WASHINGTON - A girl was found dead of apparent suicide at a boarding school in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, according to officials.
D.C. police said they were investigating at the SEED School of Washington D.C. after the 12-year-old girl was discovered at about 6:15 a.m. The girl's roommates had found her unconscious. Paramedics could not revive her.
Parents told FOX 5 they received a call from the school to come pick up their kids in the early morning. For many, it hit way too close to home.
"It kind of touched me really deep because of the situation that has been happening with my son at this school," explained Mami Buxton.
Buxton had to pull her son out of the SEED after two years of bullying.
"It was disturbing to hear it had happened to someone else's child," she said. "I'm heartbroken."
After two years of reporting bullying, Buxton said her son was sexually assaulted by another student. She told FOX 5 she is still trying to get a resolution from SEED. Buxton said there is a culture of bullying at the boarding school that is not being addressed.
"I know first-hand what it's like for [students], considering the situation with my own son and how he feels about how they operate when it comes to situations as far as bullying is concerned," added Buxton. "He feels no one is listening and no one is helping."
Buxton filed a police report the day of the alleged sexual assault. She has also been trying to get incident reports from the school since it happened more than two weeks ago.
In response to Buxton's allegations, the SEED School of Washington D.C. released the following statement:
"The safety and security of our students is our top priority, and we have stringent procedures in place to protect our students. Any time an incident is reported, we take all precautions to immediately ensure the students' safety. We then launch a thorough internal investigation, involving the parents of the involved students throughout the process. Our protocols are designed to protect not only our students' and families' safety, but their confidentiality. We are constantly reviewing these protocols in order to strengthen them wherever possible."
Though the circumstances behind the 12-year-old's suicide are unknown at this time, there is growing concern over the rise in youth suicide - which is particularly high among young black women between the ages of 12 and 24.
"I'm just devastated from what I have heard today," said Phyllis Williams, who has lived in the neighborhood next to SEED for the last 25 years. "Our kids are our future. We have to do better at communicating with our youth."
SEED, which is located in the 4300 block of C Street in Southeast D.C., states it is the nation's first public charter college-preparatory boarding school.
SEED originally released the following statement to FOX 5 regarding the 12-year-old student's death:
We are deeply saddened to report that a SEED DC student unexpectedly passed away this morning. This is of course a terrible tragedy for the family first and foremost as well as for the entire SEED community. We ask that you respect the privacy of the family and of our community of scholars and teachers in their mourning. We can provide no further information at this time.