Little Toni Rivers
Toni Rivers, from Hampton, South Carolinaho was a sixth grader at a Hampton County School District 1 elementary school.
She had been bullied for months and her mother, Amy Thomas, contacted the school multiple times about the issue. But Maria Petersen, the victim's aunt, said the school did not do enough to stop the problem.
On Wednesday, October 25, when she couldn't take it anymore, she told five of her friends "that she just couldn’t do this anymore, and she was going home and she was killing herself".
True to her words, the sixth-grader shot herself at home and was found by her 14-year-old sister lying on her back with a gunshot wound on Wednesday afternoon.
Her sister called 911 and they rushed Rivers to Charleston’s Medical University of South Carolina Health, where she received treatment for 72 hours before being pronounced dead. Her stepfather, Robert Thomas, said she had her own gun, which she used to take her life.
Thomas told WTOC that the family regularly shoots, but that bullets are kept away from guns in the house and that the children typically did not touch them. Petersen said that the family is upset with her niece’s school for not doing enough to stop her niece being bullied.
She said: "Obviously, we’re devastated beyond any type of words, and we’re angry. We’re angry at a school system that failed that little girl, failed this family and failed this community."
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating the girl’s death.