RICHMOND, Texas — A Richmond couple is in mourning after their 15-year-old daughter took her own life, and the teen's stepfather says bullying is to blame.
Jacob Flores and his wife experienced parent's nightmare on May 19 while on a run to the grocery store. The couple said one of their daughters called to tell them another one of their children, Alyssia Sosa, had hung herself with a belt.
"I never thought she would do this," Flores said. "She was a happy child. This house is not the same without her."
Flores said his stepdaughter had been the subject of bullying by a group of girls at her school, Lamar Consolidated High School in Rosenberg.
"She would tell me, 'there's these girls, they use me,'" Flores said. "I asked, ' how do they use you?' She said, 'well, they act like they're my friends, and then I tell them stuff, and then they go tell everyone. Then when I'm in the lunch line, they push me out the way or they pull my hair.'"
The bullying escalated that Wednesday, when Flores said Alyssia called her parents to tell them a male student had touched her inappropriately.
"She kept telling him no," Flores said. "I want to know where the teachers were."
Flores said he met with school administrators and asked them to suspend the boy while they conducted an investigation. He said Alyssia was hesitant to bring up the bullying because she feared she'd be picked on even more.
"I guess, she retaliated on herself. People have to know bullying is real. I never thought this would happen to my own family," Flores said.
Lamar CISD released the following statement:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the student`s family and friends. Her death weighs heavily on the Lamar CISD community, as the loss of a young person affects us all. A team of grief counselors are at the campus and available to help other students cope with this tragic event.
All allegations of bullying are taken very seriously by Lamar CISD. The District's investigation is ongoing."
Flores has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for Alyssia's funeral. He's also trying to raise money for a memorial statue and funds to help support anti-bullying legislation.