A 15-year-old girl who committed suicide after being tormented by her classmates has spurred an online campaign to stop bullying. Lana Swoape, of Bloomington, Indiana, found her daughter Tori Nakol Swoape hanging from a scarf in her bedroom last Monday night. The sophomore was resuscitated and taken to Riley Hospital for Children where she was placed on life support – but she tragically died on Tuesday.
Tori’s parents and friends said the “loving girl” was pushed over the edge by bullies at Bloomington High School North, where she had transferred from a school in Muncie, Indiana, last year.
“There was name calling. There was rumours. A lot of what Tori went through was rumours,” her mother Lana Swoape told Fox 59. Tori’s last Facebook post is a testament to how much the bullying was troubling her:
“IM NOT TALKING TO NO ONE. so go ahead and spread that RUMOR around,’ she posted on May 7. ‘Keep my name out of your mouth. LEAVE MY BUSINESS TO ME!”
Her mother was aware of the bullying but said that Tori had begged her not to intervene, assuring her she was fine. “I never thought she could do this. I never thought she would,” she told the TV station in tears.
Keyonna Morrow, a student at Swoape’s former Muncie school, told the Indianapolis Star that Tori’s friends were not aware of the extent of the bullying either. “None of us knew how much it was really bothering her, how much of a toll it was taking on her,” Morrow said. “We were just telling her to ignore it… [We] should have done something immediately.”
Now family and friends of the tragic schoolgirl have set up Facebook pages in her memory, urging people to stop bullying. Her older brother Jordan Swoape set up a page entitled “Official Tori Nakol Swoape – STOP Bullying” and posted it to his Twitter feed alongside the message: “Through all the pain and suffering that my beautiful sister had to go through #stopbullyingfortori.”
The family posted an official update yesterday, saying, “The family of Tori Nakol announces that her doctor at Riley Hospital pronounced her dead as of 5:10 pm on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. On Monday evening Tori attempted suicide by hanging herself and was discovered by Lana, her mother. Paramedics resuscitated her, placing her on life support and rushed to the hospital in Bloomington. She was then moved to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. After being pronounced dead on Tuesday evening, the family began the process of organ donation which lasted approximately 24 hours. It was later learned that Tori’s body developed an infection while on life support and was unable to donate her organs. The family is currently planning final arrangements and will make an announcement as soon as everything is confirmed. Please feel free to leave your condolences, memorials and dedications on this page. The family also asks that you help to spread the anti-bullying message. #StopBullyingForTori.”
The page has also been flooded with tributes to the teen and has inspired seven other pages set up in her honor. A “Stop Bullying! Inspired by Tori Swoape” has received more than 3,000 likes and posts demanding an end to bullying.
Lynn Curtis, who knew Tori, posted: “Bullying goes on in every school! It needs to be dealt with. Tori RIP. She is amazing girl who played softball with my daughter. She was a fantastic person with a sweet personality. Schools need to wake up and stop trying to cover up the bullying. Teachers and principals who think it doesn’t happen are blind! I had a principal tell me bullying is never violent, it’s only a matter of name calling. BS – it’s always violent because there is a victim. Our prayers are with the family.”
But Jeffrey Henderson, the principal at Bloomington High School North, told Fox59 that the school could not find any evidence of bullying.
“At no point in time was the school ever aware that there were those concerns whatsoever,” he said. “She seemed to be a happy lady, well-adjusted in school, very well-liked by peers.”
“Tori was a very loving child, she wanted to make everybody happy. She wanted to help everybody,” Tori’s mother added.