By Jonathan Hardison
JEMISON, AL (WBRC) - Don't let our daughter die in vain. That's the message a Chilton County couple tried to spread Saturday at a candelight vigil in Jemison.
The parents of 15-year old Alex Moore say bullying may have lead to their daughter's suicide on May 12.
Now, they want to use this tragedy to stop other families from going through the same pain they're experiencing.
Dozens of candles flickered Saturday night at a Jemison Park, remembering the light that was the life of Alex Moore. Moore threw herself off an overpass and her parents and friends now say she was the victim of bullying at school.
"It's nice that this many people would come show their love for my daughter," said Alex's father, Jim Moore. "But equally as importantly, it's awareness time. We need to get the word out that this is going on in our schools. We weren't aware of it. We'd go to work everyday and come home. 'How's everything? Everything's fine.' And we find out that the kids are hiding this from their parents.
Moore's parents say they want their Alex's death to serve as a warning to prevent other families from living this kind of tragedy. Jim Moore says he and his wife thought they had dealt with the bullying their daughter faced, and had no idea she was facing more of it at school. That's why his lesson is vigilance for parents, and responsibility to teens, even those who aren't victims of bullying.
"It's very important if young people see this going on in another person's life, that they tell for them," Moore said. "Just go in that person's stead, and make the grownups aware so that this can be stopped."
"When I heard Alex's story, I was just devastated," said Jessica Brookshire, an anti-bullying advocate who runs a group called Kids Against Ridicule Meanness Agression, or KARMA. "This is the 1 thing I've been trying to prevent all year, is this tragedy from reaching Alabama."
Brookshire is helping schools craft more strict bullying rules.
"I think it has to do with our kids are losing their human touch. They don't understand that your words hurt, words have consequences. They don't understand how lonely someone can feel when they're being bullied."
KARMA has received early approval to start working on an anti-bullying bill for next year's legislative session.
The bill's backers are hoping to call it "Alex's law," in memory of Alex Moore.