After years of relentless bullying by classmates, 13-year-old Rosalie Avila of Yucaipa, CA, decided to take her own life. The teen hanged herself on Nov. 28, leaving behind a note apologizing to her parents for the pain she knew her death would cause them. “‘Sorry, Mom and Dad. I love you… Sorry, Mom, you’re gonna find me like this,'” Avila’s last written message to them read, CBS Los Angeles reported.
Declared brain dead on Dec. 1, she was taken off life support Dec. 4. Rosalie, who her parents said dreamed of becoming a lawyer, also left behind a journal detailing the bullying she endured for years while attending Mesa View Middle School. Her story has an eerie resemblance to the premise on Netflix’s drama series 13 Reasons Why. Based on the novel by Jay Asher, the show is about a teenage girl who records 13 reasons why she ended her life, most of which revolve around the mistreatment she experienced from peers.
Her parents, Freddie and Charlene Avila, who believe the school did not take appropriate measures to stop the bullies that tormented their daughter, are also being harassed by internet trolls. The Avilas claim they’ve received memes that have appeared on social media making fun of their daughter’s death.
“It’s so heartless, so mean to do that. And it’s not funny, it’s not funny to see that image of your daughter and to be mocked like she’s crap, and she’s not. That’s my daughter,” Charlene told Fox 11. “The things that they post on social media about my daughter are unacceptable. The people that liked it and fed into it: It’s painful and it makes me angry to know that they have no heart.”
The Avilas told media outlets they reported Rosalie’s bullies to the school’s authorities, but they felt not enough was done to stop those who continually harassed her. “Right now, the bullies are still there. They were suspended for a couple days and then they come back and bully someone else,” her father said to Fox 11.
The Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District released a statement on Dec. 4, which reads, in part: “We are working closely with detectives at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Yucaipa Station in their investigation into allegations of bullying.”
The family has also received an outpouring of love and support online from members of their community. “She reflects beauty inside and out from those pictures, the world just lost something special. My prayers to her family. Truly sorry for your loss,” one person wrote. Another added: “She was so pretty. So sad how kids treat each other. Prayers to the family.”