Vigil planned for Chilton County bullying victim


A candlelight vigil and anti-bullying event will be held in Clanton's Goose Pond Park tomorrow night to remember Dejia Lee, the 12-year-old student from Chilton County who took her own life earlier this month.

[See related story: 12-year-old driven to suicide over bullying]

Dejia's mother, Kisie Lee, says she believes her daughter driven to suicide because of bullying at school. Kisie Lee discovered her daughter hanging in a closet in their home on Saturday, Oct. 1. The 12-year-old was taken to Children's Hospital where she died on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Kisie Lee said she never knew her daughter had been bullied until after Dejia's death, when her friends began talking about it. An official investigation is looking into the cause of Dejia's death to determine if it was due to bullying.

A year ago, a 16-year-old Chilton County student named Alex Moore committed suicide after being bullied at school. Alex's mother Jill Moore is helping out with the vigil for Dejia Lee, and is continuing to work to pass the Alex Moore Anti-Bullying Act, which would require schools to notify parents if their child is being bullied.

The founder of the anti-bullying organization K.A.R.M.A. (Kids Against Ridicule, Meanness and Aggression), Jessica Brookshire, will speak at Dejia Lee's vigil Thursday. Brookshire is a former Miss Alabama contestant who speaks out against bullying in schools across Alabama and Georgia. The inspiration behind K.A.R.M.A.'s foundation is clear on their website: "There have been far too many suicides in young children as a result of bullying. This has to end," the site says.

Songs and prayers will also be a part of tomorrow night's candlelight vigil, organizer Regina Jones said. Dejia's mother and father, who traveled to Alabama from serving in Afghanistan to be at his daughter's side before she died, plan on attending.

"This is a positive event, one to remember Dejia and also informative to the public," Jones said. "If your child has been bullied, if your child is a bully, if you are curious then please come."

The outdoor vigil will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13 and will last around an hour. For more information or to volunteer to help with the vigil, contact Regina Jones at 205-245-3337.

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