A Gulfport law firm is investigating potential liability in the death by suicide of Ocean Springs Middle School student Aubreigh Wyatt on Labor Day.
“We’re still investigating but, from what we’ve seen, Aubreigh was the victim of some pretty horrific harassment and bullying over the last several years, really,” said attorney Trevor Rockstad of Davis & Crump law firm.
Rockstad said the law firm wants to find out who allowed the bullying to continue for so long and hold those people accountable through a lawsuit.
Aubreigh had just started 8th grade when her life ended. She was a popular student, surrounded by friends in social media photos and always wearing a smile.
But one group of students, led by girls, started bullying her when she was in 5th grade at Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School, Rockstad said. He said members of the group targeted Aubreigh at school, at social events and on social media apps such as Snapchat.
She was called hateful, untrue names, he said. Her mother, Ocean Springs elementary school teacher Heather Wyatt, complained to school authorities and to parents of the bullies.
“She certainly was not a passive observer,” Rockstad said. “She tried to get it to stop.”
Aubreigh Wyatt popular despite bullying
But the taunting never stopped and untrue rumors about Aubreigh spread. Kids she knew from other areas of the Coast even heard them, the attorney said.
Aubreigh tried to enjoy life, despite the bullies. She was a member of the youth group at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, East Campus, and took comfort from her faith. In addition to her mother, Aubreigh left behind an older sister and a little brother.
Rockstad said he was speaking for the family because “Aubreigh’s family is going through a lot right now, and everyone is deep in grief over the loss of this sweet child.”
“She seemed to be a popular girl and had a lot of friends who weren’t bullying her, but this one group seemed to have it out for her.”
The Ocean Springs Police Department also is investigating Aubreigh’s death and has her phone records. The family is hoping for justice through criminal and civil court action, Rockstad said.
Schools, parents, students must act to stop bullying
Since her death, Aubreigh’s mother has spoken out against bullying on social media.
That messaging continued in a news release from Rockstad and his law firm:
“The plague of bullying and cyberbullying is a very real and present threat to our society, especially to our children and youth. If the perpetrators of this type of senseless and horrific behavior are not held accountable, this plague will continue to devastate our children.
“Parents, teachers, and school systems must be vigilant in preventing bullying. If they are not, they must be held accountable. Similarly, children must be taught that bullying hurts, traumatizes, and sometimes even kills its victims. If we do not address this problem now, we risk the safety of all of our children.”