Family Blames Bullying In 10-Year-Old Girl’s Suicide

UPDATED 11/14/11 5:19 a.m.

RIDGE FARM, Ill. (CBS) – The family of a 10-year-old girl in east central Illinois says intense bullying caused the fifth-grader to kill herself late last week.

Two weeks ago, Ashlynn Conner told her mom she was being bullied at Ridge Farm Elementary School, where she was an honor student. She was also being bullied in the neighborhood.

But the girl’s mother says she never expected her daughter would take her own life.

“I thought my kids are strong kids, and that my words for them for guidance and advice was going to have more weight than what these kids could be saying,” Stacy Conner told WCIA-TV on Sunday.

Ashlynn on Thursday asked her mother if she could be home-schooled, but the parent said no. The next day, the honor student hanged herself in a closet by using a scarf. A sibling found her.

The girl’s family is hoping their story will help other children who may be struggling to cope with bullies.

“I don’t know what it’s going to take to stop it, but no child should ever have to feel like they have to kill themselves to stop that kind of pain,” Stacy Conner says.

In a news release, Ashlynn’s school district said counseling will be available Monday for students. A visitation was planned for Tuesday.

Ridge Farm is about 40 miles southeast of the University of Illinois campus at Champaign-Urbana.

  • Toonces

    Mom should have called the police if the school would not intervene….and if all else fails a billy club would do the trick.

    • Child, Please!

      Agreed. This story didn’t detail any action taken by Mom. Shame on her! Do you honestly think giving kids pep talks and denying home-school alone is the answer?

      Parents: you have to make your presence KNOWN @ your kids schools. It’s your right to request parent-to-parent conferences moderated by school administration.

      I nip my kid’s issues in the bud, letting both parents and administrators know that I have absolutely no problem protecting my child @ ANY cost — including giving her permission to knock any bully the f**k out; followed up with filing a police report detailing self-defense, which would be immediately followed up with a lawsuit.

      I always record names of witnesses and all participants that are bullying, dates of incidents, along with action (if any) taken by the school. Administrators act quickly because they really don’t want me coming in the school.

      How unfortunate that kids who clearly are not being raised become the problems of those who are.

      * sigh * RIP, sweet Ashlynn.

      • JGB

        Toonces and Child, Please, you two are acting like cyber bullies against the mom. Let her grieve in peace and let’s give her our support. How horrible for what she is going through. She doesn’t need to read posts like yours. You didn’t walk in her shoes. I can’t imagine what she is going through.

      • J CROSS

        This mother obviously,has never been the victim of bullying! i’M SURE SHE’S BLAMING HERSELF.sHE NEEDS OUR PRAYERS NOW.Iknow what bullying is like.As a child,Iwas overweight,but I was stronger than many kids in my school:so Ioften stood up for the kids who could not! Kids have always picked on others for all kinds of reasonsi including jealousy etc.It seems like it has become uglier because our schools don’t take enough responsibility & parents are too busy working to or too damn busy doing their own thing! Often it maybe a one parent household!I know alot about that! i was a single mom to 2 daughters..They were both bullied in school also.The oldest was a stronger person than the youngr one .I finally had to go to the school for the youngest one .Imade that the principle as well as the other students parents what was going.Often thebullier is raised by abully.We as parents need to communicate with our kids & teach them respect for others & more importantly for themselves regardless of another person race,color or creed.If we don’t stop this kind of behavior NOW ,OUR country will continue this growing disease of hatred.I would like our children to love themselves ;therefore love each other so that we can be a contry that raises people who have integrity & are happy! Then maybe we can poss change our world!

      • Adrienne

        As a mother sitting back and allowing the school to deal with this type of problem is something I will never do. I will take actions into my own hands and put an end to this myself. Parents, stop telling your children to deal with it, ignore it, or tell the school, IT’S YOUR DUTY AND JOB TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!

      • Adrienne

        I agree with everything you have written. I’m not one of those parents that twiddling my thumbs waiting on someone else to help my children, I’m going to take action myself by going to that bully and let him/her know that I will kick your ass, your mother ass, your father ass, and whomever else ass if you don’t leave my child(ren) alone. I will take matters into my own hands before my children ever feels like they need to take their life because of some sorry ass punk (s)!

    • Edward F. Dragan

      My deep condolances to the family. Unfortunatly, this is a growing pattern in our nation. Many times schools don’t take the cries of students to heart and don’t often respond to parents who communicate with them. Schools have a duty to protect students from harm, including the harm from bullying. State laws require schools to have anti-bullying policies but most parents do not know that their state has a law and that the school has a policy. Even so, schools tend to sweep these things under the carpet and present the best face. “We don’t have bullying in out school,” is often the montra.

      Edward F. Dragan, EdD, author, “The Bully Action Guide: How to Help Your Child and Get Your School to Listen.”

    • Ray

      oh well, it’s her decision to kill herself. 99.99 percent of the kids that get bullied don’t kill themselves. The only way a kid thinks to kill herself at the age of 10, is to have been hearing constantly through the media how other kids were taking that way out. The media is to blame for this one. Why would anyone blame the mother or the school? the mother did what she could do, and it shouldn’t be up to the schools to hold everyones hand. I don’t feel sorry for the kids that kill themselves at all. I’ve been bullied, and I didn’t go out and hang myself.

      • Too much Govt

        @ Ray… you obviously don’t have kids. Although I will agree with you on the media part, I think everyone at one point has been bullied, and this little girl had asked for help… point is this could have been prevented. I feel sorry that she thought the only way out was suicide, too many kids think like that now days… its the easy way out… easy for who?? Definately not her parents, and the rest of her family and friends…

    • Too much Govt

      I am not above taking matters into my own hands if someone is threatening my kids, I dont care how old they are… if your own parents wont discipline you then I will…and you wont like it. This is the governments fault… the parents cant do a thing to discipline their kids anymore, the kids know it, and they know they can get away with murder and there isn’t a damn thing the parents can do about it. Coming from a guy who used to get a beatdown from my parents… when I deserved it. I didnt turn out too bad, all these politics are making our kids soft. My kids know that if they go to school and bully someone, and I find out about it they will get bullied by me, and if they want to call DCFS on me then so be it, but they will understand how they made the other kid feel, and then I will dial the number for them… seems to be working. I haven’t been called to the school yet. My thoughts and prayers go out to this young lady’s family. Tragic.

    • Adrienne

      @ Toonces, a billy club, a car jack, a hammer, a bat, anything to protect mine. I’m not going to sit back and wait on the school, the police, or anyone else to protect my children. It’s my motherly duty to defend my children!

    • ruthsims

      Yes, the bullies are to blame. They didn’t raise themselves. Put the blame where it belongs: the parents of the bullies, and the schools and churches they attended and the other adults who set the examples and the rules.

      The little beasts who did the bullying did not make themselves that way. Every one of those who bullied that child should have been forced to view the preparations for burial.

      I was appalled at the number of people who automatically blame the grieving mother. We don’t know what they did or didn’t do. All that is known is that, as many people would, Mom told the girl home schooling was not an option. But then, it’s always so easy, isn’t it, to do the “I wouldn’t have” tap-dance when it’s somebody else’s life.



      • RealityIsDisgusting

        Seriously? You are asking President Obama to have Bully Camps? What a bandaid to the real solution. We need to strengthen families. We need parents to teach their children respect and we need families – INTACT! We need parents to STAY together, work things out so children LEARN how to work things out when things get tough, and we need supportive neighbors and friends to keep everyone accountable. I had neighbor’s parents who would ask me what i was doing and correcting me if I was doing something wrong in the neighborhood. I was also certain my mom would hear about it. We need to stop teaching our children BY our lack of teaching!

  • Sandy Morgan

    Wow! With what the family is already going through and now you all want to blame the mom for not doing enough??? Don’t you think she probably blames herself as it is??? Don’t you think she wishes she had an idea how bad it was??? C’mon! Talk about bullying! I as a parent will be the first to say my daughter has came home on several occasions complaining of kids “pokin fun”, she wants highlights or brand name clothes cause “so n so” is “popular” and has them. I always ask “did u tell anyone?”. And I get “yes, but they say no tattling!”. I try to give the mom talk that we nEed to b the bigger person and if it doesn’t hurt us….stick and stones… I admit…..sometimes kids fib oR over react to things and my daughter is always upbeat and happy….think I won’t react a bit differently now?? But, in the meantime, I wouldn’t jump to blame the mom here…should u maybe be looking in the mirror and see if your not teaching your kids bullying…I mean cmon…picking on a distrAught mom after her baby took her life??? Think about it!

    • lisa

      This is really a sad story…God bless this family and Sandy I agree with you, I hate to think she didn’t see a way out of this…my heart goes out to her and her family. RIP lil Ashlynn

    • Someone who's been there

      I agree. However, if we go in the way-back machine about 30 years and have this take place in Champaign, this was me. The difference? I knew I had to grow a tough skin, and I’m all the better for it. I’m resilient, am able to handle a crisis well under pressure, and I don’t let cruel words hurt me anymore…all this, because I was a target of bullying. Yeah, it took me a while to get here, but the fact of the matter is that I’m still here.

      Parents need to teach their kids to be more resilient and that the world is a mix of the kind and the cruel. If they’re able to really find good friends and get that support, who cares what the rest of them say? Acceptance is all and good, but not at the expense of who you are as a person. Popularity is overrated if you live your life with integrity.

  • 10-year-old takes own life due to bullying | punchline_chi

    […] Get the full story here. family-blames-bullying-for-10-year-old-girls-suicide […]

  • suzy diamond

    This is really tragic AND very sad but I don’t understand why bullying is any different now then when I was in school. I was bullied something terrible and on a regular basis but never thought of suicide. Why is it that kids are not able to cope with anything these days?

    • ruthsims

      One huge difference: technology. A bullied child can NEVER get away from it. In our day a bullied kid could go home, get away from the monsters. Now they have access to him/her twenty-four-seven through computers, texting, tweets, etc etc etc. It never ends. How does a child cope with that? If these things had existed when I was a child I would have been a victim. But I could go home and shut the door and read a book. There is no escape for bullied kids today, partly because parents think like you do, that they should just be able to “cope” with it, not realizing how endless it is.

  • Debbie

    How tragic..but to blame the cruel and insensitive..but typical…could it have been handled differently probably..but the result could have been the same, well never know and neither will the parents…the thing that struck me as ironic is that the school officials will now offer who? the bullies?The school needs to address the bullying and work with the police on such issues to prevent further tragedies…dont misunderstand Im not blaming the schools( unless they were aware of the actions and did nothing)but they have the largest venue for getting the message out there….Im also sad that we live in a society where a 10 year even knows about suicide or how to commit it:( RIP baby girl and may your death be not in vein…

  • Vicky Kujawa

    With the way that some parents are, it is little wonder that their children are bullies. I just tell my sons that I had better not hear of them being a bully; so far, so good! If someone bullies them or if they see someone being bullied, they know to go to the teacher right away…and if no action is taken I told them to defend themselves as they see fit, with my blessing.

  • Guest

    Some schools are not dealing with bullying properly. Some of the schools take it very seriously and deal with it immediately. I’ve even heard of parents of a child being bullied on Facebook going to the home of the bully and talking with the parents. They basically told them if it doesn’t stop, they are going to take it to the police and the school district. It stopped.

  • molly sanjuan

    My heart and prayers go out to the family this is so sad unbelieveable that a 10 year lil girl would kno what or how to commit sucide its very tragic I’m so sorry rip baby girl

  • Barbara

    I hope the mother finds closure and kno its not her fault…

  • Former IL Resident...


  • Been there

    My son was horribly bullied in grade school. I did everything I could possibly do to stop it. My son never wanted to leave the school and never wanted to be home schooled. We often asked him if he wanted to switch schools but he always said he did not. I went nose to nose with the principle many times, all the teachers, I went to the bullying kids parents, I even went straight up to the kids myself and told them what they were doing was very,very wrong, but I never went to the police. In retrospect, I should have. My son was assaulted more than once. The school principle and the monsignor of the parish did absolutely nothing. The kids should have been expelled. What they did affects my son to this very day and he is now in his late 20’s. This was happening in the mid 90’s. This story makes me more than sad, it makes me sick and very angry. I always thought my son might not be able to take it anymore and do something drastic, but he hung in and shouldered his pain, and now that he is an adult, he can fend for himself. But, this is so tragic to read about this little girl. To this day I am haunted by what my son endured. I give my him major credit for what he was able to handle with such strength and dignity on a daily basis from a group of rotten, spoiled, snot-nosed kids. I hope I never run into any of them again.

  • Katie

    Bulling is against the law and needs to stop. This is horrible situation for this entire family, friends and community. Sure hope someone steps up to the plate and fight for the right of all children that are being bullied.

    My thoughts and prayer go out to the family and friends. Yes it the parents responsibility to protect the children. School has a real responsibility as well. Something more was going on than what is in this article. We can all sit back and make judgment on this situation, but no one really know the entire truth. R I P Ashlynn, and god help this family and friends guide them. They will never understand what really happen. Help them move on.

  • Shari

    I feel terrible everytime I read a story about a child committing suicide, regardless of their age. I wish there were a law in effect: Any person involved with bulling another child and the child commits suicide, the person(s) involved in the bulling would be charged with invoulantary manslauter. If the ones bulling are children, then they should have to do community service and it be on their record for the rest of their lives. Bullying needs to be taken seriously. Parents need to teach their children to be kind to each other. God be with Ashlynn Conner’s family. I am so sorry for your families loss.

  • stacey

    I’m sure there are plp who knew who the bullies are and I believe they should be sent away from their familiesfor at least 2yrs and then be revaluted by peers that were associted with them to see if they have changed if not they can not go back home for 3yrs and so on! I wonder if parents of bullies know they are raising evil monsters!!

  • Becky

    This story horrified me! A 10-year-old child committing suicide becausd no adult came to her aid. The school is under scrutiny now AND THE BULLIES will get counseling to help THEM cope with the tragedy THEY caused!!

  • Diary Gimp

    I remember being bullied in school. I was considered among the top five untouchables of the school because of the social pariah atmosphere built around me from when I moved into the school district in primary school. It followed me from primary school to highschool, when I finally figured out how to get away from the kids I was forced to be with day in and day out, and create a new social network. Until that point I thought of suicide many times. I loved the learning part of school, but the social part of school was constant physical, emotional and mental harassment. I bet many of those kids who participated explicitly or implicitly would never count themselves among the type of bullies who can make a persons life so miserable they want to kill themselves. We often aren’t willing to look at how much we hurt others when judging the sins of the world.

  • RIP Little Child

    This makes me mad that a 10 year child would think this is the only way out of being bullied.

    How long was this going on?
    Who did she try to talk to?
    Someone had to see something, why wasn’t this stopped?
    Why did not ANYONE LISTEN TO HER?


    RIP LITTLE ASHLYNN , you sure did not deserve to think this was the only way to solve this problem. Adults should have been there for you.

  • ???

    how did ten year old girl even know what “killing herself” is? like shes TEN! poor child.

  • Lisa

    My heart goes out to this Baby’s family. For anyone to judge her mother is cruel, shame on those of you who have all the answers, kinda just like a bully.

    • Maria

      I agree. We shouldn’t be so quick to judge. The family is suffering enough. All we can do is learn from this and evolve as a society. We NEED to remind our children that words hurt! Different children take bullying harder than others. We need to step in as adults. School faculty especially needs to open their eyes.

  • When Our Kids Speak…Listen | The Daddy Difference

    […] a VERY disturbing story on Facebook today, and I’ll briefly share it with you. It’s the story of Ashlynn Conner, a 10-year-old little girl from Ridge Farm, Illinois who committed suicide last […]

  • Maria

    RIP baby girl Im so sorry you had to go like this. I was bullied..I felt low at times but never suicidal. I struggled in silence a lot of the time. Parents PLEASE please talk to your kids about being nice to others. Words hurt! And encourage them to talk to you about their issues at school!! I cant believe this happened..too young!

  • pak31

    We all know that bullying has been around since the dawn of time, plus, it’s never going to go away, it’s human nature to many. The problem is that the schools shouldn’t tolerate it for a second. If a child or chihldren are being bullies, then their parents should be notified immediately. Same goes with the one being bullied. From a pyschological standpoint, most of us know that the bully really isn’t tough or cool, they are insecure about themselves and/or get enjoyment out of watching an innocent child suffer. For the child being bullied, in my opinion, to actually go to the extreme and kill yourself over it shows that there is more going on with that child than just being picked on. Most kids don’t like being picked on but they brush it off, get parents help, or don’t give the bully the satisfaction. Something is really wrong for a person who would rather die than ignore a jerk. I am not blaming the victims I am just questioning what is going on in the minds of these children. I was a weak kid, if I got picked on it hurt but never ever would I ever ever even consider ending my life nor would I know really how to do it at the age of 10. I just wonder if this girl had issues going on deeper than the bullying and if the mom did not see it. I can’t see how at that young age you wouldn’t be able to tell your child is not right.

  • A. Loftus

    My deep condolence to the family of Ashlynn Conner. I know how devastated it could be for her family. My daughter has an experience of bullying, too. She was then 7 years old, an honour student, was bullied at school by her own classmate. When she was complaining about it I listened to her and tried to figure it out how to stop it. In the beginning, I advised her to report it to her teacher, to avoid the bully, to stand up for herself, etc., but when bullying did not go away, I took action right away. As a mother, I would protect my daughter at any cost, esp. after I found out the verbal abuse became physical abuse. My husband and I reported to the principal right away and she called the bully whom later on we found out she’s the victim of child abuse herself at home. Felt sorry for the bully, yes, of course, but her actions need to be stopped! To make the story short, we finally decided to withdraw our daughter from that school, unfortunately, because we found out more bullying happened at the school yard and bus. Because of my daughter’s experience with bullying, I founded an art project: Peace,Love and Hope with a sincere wish to stop bullying at schools. I think every child needs to know that it’s better off doing something GOOD (random act of kindness) rather than bullying his/ her friend. Kids need to be taught the IMPACT of bullying – Bad words and actions can really kill.

  • Christian Blogs News Alert – Our Children are Dying. | Teri Pickens

    […] in east central Illinois, was found by a sibling in a closet after she had hanged herself. She told her mother two weeks before her death that she was being bullied, CBS Chicago reports.  Stacy Conner, the girl’s mother, told WCIA-TV that students had been […]

  • Children Committing Suicide – Sign of the End Times? | Teri Pickens

    […] in east central Illinois, was found by a sibling in a closet after she had hanged herself. She told her mother two weeks before her death that she was being bullied, CBS Chicago reports.  Stacy Conner, the girl’s mother, told WCIA-TV that students had been […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live