Police Investigate if Bullying Led to 10-Year-Old Girl's Apparent Suicide

SANTA ANA (CNS) - Crisis counselors were on hand at a Santa Ana elementary school today in response to the apparent suicide of a 10-year-old student, and police were investigating whether bullying may have played a role in the girl's death.

Police were called Sunday night when the girl's 9-year-old sister found her body in the family residence in the 1500 block of North Newhope Street, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

Bertagna said the girl's death appeared to be a suicide, though no other details were released. He said, however, there were ``undertones of some bullying involved, so we're looking into that.''

Police are reviewing the girl's social media interactions on electronic devices, Bertagna said.

Officials with the Garden Grove Unified School District said counselors were on hand at Hazard Elementary School in response to the girl's death, but they said no determination had been made about whether she had been subject to bullying.

``We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of one of our students,'' according to a statement from the district. ``Crisis counselors continue to support the school to ensure students and staff have emotional support during this very difficult time.

``Santa Ana police have informed us that they are assessing any and all factors that may have contributed to this tragedy. While the media has reported rumors of bullying, SAPD has not yet concluded its investigation to determine what might have contributed to this action. We are working collaboratively with SAPD, awaiting the results of their investigation.''

The district noted that the school has a longstanding Positive Behavior Interventions and Support program and ``takes a proactive approach to promote a positive school culture.''

``Hazard Elementary, as well as the district as a whole, are committed to our district's Goal 2, developing personal skills in students, which includes their socio-emotional wellness and a warm and welcoming climate at school. Recently, the district launched a Choose Wellness Campaign aimed at increasing awareness and ensuring all students, staff and families have access to mental health and wellness support. Our district has a plethora of mental health resources and is committed to ensuring all students have a safe place to turn for emotional support.''

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