Polk County teen's death brings bullying back into the spotlight
The Polk County community is mourning the loss of an 18-year-old student who took his own life this week. Patrick Griffin's family said he had endured daily bullying at school.
Patrick's mother, Doresa, thought the bullying was better this year, because Patrick hadn't mentioned anything about it in a long time. Now she hopes his story helps save someone else's life.
Doresa last saw her son just hours before he took his life on Thursday morning.
"He said 'Mama, I love you and I'll see you tonight.' I kissed him and told him I loved him, and I'd see him tonight. And it never happened," she cried.
Doresa and her other son, Raymond were in tears on Friday, just one day after Patrick's death.
"I just keep hoping I'll wake up and this will be a bad dream," Raymond said.
HOW TO HELP | Patrick's Funeral Fund
Patrick had issues with bullies before.
"There seems to be a bullying problem in this town. It started last year that he was being bullied," Raymond said.
The Griffins said kids had spread false rumors about Patrick making bomb threats and other things that weren't true.
But the senior was involved in several school clubs. His mom said he could ace all his classes without even having to open a book, and was set to attend Tennessee Tech in the fall. Patrick had dreams of becoming a lawyer.
"I thought things were better. He never mentioned it to me, but two of his little friends have told us he was being bullied every day," Doresa said.
"You wouldn't see it going on, but you would hear about some of the stuff that was said," said Jordan Johnson, one of the teen's old friends.
"People need to realize some of the stuff they say really does hurt others more than they realize it does," said Johnson.
Doresa and Raymond had just left the school after speaking with administrators on Friday.
"They are investigating and trying to figure out who the bullies were," the Griffins said.
"I don't want to see another child go through what my child went through," said Doresa. "Save somebody's life. Make it stop."
Patrick's family is trying to raise money for funeral costs. The 18-year-old didn't have life insurance.
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