Cruel messages in a student yearbook almost led to a suicide.
It was June 16, the next-to-last day of school, when a 13-year-old boy from Buckley, Washington, opened his yearbook and found messages such as "Kill yourself," "You should do yourself a favor and die," and "Piece of s**t," reports the Daily Mail.
"I just kind of thought that they were right," said the bullying victim to local station KOMO. He even went to the river to drown himself, he said. "Just because everybody was being mean to me, and I couldn't take it anymore."
His mother explained the text she received from her son before he went to the river. "He said 'I'm sorry Mom, I just can't take it anymore and maybe I should just do it. Maybe they're right. I'm sorry, I'm sorry.'"
She rushed to the river and found him sitting on a nearby road, having changed his mind. "Because I thought it wasn't worth it because they're just, I don't know. It wasn't worth it."
According to his mother, who filed a police report over the incident, he'd been bullied all year and that this could have pushed him over.
The school district issued a statement which said, in part, "We are deeply concerned about the troubling yearbook issue that was brought to our attention on Friday afternoon. Our immediate concern is for the safety and well-being of the student involved."
Fellow student Angelina Hatfield declared: "It's not OK. I think people should stop what they're doing and just not do that."
Her mother, Angeline Mars, said, "I think it's horrible. I think something needs to be done about it absolutely."
The boy has reportedly received much encouragement since his story went viral on social media.
On its StopBullying.gov website, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines bullying as "unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance," that is "repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time."
The imbalance of power is typified by "physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity," and "includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose."
On June 16, a 20-year-old Massachusetts woman was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2014 death of her boyfriend after she sent text messages encouraging him to kill himself. She now faces up to 20 years in prison.
In the yearbook bullying case, however, the potential suspects are most likely too young to face criminal action, according to the Buckley police chief. And the school district has not revealed what, if any, action will be taken against them.