NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a nightmare no parent ever wants to live– preparing for the funeral of their 12-year-old daughter Tarhiya Sledge.
They say she took her own life earlier this week, unable to cope with the bullying they say she endured at J.F.Kennedy Middle school in Antioch.
“Physical assault, for example, there’s an allegation that a trash can had been thrown at her, another incident where her hair had been pulled so hard that the hair locks came out and nothing was done,” the family’s attorney Roland Mumford told News 2.
The family hired Mumford to investigate any possible negligence at the hands of the school district.
“The mother put the JFK middle school on notice in writing, email, and in-person countless times in the last 90 days and they failed to take action,” Mumford said.
The Metro-Nashville Public Schools told News 2 there have been 13 reports of bullying at JFK so far this school year, they say only two were confirmed. However, they cannot comment on who was involved or the consequences.
But Mumford says he’s already gathered six names of students who may have taken part in bullying Tarhiya.
“There could be more, a number of them were on the cheerleading squad and football players,” he said.
The district did confirm that they’ve held conferences with the cheer team to “help them better deal with thoughts and feelings.”
Mumford adds Tarhiya was in special education and he says that could possibly equate to a federal discrimination suit.
“We will most likely be filing a cause of action against the metro school board in either state or federal court,” Mumford said.
A Facebook post on Tarhiya’s mother’s account also asks for parents or students at JFK who witnessed the bullying to help provide statements.
Tarhiya’s stepfather told News 2 that they are hoping to hold a system accountable for not “doing their job.”
The school district tells News 2 they are conducting their own investigation of bullying at J. F. Kennedy.