Regina mom says online bullying preceded daughter's death
Mother of Savy Turcotte, 13, urges parents to keep an eye on children's online activities
Hundreds of people are sharing memories and commenting online as they mourn the loss of a Regina teenager.
Savy Turcotte, 13, died last week. Investigators have not released the cause of her death, but her family issued a statement suggesting that the girl took her own life, and that online bullying may have played a part.
The girl's funeral is scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Family members have asked that people work or donate toward bullying prevention in honour of the Grade 8 girl.
Mother's statement points to bullying
Savy's mother, Kelly Turcotte, suggested in a statement that her daughter was bullied.
Turcotte said she read her daughter's diary last week and that it revealed Savy was "feeling she was not accepted."
The mother went on in the statement to warn parents that "your child could be smiling on the outside and surrounded by 'friends,' but on the inside they are depressed, nervous, scared, anxious, and feeling completely alone."
Turcotte's statement also asks parents to reach out to their children and learn more about how they are doing.
However, police have said they don't have any indication that Savy's death was related to bullying and investigators are looking at other factors of distress.
Outpouring of grief online
A number of social media groups and pages have been created in Savy's name since her death. Three Facebook pages have amassed thousands of 'likes' and members.
Kelly Turcotte writes to media
After our tragic loss, Savy's journal told us she had been living two lives. Her external life showed a happy, kind, caring, generous and loving child who filled our lives with great joy.
Just her presence made people happy. But inside she was crying out. She felt alone and scared; feeling she was not accepted and didn't feel like she belonged.
We have found that she was visiting social media sites we did not know existed and there were many hurtful and disturbing comments from individuals that must have continued to hurt her deeply.
Anyone who knew Sav loved her; her kind spirit and beautiful soul. If you did not love her I feel sad that those people did not take the time and care to really find out who she was.
At home we tell our kids to be themselves and when they go into the world they are judged and tormented. We tell them to turn the other cheek but should we not be telling them to stand up for themselves and speak out.
Bullying can sometimes happen even within a friendship group. Rumours are spread and hurtful words said. These words leave scars that are difficult to erase.
I believe that what we should be doing in our children's schools is have our children and their classmates communicate. There are so many bullying presentations but there are skills children need to be practising, like being kind to one another.
Children should be coming into their classrooms and pairing up with one another to give positive comments! For example, the girl that was called a loser yesterday, what positive feedback is she going to receive today? I challenge all of the youth to turn to your neighbour the next time you are in class and share something positive about them.
Children and youth today are corresponding via social media (Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler, Ask.fm, Snapchat). We as parents constantly need to check who our children are corresponding with. However, the individuals on these sites remain anonymous with only screen names.
We must limit and monitor all outside correspondence. Our children should be talking to one another ... Not texting!
Our children should be learning how to communicate face to face, with kindness. Unfortunately we live in a different world today – a world where predators can prey on our children. These predators could be their own peers.
Girls and boys have diaries and journals which contain precious information about their innermost feelings. How they are being treated and how they feel about life and death. As a parent I know that we sometimes feel as though we are betraying the trust of our children by "snooping," but the information in these diaries might save our children's lives.
Your child could be smiling on the outside and surrounded by "friends," but on the inside they are depressed, nervous, scared, anxious, and feeling completely alone.
A quote from Savy: "Help others to feel good about themselves, even just a friendly smile."
We can not get back our precious Savy, but she taught us all wonderful lessons in her short time here. I pray that this never happens to another parent. Reach out to your children today! Find out what is going on inside!
This statement is the only statement I am willing to make at this point. Please respect the privacy of myself and my family. We need time to grieve!