM EST
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MASSILLON, OH (WOIO) - People impacted by the suicides of three students at Perry High School in Massillon will gather at the high school Wednesday afternoon, asking for change and action by school leaders.

The families of victims, including Kyliegh Crawford, who committed suicide in early November, said bullying is playing a large part in the tragedy.

Shortly after Kyliegh's suicide, the school began making counselors available for all students.

They changed the sign in front of the school, including information about the prevention hotlines.

Kyliegh's father Johnathan Forney said that isn't enough for him.

"They're giving them a pass. They put a sign on their billboard, you know. It takes more," Forney said.

They say they want the school to make tangible steps in preventing bullying.

At the beginning of the month, the school implemented a suicide prevention program.

Perry High School released a statement saying they will dedicate resources to suicide prevention but did not mention bullying.

In response to the demonstration, Superintendent Scott Beatty sent a statement:

 "The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. Earlier this afternoon, a few community members demonstrated outside of the high school. This was not student-led. We understand the pain and sorrow our students, families and community members are facing over the recent loss of several Perry students. "

Beatty said there will be a student leader-led "two days of R&R" at Perry High School this Thursday and Friday.

He said multiple initiatives are underway to combat teen suicide.

"We would like to thank our staff, students, safety services and community members for continuing to stand together and support each other as we move forward," Beatty wrote.

If you know someone struggling with the thoughts of suicide, there are resources to help.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

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