Sixteen-year-old McKenna Brown of Palm Harbor, Florida, loved playing hockey, spending time with her family, hanging out with friends, and practicing her faith.
She was also a daughter, sister, and best friend who was known as the “glue that held a lot of groups together.”
But, on August 7, the East Lake High School student tragically took her own life due to bullying just a few days before beginning her senior year.
McKenna’s death has left the Palm Harbor community in shambles, and parents Cheryl and Hunter Brown have begun speaking out against bullying and advocating for compassion among teens.
According to the Browns, their daughter had been a frequent target of “physical and emotional abuse.”
“She was broken. She was hurt. She was alone. She felt like she did not belong, but she chose to suffer in silence because she never said, ‘I need help,'” Hunter said.
Now, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has launched an open investigation into the events leading up to McKenna’s death.
In the meantime, though, the Brown family hopes that McKenna’s story will inspire young adults to be more mindful of their words and actions toward others.
Facebook; pictured above is McKenna
Sign up for Chip Chick’s newsletter and get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.