Bullying not issue in teen suicide, say officials

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By Ben Hyatt

Funeral services were held Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Ware Funeral Home for the Harrison County Middle School student who took her own life last week..
According to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, Brandi Dawn Ballinger, 14, was discovered by her mother outside their residence on Bowman’s Mill Road Thursday, Oct. 4.
“The mother called 911 after she discovered her daughter laying in the front yard with a family owned pistol near her body,” said Detective Paul Olin.
According to Olin, Ballinger suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound but was still alive at the time she was found.
First responders arrived on scene where they worked to stabilize Ballinger while an emergency helicopter was called in to transport her to UK Hospital.
“The young girl was transported to UK the same night of the incident where she was placed in an Intensive Care Unit,” explained Olin. “Unfortunately, the young girl passed away Saturday, Oct. 6.”
Olin said a note was left behind by Ballinger leading authorities to believe that the incident was caused by a number of factors.
“Bullying played less of a role than other factors,” said Olin. “The investigation so far has lead us to believe there was little to no recent bullying problems for the young girl.”
Olin said due to rumor and social media, the bullying aspect has been magnified, which contradicts evidence found by the Sheriff’s Office.
“I cannot understand why issues like this lead to rumor and people talking about it on social media sites,” said Olin. “It is a problem in society that continues to lead to an assortment of issues that could be avoided.”
Harrison County Assistant Superintendent DeeGee Fischer said additional counselors were brought in Friday, Saturday evening and Monday for students to speak with.
“Our hearts and prayers go out for the family,” said Fischer. “It is always sad when we lose one of our students.”
Fischer said additional counseling will be made in the future for any student needing additional help coping with the sudden loss.