Angel Green: Teen's Suicide Moves Indiana Anti-Bullying Initiative Forward

"It's bullying that killed me," reads 14-year-old Angel Green's suicide note to her mother. "Please get justice."

In the wake of the Indiana 8th grader's shocking public suicide last month, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would require school districts to report bullying incidents in an annual performance report. The bill would also require teachers and other staff to be trained on bullying prevention measures, and would hold schools accountable for situations that get out of hand. This is a long overdue measure and it should not have taken another young person's suicide to be considered.

Angel Green's body was found hanging from a tree next to her bus stop, where she knew her bullies would see the lengths to which she had gone "to be saved from the pain" of their relentless torture. They called her a "slut" and a "whore," told her she was worthless, teased her for her appearance, and even tormented her upon learning that her father had been arrested for assaulting her.

Now, Angel's mother Danielle is pushing for legislation that she hopes will save other children in her daughter's situation.

"I want the schools to have more training and I want the kids and everybody to have support and resources for how to handle it," said Danielle Green, a staunch supporter of Indiana's House Bill 1423.

The grieving mother took her story to the Indiana General Assembly last week, along with several mothers who made the trip in solidarity. One of them was Lana Swoape, whose 15-year-old committed suicide after being bullied.

"It's getting out of hand," said Swoape. "We're losing more kids every day."

Although both the Indiana House and Senate Committee on Education and Career Development have passed the bill, it still must face the full Senate before it can be signed into law. Also, the Indiana Family Institute (IFI), a conservative group, opposes the bill on the grounds that it impedes free speech.

"The bill mandates that school corporations address 'bullying' issues (under the new over broad and vague definition) anywhere they occur," said the IFI's website. "This could potentially include minor squabbles between students at a weekend sleepover."

But the bill would only target instances of bullying that threaten a student's safe school environment, and according to Mindi Goodpaster of the Marion County Commission, is completely constitutional.

Added former Marion County Prosecutor Scott Newman, "It was such a modest bill that identifies bullying problems and allows for prevention and training. That's it. But people decided to take that on, and they said their concerns are the First Amendment."

An amendment was adopted that would hopefully quiet some of these concerns, while still maintaining the bill's core tenets.

On the sidelines of the clerical drama, but at the forefront of the conversation, Danielle Green is refusing to stop fighting until her daughter's final wish is granted. The bullying her daughter endured for far too long was tragic and completely preventable. Her daughter's insistence that she try to improve the lives of other bullied children keeps her strong.

"My daughter's story is now heard," she said after the Senate Committee vote. "It gives my Angel wings."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Christine Salek

Christine is a writer and perpetual student living in Des Moines, Iowa. Her writing can also be found on Medium, the Gonzaga Bulletin, and ResearchGate.

MORE FROM

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.