Two Fort Collins, Colorado, students took their own lives after being bullied.
The family of 11-year-old Ariana Cordova said the bullying began many years earlier.
“She started being bullied when she was in second grade,” Cordova’s older sister, Isabella, told Fox 31. “It wasn’t until she came home with a broken arm that we had to figure out what happened.”
Cordova had shown signs of depression in the past and was placed in counseling at some point, though she reportedly showed no signs of suicidal tendencies prior to her death.
“There are people on her bus that said she was counting down days but she never let any of us know. She acted like everything was fine,” Isabella said.
Cordova is the second Fort Collins middle school student to take their own life. An 11-year-old student from a different school than Cordova took his life over a weekend break. His family requested that his identity be kept private.
The two students’ deaths prompted questions from parents about how well the schools handle bullying, with Cordova’s family saying that her school was not good at taking care of situations in which the girl felt uncomfortable or was bullied.
“I feel like it’s really bad, but it kind of goes unnoticed because there are all these signs and slogans saying no bullying, this is a no bully school," Isabella said, "but overall nothing has changed. Everybody says what they want to say and do what they want to do without getting in trouble for it."
Cordova’s sister doesn’t, however, feel that more punishment is the answer for bullies.
“Those people are always going to have to live with that guilt on top of them and have the burden of what they said and what they did and I don’t think the best way to get that across is to make them feel that same way too because it’s just this endless cycle that needs to stop,” she said, adding that she hopes other students learn from her sister’s death and seek help if they need it.
“If they’re not going to listen to me then imagine my little sister dancing in the sky wherever she is looking down on you saying that it’s going to be OK. You can make it through this.”