The family of a 10-year-old honor student who killed herself last week said the girl had struggled with bullying at both her school and in her community.
Ashlynn Conner, a student at Georgetown Ridge Farm Elementary School in Vermilion County in east central Illinois, told her mother two weeks before her death that she was being bullied, CBS Chicago reports.
Stacy Conner, the girl's mother, told WCIA-TV that students had been teasing her daughter for years.
"They'd call her a slut," she told the station. "Ashlynn's ugly. She's fat."
Though she realized her daughter was being bullied, she said she did not know how to respond. She hopes her coming forward with her daughter's story may help other families going through similar struggles.
"I thought my kids were strong," Connor said. "That my words to them for guidance and advice would have more weight than what these kids were saying. I was wrong."
Last Thursday, Ashlynn reportedly asked her mother if she could be home-schooled, CBS reports. The next day, Ashlynn was found by a sibling in a closet after she had hanged herself.
The Georgetown Ridge Farm School District issued a statement reporting that they were "very saddened at the tragic loss of one of our children. Our hearts go out to her family in this time of loss," WCIA-TV reports. Counselors will be available to speak with classmates and family members at her former school on Monday.
MyStateline reports that area police are currently investigating the bullying claims through email, Twitter and text messages.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.