(NEW YORK) — Bullying played a part in the death of a 15-year-old girl from New York’s Staten Island who walked in front of an oncoming bus with a suicide note in her pocket, according to her relatives.
Amanda Cummings, a sophomore at New Dorp High School, wrote Facebook messages in the weeks before her death that her relatives said showed a distressed girl crying out for help. Cummings died Monday from injuries sustained in the bus crash on Dec. 27.
Her uncle, Keith Cummings, told ABC station WABC-TV that bullying contributed to her suicide.
“Amanda begged her mother not to say anything for the simple fact that she’d be picked on more, or they’d make fun of her more,” Cummings said.
He said that girls at Cummings’ high school had been tormenting Amanda, and continued to leave inappropriate comments on her Facebook profile even as she lay in a coma at Staten Island University Hospital.
The bullying was apparently never reported to the school. New Dorp High School did not immediately return calls from ABC News seeking comment about Cummings’ case or its bullying policies.
The note found in Cummings’ pocket after the crash, according to her relatives, spoke of a failed relationship with a boyfriend, which family members believe added to the girl’s stress. In the note, Cummings said, according to her relatives, that she could not live without the boyfriend.
The New York Police Department confirmed that a note was found on Cummings at the time of the crash, but would not comment on its contents nor the accusations of bullying in Cummings’ death.
Cummings’ suicide is the latest in a string of recent youth suicides, including those of Massachusetts high school student Phoebe Prince and Rutgers University freshmen Tyler Clementi, who was bullied for his romantic encounter with another man. Prince hanged herself in a closet, and Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge in New York, bringing widespread outcry for schools to crack down on bullying.
Since Clementi’s death, New Jersey has led states around the country to enact tougher anti-bullying programs, including stricter punishments and better preventative education, in school districts.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Steven Visser and Mallory Simon, CNN