WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Classmates and neighbors in Winterville are mourning the loss of a student this week.
The suicide of 12-year old Kayla Plotzke is the subject of a number of viral social media posts and it’s bringing attention to the damage bullying can cause.
Kayla attended A.G. Cox Middle school and news of her death is a shock to many in the community.
Jennifer Johnson, Pitt County Schools public information officer, says a full crisis team is in place to help Kayla’s classmates.
The district provided the following statement to 9OYS:
“Pitt County Schools and AG Cox staff members were devastated to learn of the unexpected and untimely death of a Pitt County Schools student. We are grieving along with the family and the community. At this time, we are focused on providing emotional support, resources, and grief support to all who are in need. A full crisis team has been on campus serving the students and staff of AG Cox and will continue to monitor and identify those who may need additional follow-up beyond this week. Families can reach out to any PCS school counselor or school social worker for additional resources and referrals. We ask community members or anyone who is in need of resources to reach out to agencies who provide good emotional, physical, mental and crisis care. Excellent around-the-clock resources for our community include Crisis Chat at www.integratedfamilyservices.net, Mobile Crisis at 1-866-437-1821 or by simply dialing 211 from any mobile phone or going to 211.org to access a full clearinghouse of community resources, including immediate crisis help.”
Bullying is not a new topic of concern and it continues to have a large impact on the emotional health of young people.
Some neighbors and business owners are stepping up to support the Plotzke family at this time and they are planning to hold an anti-bullying rally and community yard sale.
The proceeds will go to the Plotzke family.
It will be held on March 1 at the Nulook Business Center from 2PM-5PM located at 406 SW Greenville Blvd.
Community members say it’s important for families to connect, and look for signs of trouble in children’s lives.
Shelia Leggette is one of the organizers and she says, “It has really hit the community hard and we need to get out there and make these kids aware of what you’re doing. You’re thinking it’s fun and games, but it really lays heavy on the person that you’re picking at.”
People involved in helping Kayla’s family tells 9OYS they want to see the community rally together during this time.
They also want to bring more awareness to the problem of bullying.
Shelia Leggette held a fundraiser March 1st, with all proceeds going to the family.
There was a bounce house, food, and other items for sale.
Music, dancing, and a prayer were also said, and Sheriff Paula Dance spoke on behalf of the Pitt County Sheriff’s Departments, with a goal to fight bullying.
An Anti-Bullying Rally was held March 8th at Premier Sports Academy in Winterville.
The event ran from 11am to 4pm, with all proceeds from the event going to the Plotzke family.
Community members say their goal is to continue hosting anti-bullying rallies in the future, and eventually create a Kayla Foundation.
The foundation would go towards helping those who are struggling with mental health and being bullied.
Additionally, there is a GoFundMe set up for the Plotzke family. You can donate here.