'Disturbing' Messages Investigated After Teen's Suicide

Death rattles Connecticut school district
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2019 6:11 AM CST
Teen Girl's Suicide Rattles School in Connecticut
Danbury High School.   (Wikimedia Commons/Dj1998d)

A Connecticut school district shaken by the suicide of a 16-year-old student says it is investigating "disturbing" messages posted on social media immediately after her death. Danbury High School student Hailey Nailor jumped off the fifth floor of a parking structure at the Danbury Fair mall Saturday afternoon, the Connecticut Post reports. Moments earlier, she had posted a video on Snapchat saying she was contemplating taking her own life, friends say. She had been at the mall with her grandmother, who thought she was in an Apple store. "She sadly did go through with it," says friend Luis Lopez. After her death, taunting comments were made by another teenage girl on social media and screenshots of the remarks were widely shared. Police and school officials are investigating.

Father Kevin Nailor, however, says he doesn't believe bullying played a role in Hailey's death. He says she had struggled with mental illness for years and had been hospitalized more than two dozen times—most recently on Friday—after threats to harm herself, the News Times reports. School board chairman Pat Johnston says the district will still take a hard look at social media and cyberbullying. "Anything like this that opens up the conversation, there’s nothing bad that comes from re-examining it," he says. "One of the upsetting factors of being a parent is that rapid nature of social media,” Johnston says. "It flies off in a hundred different directions. Nobody knows what’s true and what’s not." (Researchers are testing apps that could detect mental health crises in teens.)

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