A HEARTBROKEN mother whose teenage daughter committed suicide has spoken out on the terrible toll of bullying.
Clever, popular and with dreams of being a police officer, 16-year-old Britney Mazzoncini took her own life in July after suffering merciless taunting online and from bullies at her school.
Now, in her first interview about the tragedy, Britney’s mother Annette told how the scourge of bullying had become the “sickness of the 21st Century” and called for urgent help for victims.
Annette, 35, spoke out as a Sunday Post probe reveals that more than 2000 children a year are falling victim to bullying.
Annette said: “The numbers The Sunday Post has uncovered are horrendous and spell out the huge toll of heartbreak out there. It needs to stop before more young people take their own lives and anyone suffers the distress of losing a child.
“I speak to other mums who have lost children through this and the pain never goes away.”
Britney had been a pupil at Rosshall Academy in Glasgow, where her family said a small group of bullies set out to make her life misery. She had left school a few weeks before she died and was hoping to join the police when she turned 17.
Annette said: “Britney had been bullied for years. She was a sensitive girl who took things to heart. It went on at Rosshall, but I always felt the school were unable to stop it. The bullying wrecked her confidence and no amount of love or praise could make it better.
“It continued on social media even after she left school. So-called Facebook friends also made horrendous comments on her postings. Worse still, others backed them.”
Britney took an overdose of anti-anxiety prescription drugs. Annette said: “We found her on the bedroom floor. She had fallen out of bed. She had gone to bed happy that night and we had no clue she was feeling depressed, far less suicidal.
“We found later on her mobile that she had been looking at an online comment which said: ‘What if you were to wake tomorrow and I didn’t. Just a thought.’”
In the lead-up to her death, Britney had posted on Facebook to say: “Starting to get sick of wee lassies calling me a riddy and this and that.
“As I’ve said, if you have a problem with me then delete me and if you’re being cheeky, then you will just be blocked.”
She had previously said online: “Words do hurt people and people need to start to realise that before it’s too late.”
Because Britney was 16, her doctor didn’t need to inform her family that the anti-anxiety drugs with which she overdosed had been prescribed to her. This is of great concern to Annette, who added: “Because of her age we just weren’t privy to it. We are hugely distressed she was given them. She died just 16 days after being given the prescription.”
Now the family visit her grave every day.
Annette continued: “We chose a cemetery some distance away as we did not want so-called friends who bullied her to hang about her grave. I still talk to her every day but I cannot truly accept she has passed. Part of me does not want to accept she’s gone.”
Despite her grief, Annette is anxious to try to retain some normality in the family’s Glasgow home for the sake of Britney’s brother and sister.
“I have to be strong for my two other children. A mother has no choice, she has to go on no matter how hard it is. I only ask that bullying is taken seriously before some other parent loses a dearly loved child.”
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said Britney had been a part-time pupil at Rosshall Academy for two years.
The spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with her family. Rosshall Academy operates a strict zero-tolerance approach to any forms of bullying and will investigate and take the appropriate action to any claim made.
“We do not discuss the individual
circumstances of any of our pupils or former pupils as there are inevitably complex and additional issues associated with each case.”
Meanwhile, an anti-bullying concert backed by Britney’s family takes place at Glasgow Barrowlands on Saturday, November 5.
Hatred continued after tragedy
To add to the family’s pain, after Britney died internet trolls set up a false account on messaging service Snapchat using a distorted version of her name.
The account – using the name Brittany Maccazoni – has been used to spread hateful messages to loyal friends of Britney.
In one exchange, the trolls behind the account said they hoped that Britney’s friend’s family died in a fire.
“Even now we have had horrible evil people carry on the bullying,” said Annette.
“It’s awful that people can be like that. We need to let bullied young people know they should end the pain and not their lives.”
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