KSDK - When you’re a victim of bullying, it feels like you're alone. At least that's how it felt for Rachel McCormick.
Her mom Angela says the bullying started in elementary school. By sixth grade, her mom says she thought she was going to lose her daughter. But with the support of her parents and the Megan Meier Foundation, Rachel fought back.
Today, she's fighting for other bullying victims.
When you see 13-year-old Rachel McCormick today, she is full of life. Rachel plays the cello and the piano. She’s also a swimmer. But mom Angela knows her daughter was much different just a few short years ago.
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"There were just times that I felt like I was losing my kid," explained Angela McCormick.
Rachel struggled with bullies since the 3rd grade.
Through tears Rachel recalls a time that a classmate called her a name in front of her peers.
"Ughhh and it was just really embarrassing because I was like why do you have to do this? Because I just didn’t understand it," she said.
For Rachel, the bullying was mostly verbal, she was called a goody-two shoes, and made fun of for trying to fit in. It got physical once, her mom says, on a school bus.
"The girl sitting behind her put her foot on Rachel’s face and pushed her as like a turnaround we don’t want to talk to you," said Angela.
Rachel remembers how bad she felt when her classmates would ignore her.
"When people don't seem to want to be around you it really hurts because it’s just that feeling that you're not good enough or something. That’s what really gets to me I guess and that’s what really got to me," said Rachel.
Rachel’s mom did everything she could, but felt her daughter slipping away.
It wasn't until February of 2012, that Angela realized just how bad things had gotten for Rachel.
“She walked into the bedroom and said ‘mommy I don’t want to live anymore, I want to live in heaven,’" Angela recalled.
That’s when she picked up the phone and called Tina Meier with the Megan Meier Foundation.
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For the last 10 years, Tina has taken her anti-bullying foundation nationwide. She started the foundation after her teen daughter Megan took her life after being cyber-bullied.
“It felt really good to talk to another mom who you know went through the worst of it and be able to say okay I’m not crazy right? Is this what I’m supposed to be doing am I helping?" Angela said.
Tina was just what Angela and Rachel needed, an outsider, who could relate to what they were going through.
"They were the first people who actually understood and that felt so good and i want other people to feel that too," said Rachel.
Now, Rachel wants to help others. She's working on building an interactive website where kids can learn not only about how to treat others, but about the consequences of their actions when they're a bully.
Like Rachel's healing, it’s still a work in progress.
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"I’ll always have the scars from when that happened," explained Rachel.
But at 13-years-old, she knows exactly what she's doing. Because she knows who Rachel is. A survivor, with a big heart, and a passion for helping others.
"I’m just hoping that other people who know that I made it out will know that they will make it out too," said Rachel.
Are you or your child being bullied? Here are a few resources that can help:
- The Megan Meier Foundation
- Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
- Missouri NEA
- Cyberbullying Research Center