“I cant, im done, I give up.” 15-year-old Felicia Garcia tweeted on Monday. Two days later, she killed herself by falling in the path of a train at the Huguenot station on Staten Island. The New York Daily News reports that Garcia, a freshman at Tottenville High School, was literally “bullied to death” by her classmates, right up to her fatal jump off the train platform in front of nearly 200 students, some of them yelling “sexually explicit jeers” at her.
Garcia was living with a foster family as her parents had passed away; she was a chronic runaway who had been reported missing seven times. Her Instagram account bore signs of her unhappiness in the form of a photo of herself with the words “Depressed” over her eyes and the caption, “Just because someone is smiling doesn’t make them happy.”
As a classmate, Kayla Gonzalez, told SILive.com, “She was like an outgoing person. She was always happy and I’ve never really see her miserable.”
A Sad, Too-Short Life
According to police, Garcia had sex with four football players at a post-game party on Saturday. The New York Daily News says that, on Monday, Garcia told a friend that the sex was consensual. Afterwards, two 17-year-old football players kept harassing her. As a senior named Victoria also told the New York Post, the bullying continued online: “This poor girl was called a slut. She was teased on Facebook.” A friend of Garcia who asked to have her identity withheld said that students “just kept bullying her and bullying her.”
School officials learned of the bullying and, on Wednesday, arranged a mediation session with one of the 17-year-old boys and a counselor. The 17-year-old denied harassing Garcia who apparently ran into him afterwards and “exchanged words.” It was after this that Garcia went to the train station and took her life.
A senior, Alissa Compitello, saw Garcia on the way to the train station and said she was smiling, “like everything was going to be okay.”
Another student who was on the platform beside Garcia said that her last words were “Finally, it’s here.”
Students Questioned About Bullying Garcia
The four football players with whom Garcia allegedly had sex are being questioned by detectives, as are the students accused of harassing her verbally and on Facebook and other social media sites. A police source says that the four football players are saying that “at no time was the victim pressured into doing anything.”
The Tottenville Board of Education has sent a crisis team to the high school and a spokesperson for New York City’s Department of Education has been informed of Felicia’s death. The New York Police Department is also reportedly investigating claims that bullying was a key reason for Garcia’s suicide.
As SILive.com says, Garcia died “roughly 10 months after 15-year-old Amanda Cummings was fatally injured after jumping in front of a city bus on Hylan Boulevard.” Cummings’ family say she was “bullied and tormented by her peers” but police say they could “find no evidence” that bullying played a role in her death.
How Many More Times Do We Have To Hear About Tragedies Like This?
As Garcia’s friend, 15-year-old Stephanie Imparato, said ”I hope the football team feels guilty for what they did to her. They were torturing her. How can you go through life being verbally assaulted like that? These guys are cruel and malicious.”
Will detectives take into account that Garcia was younger than the football players with whom she allegedly she had sex — who can know what really went on? Will Garcia’s death be a wake-up call that, whatever school districts are doing about bullying, it is not enough?
What’s especially heartbreaking, and sickening, is that, even as Garcia was taking her own life, classmates were still allegedly bullying her. Based on her Twitter and Instagram postings, Garcia was trying to communicate her despair but no one realized how hard she was crying for help, until it was too, too late. On Wednesday night, Garcia’s friends retweeted her final “I cant, im done, I give up” message, also writing their own messages including “The saddest part about this tweet is that no one knew she actually meant it.”
In this day and age, how can people not understand how much their words can effect another person? I don’t care what she did- she wasn’t deserving of a fate so fucking cruel. Yes, it was her choice to do what she did, and to end her own life and I’m happy there are many people out there who will never understand what it’s like to feel that low, but this is incredibly sad. The fact that people are cold enough to see someone ready to take their life and egg them on? Come on. That’s inhuman.