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Family: Bullying caused teen's death

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POINTE COUPEE PARISH- A 17-year-old student at Pointe Coupee Parish Central High School hung herself on the side of the football stadium Friday.  Family members and people who knew her say she was bullied to death.

"I think she did it because she was bullied," The teen's uncle, Michael Derson, said.

Tesa Middlebrook had a lot going for her.  She had a 3.9 GPA and recently received a full ride to a four year college in Arizona.  Her artistic abilities and pictures she drew are the only items her family has left to remember her talent.

"She was an outgoing kid," Derson said.  "She was full of life."

On Friday, Derson knew something wasn't right when he received a call from his mom saying Middlebrook didn't get off the school bus.  Derson was helping raise Middlebrook after her mom passed away last year from cancer.  Derson immediately began looking for her.  When he showed up at the high school he made a horrifying discovery.  He found emergency vehicles and ambulances at the school.

"Unfortunately, I could see her body," Derson said.

News 2 has learned from sources close to the investigation that Middlebrook was hanging on the side of the football stadium for up to eight hours before she was discovered. When we asked administrators about how she went unnoticed for so long and about the bullying, they said there would be no comments.

Marlene Babin was Middlebrook's youth pastor.  She said kids teased her about everything.

"She was from Nebraska," Babin said.  "She was small in stature, very articulate when she spoke, used proper grammar and was very respectful and considerate."

"It really had an impact on her," Babin added. "She was saddened by it."

Babin said she wants anyone in the community to know if they are bullied, they can contact her at her church.

Family members say they believe the school's administrators need to be held accountable for what happened.  Middlebrook's grandmother met with a school administrator about bullying her granddaughter faced.

"My mom asked if they could help do something about what was going on," Derson said.

Derson claims nothing was done to stop the bullying until Middlebrook took her own life.

Advance Baton Rouge runs Pointe Coupee Central High School.  A statement was released late this afternoon, saying leaders are saddened by the student's loss.



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