Do you think I’m pretty.
No one likes me.
I hate my life.
I wish I had a friend.
It was the mantra of fourteen-year-old Sherokee Harriman, who in September 2015 faced her alleged bullies in a small Tennessee public park and pulled out a concealed kitchen knife. She drove the knife into her stomach as the horrified teens watched.
Local media focused on sensationalism rather than truth. The word “bullicide” was used, meaning bullying drove Sherokee to kill herself.
The story of Sherokee’s death flew through social media, broadcast for all to see. Sherokee had shared her secrets online where privacy disappears with a slight movement of a computer mouse.
A product of a family doing their best with little resources, Sherokee was passed through the mental health system as far as it would take her, shuttled through an overworked and underfunded education system supervised by government agencies with no real answers. She was sent to “Stop Bullying” school programs unprepared to assist, exasperating the problems.
Sherokee Rose Harriman November 7, 2000 – September 5, 2015
A community began to question the laws and definitions regarding “bullying.” Should schoolyard bullies be held legally responsible for causing a suicide? Can a rough family history guarantee a tragedy? And just what is bullying, anyway? Perhaps Sherokee’s death was an accident … perhaps there was a sinister truth that has yet to be told. BULLIED TO DEATH: A Story of Bullying, Social Media and the Suicide of Sherokee Harriman-Judith A. Yates