Family remembers teen as 'happy soul' who was victim of bullying

Published: Friday, Nov. 30 2012 5:24 p.m. MST

Ninth-graders Makayla Schmidt and Ponia Clark said they came to the vigil not only in remembrance of the boy they had come to know in their classes, but also to support a friend who witnessed the tragedy. The gathering at the school gave students a chance to mourn together, Ponia said.

"I knew (him) really well, and I think other people needed comfort as well as me,” she said, her voice trembling as she looked around at the group. “I needed to find a place where I could cry.”

Makayla said bullying is sometimes hard to see, especially when it is done through cruel words. “I heard it, people (talking about him),” she said. “I don't think people realize how much words can hurt.”

School officials have encouraged students to report any incidents of bullying through a district safety hotline at 801-481-7199. The district also offers an anonymous text service for bullying to be reported at 801-664-2929.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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