Friend says girl was bullied before her suicide

LEBANON, Tenn. — For the first time, friends of a 15-year-old Tennessee high school student are speaking out about why they believe she may have committed suicide.

The girl’s father, Mike Johnson, expressed frustration at a school meeting Tuesday night about social media posts directed at his daughter after her death.

“Be nice,” he told the crowd. “That’s right. That could solve a lot. Just be nice.”

One of the girl’s best friends said she witnessed other students frequently ridiculing the girl about her sexuality in the months leading up to her suicide.

“I heard maybe four or five kids tell her she was going to hell because she’s gay,” said Lee Lasater, whose own sister was dating the girl. “I’ve been to the office multiple times, ‘Hey this kid is bullying, this kid said this.’ The next day comes and he’s still doing it in the hallway.”

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office has launched an investigation into social media posts directed at the girl before and after her death. Sheriff Robert Bryan said he expects to find evidence on the girl’s cell phone.

A Wilson County Schools spokesperson said the district never received complaints about bullying involving the girl. District administrators have also started their own investigation.

This is the second student suicide at Lebanon High School in the past year.