Losing a child can be one of the more difficult tragedies to endure for parents. It’s a calamity not only for the parents, but the entire family, who now has to face the loss of not only a son or daughter, but a dear sibling, and a grandchild. It’s one thing to lose a child to fate, and another when it’s something that truly could’ve been prevented. For the Avila family, it happened in a devastating set of events.
Bullied teen, Rosalie Avila had a funeral request to not have any photos included of her, after taking her own life. The 13-year-old victim of unforgiving bullying was found unresponsive by her parents and siblings, following months of several verbal attacks at school. After repeatedly being called ‘ugly’, the young girl decided to put an end to her pain in the most tragic of ways.
The Yucaipa, California student left several notes behind for her family, before finding her lifeless in her bedroom. The father, Freddie Avila, told People Magazine that a note was left for his wife, saying “I love you, mom. I’m sorry you’re gonna find me like this.” He knew something was wrong when Rosalie’s door was locked, and music was playing. She wasn’t responding at all, and her brother had to end up picking the lock to get in. Upon entering, the hysteria ensued amongst the family, who found her hanging on a rope.
CPR was performed on Rosalie in an attempt to save her life. She was declared brain dead on December 1st and taken off life support just three days later. The parents describe the weeks after their daughter’s death as “the worst rollercoaster ride” of their lives, and are determined in holding the school district accountable, to ensure their daughter’s life “isn’t meaningless”.
The family’s attorney, Brian Claypool, released a statement saying “The school was negligent in failing to take action against the bullies and allowing them to continue in their relentless verbal abuse of Rosalie knowing the frail condition she was in.” Months of bullying at school led to Rosalie cutting herself, and nothing seemed to be done by the Yucaipa-Calimesa School District.
Verbal attacks of being called a “whore”, “ugly”, telling her she has “herpes” and making fun of her teeth, were agonizing for the young student, as she sadly believed everything she was being told. In addition to all of this, her classmates “circulated a video portraying what an ugly girl looked like and what a pretty girl looked like and used a picture of Rosalie to portray the ugly girl.” This video went around the school, virally. This ultimately led to the young girl apologizing to her parents in her suicide note for being ugly, and requesting not to post photos of her at her funeral.
The local communities surrounding the family have offered their care and support, and the school district is said to be working closely with detectives in investigating of allegations towards bullying. Despite the action being taken, it comes far too late, as the heartbroken parents and family of Rosalie will never get to witness her life’s most joyous occasions like graduating, getting marrying, and having children. This comes at a time of the holidays, where families hope to unite and be together as a whole, without a significant missing piece of the puzzle that has left a hole in their home, and in their hearts.