A Florida teen committed suicide after allegedly being bullied by three hockey teammates earlier this year. Now those accused of the harassment have been suspended from the team pending the findings of an investigation.
The suspended teens had been friends for years with 16-year-old McKenna Brown, but that changed when McKenna in August had asked one of them if it would be OK for her to begin talking with one of the girl’s former boyfriends, FOX 13 reports.
“McKenna had asked the one friend/teammate if she’d mind if she talked to her ex-boyfriend from two years earlier, and she said it was OK,” McKenna’s mother, Cheryl, told the television station. “She then realized a few days later that it wasn’t OK with a friend based on how she retaliated.”
The girls allegedly began harassing McKenna with troubling text messages. “You’ve done all of us wrong,” one message said, according to the television station. “I hope I never see you again,” another message said.
McKenna apologized to one of the teammates for talking with the girl’s former boyfriend, which Cheryl said “enraged this particular person and just amped up the attack,” according to FOX 13.
The teammate encouraged others to cut ties with McKenna and “leave her without a single friend,” Cheryl told FOX 13.
The bullies also reportedly shared deeply private information about McKenna with other members of the hockey team, including that she had been raped a couple years earlier, according to The Daily Mail.
Within hours, Cheryl would find her daughter dead on the bedroom floor.
Now two months after that horrific day, Cheryl is speaking out about her daughter’s death.
“She was the one that would look out for people that felt left out,” Cheryl told FOX 13. “She was attacked. Her integrity was attacked. She was called a bunch of names.”
Since the bullying came to light, the three teammates have been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into what happened. The Lightning High School Hockey League launched a probe, as did the Statewide Amateur Hockey of Florida, and USA Hockey hired outside counsel to perform another review.
“They deemed that it was a breach of their code of conduct — cyberbullying code of conduct,” Cheryl told FOX 13.
McKenna’s teammate Sarah Walters told the television station that McKenna always had other people in mind. Walters filed a complaint about the incident on McKenna’s behalf.
“She always cared about other people, so I know if that were me, she would be doing the same thing for me and having my back,” Walters told FOX 13.
Cheryl said she saw the teen who sent the harassing messages at her daughter’s funeral, which the grieving mother said she found baffling.
“I just wish she could have seen through it too. The suspensions would have still happened and repercussions would have been there, and she’d still be here,” Cheryl told FOX 13.
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Featured Image: McKenna Brown/Facebook