A family has been left devastated after a 13-year-old girl took her own life after being subjected to months of bullying.
On the day of her death, Corrine Lee-Cheu behaved normally. She went to her grandmother’s house after school, spoke on the phone with her aunt and had tea with her family.
The Australian teenager then went upstairs to her room, where she killed herself.
“We are devastated. Completely lost,” Corrine’s grandmother, Patricia Stewart, told the Daily Mail.
“That afternoon, she kissed and cuddled me and offered to mow my lawn. There was no indication that anything was wrong. Now we keep asking ‘why’ ?”
Corrine’s family was unaware of the torment she was going through. Every time she was asked how she was, she insisted that she was fine.
Two months ago, a year 8 student at Atherton State High School in Atherton, Queensland, was beaten by a group of children while she was walking around the town. The incident was reported to the police and his school, but no action was taken.
The second of five children, Corrine belonged to the Kuku-Warra Aboriginal people of Far North Queensland, Australia and was affectionately known as Kinny.
She enjoyed spending time with her family, cooking, running barefoot and driving tractors at the outback station owned by her grandparents in Kalpowar.
“She had a heart of gold,” Ms Stewart said.
“She and I had a strong bond. Much stronger than any other grandmother and granddaughter I know. We’re just connected.”
Today, Corrine’s family wants to raise awareness about suicide prevention to prevent other families from experiencing the same heartbreak.
They believe the lack of support services in the area and insufficient policies to tackle bullying in schools have failed Corrine. They believe the bullying she suffered must have been severe for her to have killed herself.
Ms Stewart urges parents to be persistent and push their children to talk to someone if things don’t seem to be going well.
“If there was something wrong, she would talk to me normally, but she didn’t,” she said.
“Make your child talk. No matter how small he is. Make him talk. We will not let his death pass in vain.”
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