Watertown Students Raise Awarenss About Bullying & Depression
An estimated 150 Watertown City School District students left classes Monday morning to rally against bullying and raise awareness about depression.
Community members organized the rally in the wake of the suicide last week of 18 year old Erin Foley.
Many of her fellow students say she killed herself because of bullying.
School officials, however, say they are not aware of any bullying directed at Foley.
Erin Foley's father, Paul Foley was at the rally.
He declined an on-camera interview, but he did tell 7 News reporter Caitlin Cissne that he's not sure if his daughter was bullied in the traditional sense.
However, he said she suffered from depression and unkind treatment from classmates may been a contributing factor.
Paul Foley also said the rally gives him hope that things will get better.
People at the rally said they want to send the message that bullying needs to be taken seriously and Foley's death was unnecessary.
"We're working hard to make sure that people know they're loved, that they're important, that they know this world needs them," said organizer Patrick Fleming.
"I think it's great, because it shows how many people care and how many people want to stop the bullying," said Andrea Jackson, who took part in the rally.
The students were walking in a loop around the high school and had a prayer circle during which balloons were released in Foley's memory.
Some students carried signs with anti-bullying messages.
Students from Case Middle School say their teachers let them out of class to attend the rally.
Several calls to school officials to confirm this were not returned.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013, Watertown, NY
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