These are troubling times for parents in Fort Collins, Colo., where two 11-year-old children took their own lives within days of each other. The suicide of a girl in sixth grade at Lincoln Middle School last Monday was followed by the Saturday night suicide of a boy who attended Blevins Middle School. Both schools are in the Poudre School District, and authorities are investigating whether the two deaths are linked, reports the Coloradoan. The girl's family says she suffered from bullying and depression, but one of the boy's friends tells the Coloradoan that he was a well-liked prankster; the classmate doesn't believe the boy was bullied. A police spokeswoman tells the Coloradoan that they have "not received any information that bullying was a contributing factor in either incident."
But the girl's older sister tells KDVR that the 11-year-old had been bullied since the second grade and the family didn't discover it until she came home with a broken arm. She says the family wants the death to bring about changes in how schools deal with bullying—and to send the message to bullied children that they should always ask for help. "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," she says. The Denver Post reports that Larimer County has logged 77 suicides year-to-date, including these two and one more of a child under age 18. The year prior, there were two under-18 suicides in the county. (Read about how a mother survived her son's high-profile suicide.)