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Bullying concerns addressed

ROME TOWNSHIP — The Fairland School District has released a statement following the suicide of a student.

Mykala Jane Humphrey, 16, of Crown City, a sophomore at Fairland High School, died at home on Sept. 7. The case is under investigation by the Gallia County Sheriff’s department.

“The district administrators and staff are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our students,” the statement, posted on the district’s website, read. “The district has provided and will continue to provide counseling and opportunities both during and outside of school hours for students to talk with someone to work through their loss.”

Students were urged to contact teachers or guidance counselors for assistance with their grief.

The statement addressed messages, which had been posted by Humphrey’s classmates and others on social media alleging that her suicide was the result of bullying at the school.

“During times of loss of a child, some will turn to someone or something to blame,” the district’s statement read. “Some social media posts have attempted to place some blame on student bullying at Fairland High School. In light of these allegations, we want to assure parents and the community that bullying is not permitted at Fairland High School.”

The district stated it takes “great pride” in dealing with bullying in the schools and said students face immediate discipline and measures are in place to protect victims.

Parents and students were urged to report concerns of bullying immediately to faculty. The district said it also has an anonymous hotline in place at 1-800-4-1-VOICE or www.safeschoolshelpline.com.

“We have not and will not allow bullying at Fairland High School,” the statement concluded. “The student will be sadly missed by administrators, staff and students. We will keep the family and their loss in our thoughts and prayers.”

Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning said the investigation is still active, but said, while he did not rule it out completely, at this point, investigators did not believe bullying led to Humphrey’s death.

“I don’t think there’s anything that would lead us in that direction,” he said. “There’s no indication that any person had anything to do with what led to it, or that bullying was the cause.”

A candlelight vigil in Humphrey’s honor took place at the school following last Friday’s football game against Ironton.

To help the family deal with funeral expenses, a Scottown resident has set up a fund on gofundme.com to collect donations to pay costs of the service and purchase a headstone.

The campaign can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/2nxvtng.