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Parents of 12-year-old Florida girl say she was bullied into suicide

Gabriella "Gabbie" Green's parents found her in her closet dead from apparent suicide. Her parents blame cyberbullying for her death. (Facbook)
Published Jan. 23, 2018

Gabriella "Gabbie" Green went to her mother, Tanya Green, for advice on some "girl drama" and harsh text and social media messages she was receiving from classmates at Surfside Middle School in Panama City Beach.

Less than an hour after that conversation on Jan. 10, Gabbie was found dead in her closet. She had completed suicide, the News Herald reported.

On Jan. 22, The Panama City Beach Police Department announced that two 12-year-olds had been charged with cyberstalking in relation to her death, according to WJHG.

Their names weren't released because they are juveniles, but Green confirmed with the News Herald that a boy and girl were involved.

PCBD's investigation found that cyberbullying took place around the time of her death, but an official ruling on the exact cause hasn't been released, WJHG reported.

However, Gabbie's parents believe that constant cyberbullying lead to Gabbie's death, and her school didn't do enough to prevent it.

"[Gabbie] left this world being bullied at school for this last year. We took it up with the school several times. They did nothing. Looking at her you wouldn't think she would have an issue being bullied. Beauties get bullied too," Tanya Green wrote on Facebook Jan. 12. "Why my baby let these two kids tell her to just do it, push her to just take her own life. I just don't know."

According to school records obtained by the News Herald, Gabbie was written up monthly for infractions in the beginning half of 2017. That changed to nearly weekly infractions in the latter half of the year.

RELATED: New law takes the battle against cyberbullying off campus

She received multiple detentions and suspensions for numerous infractions, including fighting, chewing gum, dress code violations and skipping class and detention, according to the News Herald.

Gabbie's parents said she was bullied soon after moving to Panama City Beach in October 2016, which led to the school's disciplinary actions. They aren't sure why the bullying started, but speculated that boy issues and Gabbie's friendly nature could be the root.

Most of the bullying took place via texts and social media platforms, including SnapChat. The messages eventually escalated to demands that Gabbie kill herself.

Shane Green, Gabbie's father, said he confronted school officials about the bullying, but didn't receive help.

"I went up there, and I never thought this would come to fruition," Shane Green told the News Herald. "And I said, 'Someone's going to end up dead.'"

Bill Husfelt, superintendent of Bay County Schools, said on Monday that the school district won't comment on the situation until they look over PCBPD's investigation.

"We continue to mourn the loss of Gabbie and our hearts go out to her family, her friends and to everyone at Surfside Middle School," Husfelt told the News Herald. "This is an absolutely tragic situation and our counselors have been at Surfside since we first found out about Gabbie's death. The counselors have been, and will continue to be, an invaluable resource for the students, and faculty and staff, at this difficult time and they will be available as long as they are needed."

Tanya Green said that she was satisfied with the arrests and said it would lead to changes at Surfside Middle School.

"It's going to help others at her school," Tanya Green told the News Herald. "It's going to start at her school. It's going to help others around the world."

Friends and loved ones flooded Green's Facebook with messages of support and posted tribute videos on YouTube. Gabbie is remembered as a fun, intelligent and competitive girl who participated in softball and gymnastics. She also enjoyed art.

"[Gabbie] as I said was competitive. She beat everyone. She beat us! She beat us and her 4 siblings, myself and my husband to Heaven," Green wrote on Facebook Jan. 12. "Gabriella is a beautiful Angel that just made heaven that much more of a spectacular destination. Love our girl to heaven and back."

Contact Donovan Harrell at dharrell@tampabay.com. Follow @dono_harrell.

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