Two Weeks, Three Tragedies

Remembrance

Our little town of Dacula, Georgia has experienced three tragic deaths of young people, in the span of about nine days. There is much shock and grief among those in this community, and our hearts go out to the families left behind by these horrifying events.

A couple of weeks ago, Dacula High School and the town was rocked by the news of the shocking suicide of a wonderful young lady, Skylar Byrd, who was a junior at the school. At the end of school one afternoon, “Sky” as she was called, entered the large gymnasium, walked to the top of the mezzanine level, and threw herself off onto the basketball court below, ending her life in full view of several operations staff members. News of this spread like wildfire across the community that day and the next.

It has been discovered that Sky has not had her father present for some years, that her mother died about five years ago, and she was being raised by an aunt and uncle. She apparently was targeted and bullied by a group of “mean girls” at the school, and had few friends. What happened in a beautiful young teen’s life, that would convince her life was not worth living, and drive her to end it so shockingly? Surely, these factors played a role, as well as just that evil, whispering voice of the enemy that says, “You have no hope, so just end it.” Teaching high schoolers myself in a private academy, her tragedy struck close to the heart.

Then, last Friday morning while I was sharing breakfast up town with a couple of friends, a tragic accident happened within view of the restaurant. Two brothers, Jared and Jaison Brown, were driving to school, and crossed traffic in front of an oncoming vehicle, which t-boned and drove their car over into a roadside ditch. Jared, the older brother, was killed almost instantly, and Jaison was pronounced dead the next morning. Dacula’s Friday night football game against Archer was postponed to Saturday, and a memorial was observed at the game as both teams paused to remember and pay tribute to the students Dacula had lost.

These tragedies have shocked our community unlike many in recent memory. Questions arise as to what could have done to reach out to Skylar and prevent her suicide. The death of the Brown brothers has reminded everyone how fragile and fleeting life is, and to extend love and grace to all those we cross paths with in the course of a day. We never know when it may be our last- or theirs.

As Christ-followers, it is our moral and spiritual obligation to be the “hands and feet of Jesus” with any and all we meet and connect with. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it to Me.” (read Matthew 25:31-46)

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4 responses to “Two Weeks, Three Tragedies

  1. I am Skylar Byrd’s sister, and let me just say this right now before I get any more pissed than I already am. This article is bullshit about her. No, she did not end her life “in full view” of other people. She wasn’t that selfish. Yes, her mother died, but…What uncle? She lived with her grandmother and her grandfather, and I would often spend the night with her every week and day I could. Yes, she had my mother, which was her aunt, but no, there was no uncle. As far as I’m concerned, my father is dead to me. He’s been out of my life since I can remember. SHE DIDN’T DIE BECAUSE SHE WAS BULLIED! THAT IS NOT THE REASON, AND ANYONE WHO SPOUTS THAT BULLSHIT IS WRONG! THAT’S JUST STEREOTYPICAL BECAUSE OF THE WAY SHE DIED! She MISSED HER MOTHER WHO DIED WHEN SHE WAS SO YOUNG. SHE WANTED TO BE WITH HER AGAIN. I did the best I could to protect her from bullies, and she knew that. She knew better than to let their sorry words get to her that easily. She wasn’t some weak hearted girl who committed suicide because she couldn’t handle a few harsh words, and trust me, they were harsh. She failed classes, because she was so depressed, because she didn’t have a mother to help her, nor a father. I did what I could, but I could only do so much, since she was a grade higher than me. She had too much going on. Too much for her to handle. I don’t want her to be remembered as some girl who took her life due to bullying. She was so much more. She was so much stronger, even though she couldn’t win her war in the end. I want her to be remembered as a strong girl, because that’s what she was. She was so strong to carry all that weight on her shoulders, and now she can finally rest. Now, she can finally be free from all the crap that’s burdened her mentally for years. Please, please, don’t let her be remembered as someone who was weak. Please…

  2. I Skylar Byrd grandmother ,I just wish you got your facts right before you started printing anything .

    • My apologies if my facts were incorrect. I wrote it based on accounts from students that knew her, and what local publications reported. I was trying to highlight the need for extending compassion and friendship to those around us, not knowing what battles they may fighting in their personal lives and families. Please convey my apologies and sympathies to Chantel as well.

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