15-year-old Chestermere, Alta. girl dies by suicide; family believes bullying is to blame
CALGARY -- The family of a 15-year-old Chestermere, Alta. girl who took her own life on Friday says she had been bullied for more than a year.
Abeg Kon was supposed to be entering Grade 11 at St. Gabriel Archangel School and her father, Angelo Kon, believes the fear of returning to class may have led to her taking her own life.
"The bullying never stopped and that caused anxiety, that caused stress, that caused trauma," he said.
Angelo tells CTV News he contacted the school about the bullying in November 2019 and met with administration. He says he was told a student was suspended.
But family says the bullying continued, however, even after classes went online in the spring because of COVID-19.
"There were a bunch of girls who were calling her names and mistreating her," said Abeg's sister, Anok Kon, who describes the teen as having been "loving, caring and peaceful."
The Calgary Catholic School District wouldn’t confirm to CTV News if it — or the school — had prior knowledge of any bullying, or if disciplinary steps were taken.
"Due to privacy concerns we are unable to comment on any specific situation," CCSD officials said in a statement.
"At Calgary Catholic, all reports of bullying are taken very seriously. Hurtful behaviour of any kind is not tolerated within our schools and we all have a shared responsibility to accept and support each member of our community.
"We strongly encourage all our students and parents to come forward if they experience any kind of harassment or bullying. We work with all our families as well as the CPS or RCMP if needed to address any ongoing concerns.
"Student safety is always a priority at our schools and administration reviews school codes of conduct annually for referral during situations of conflict between students. Collaboration and open dialogue among administration, staff, students and parents is key in helping achieve our goal of working to eradicate bullying from the school environment."
Abeg’s family says they feel let down and hope changes are made to the way bullying cases are handled.