Celina Okwuone was 11 years old when she took her life late evening on 20 May 2010. Celina was a fifth grade student at St. Anastasia Catholic School in Fort Pierce, Florida. Her diary enumerates the depth of the cuts, slurs and insults she had received from those at her school. Her cellphone, when found by her parents contained strings of text messages which insulted Celina about her weight, taste in music and labeled her “ugly”, “blacky, and more.
Celina’s parents issued a statement following her death which noted, Celina endured the ridicule and scorn of other students at St. Anastasia Catholic School. Though Port St. Lucie police announced that “bullying” played no part in the girl’s death, they did acknowledged the text messages found on the phone were “cruel” but not “criminal.” Perhaps they aren’t measuring against the barometer of an 11-year-old, to whom they were beyond cruel, they were sufficient to drive her to suicide.
Celina’s parents said, “We know that harm was done, whether it can be proven in a court of law or not,” the parents said. “We called our daughter Celina our supernova, our shining star. She was vibrant and active and so wanting to be liked.” “What happened last Thursday in school, and then that night over the phone, with text messages, and online – also what led up to that night over the past two years was nothing short of bullying,” they said, noting they had brought concerns repeatedly to Celina’s teachers and principal. “Nothing can ever bring our daughter back, but we can make changes. Parents need to speak up, not fear that talking will make it worse.”
The school expressed their regret.
Links: Palm Beach Post