DAVIDSON, N.C. - A community came together this week to raise awareness of bullying after the recent loss of a teen girl.
Parents, teachers and students gathered to learn about bullying prevention and remember the girl who they said was gone too soon.
More than 70 people packed into Davidson United Methodist Church, listening intently to a presentation on bullying.
The Davidson community gathered to learn more about all forms of bullying and suicide prevention. The idea for the program came about after the death of 17-year-old Jocelyn Desmond in March.
Many of her friends said he was bullied online.
“There were so many people who loved her,” said Senior Ben Hilse, one of Desmond’s close friends.
Hilse believes it was cyberbullying that caused the girl to take her life.
“The whole cyberbullying thing, it’s an issue that not a lot of people know about, especially parents,” Hilse said in a YouTube video made in Desmond’s memory.
He hopes the event will raise awareness.
"It's important for all age groups, and for parents to realize it when kids are being bullied. You know just to realize when someone is depressed and when they're, when they're struggling," he said.
Organizer and crisis management specialist Emily Grimes said she knew there was a need for the program in the Charlotte area.
"Community members were coming up to us and saying, ‘You know, what do we do? How we do we talk to our kids? Or are our kids more vulnerable now because this has happened?’” she said.
After the hour-long session, candles were lit for lives lost. As people left, they were encouraged to buy a bracelet in memory of Desmond.
"She was one to always stand up to the underdog, and stand up for kids who would be bullied, and I think she would just think that's a really great thing that the community is coming together in memory of her - to try and make a difference," Hilse said.
The proceeds from the bracelets go to a bullying prevention organization.
To see the complete presentation, click here.