This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The parents of a Florida teenager are sounding the alarm on cyberbullying after their daughter, 16-year-old McKenna Brown, committed suicide in August.
Brown’s parents, Cheryl and Hunter Brown, joined “America’s Newsroom” to discuss what led to their daughter’s death and what they hope to gain from sharing her tragic story.
“What had taken place the week leading up to McKenna taking her life really amounted to girl drama and boy drama, and her four of her closest friends and teammates accusing her of breaking the girl code after she had spoken to one of the girl’s ex ex-boyfriends,” Cheryl told co-host Dana Perino.
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Cheryl said things “escalated” throughout the week after some of her friends excluded her from a sleepover.
“Come to find out, after the fact by some of her friends that had come forward, there was a group of texts that had been compiled and sent out by these girls and sent to all of her teammates and friends in an effort to humiliate and embarrass her,” Cheryl said. “Within those texts was also a secret that she had, a deep, dark secret that she had been carrying with her for three years, that she had been raped.”
Despite McKenna’s death, Hunter said the girls accused of bullying her will likely not face further disciplinary action aside from being suspended from the hockey team.
“Cyberbullying is not a crime in the state of Florida,” Hunter said. “Cyberstalking is not a crime in the state of Florida. Stalking is a crime in the state of Florida. What happened to those other two things can lead to a proof of stalking.”
“What happened to McKenna doesn’t meet that benchmark, so as of right now, you know, there will be no accountability, really, in this case,” he continued.
McKenna was just shy of beginning her senior year in high school before her death.
She hoped to continue her stellar athletic career by attending the University of South Florida to play hockey.