BY GLENN PUIT
---- — BEULAH —-- Alycia Haynie had grown weary of high school problems when she swallowed a container of Vicodin and other pills at her family's Benzie County home in October, she said.
"I was tired of the drama," Alycia, 15, said.
The incident sent Alycia to the hospital.
Alycia survived, but her mother, Jenny Johnson, now blames her daughter's attempted suicide on bullying by a handful of her Benzie Central varsity volleyball teammates.
School leaders and others dispute Johnson's stance.
District officials said they investigated each of Johnson's allegations and found no violations of the school district's bullying policy, according to a school district memorandum.
"Our investigation included numerous student interviews, staff interviews and review of video camera footage," school officials wrote in the memo to David Micinski, Benzie County Central Schools superintendent.
School Board President Katherine Ross said the district won't discipline school employees. The school district has an extensive bullying policy and "the board is satisfied with the way our administration and counseling staff has implemented this policy."
We have explored this thing exhaustively and we find nothing that qualifies as bullying," Ross said.
Johnson cited a false rumor that claimed Alycia had a sexually transmitted disease, a story that circulated in September on a school bus, she said, and said Alycia persistently was undermined by a handful of fellow volleyball players to the extent she quit the team.
"Is this bullying or just girls being girls?" Johnson said. "It's bullying."
Alycia and Johnson said her daughter's problems started during a spat with another player prior to the hiring of a new volleyball coach.
"Things haven't been the same since," Johnson said. "It went from team problems the coach wasn't handling to bullying," Johnson said.
Johnson said high school Principal Peter Olson told her Oct. 11 that the school closed the investigation into her bullying complaint. On Oct. 12, Alycia swallowed the pills and spent the next five days in a Detroit-area hospital.
"The psychiatrist told me this wasn't just a child wanting attention ... she really wanted to die," Johnson said.
Johnson said Olson later called her to say he wanted information to help further the investigation.
The district's post-investigation memo stated that officials investigated multiple allegations from Johnson and found no violations of policy. Regarding the false rumor of a sexually transmitted disease, the district said, "Our investigation did not find that either the origination or perpetuation of this rumor was attributable to any students."
Lance Smith, whose daughter plays on the volleyball team, said he supports the school district's findings.
"My daughter was not involved with the accusations," Smith said. "The school board did its job. They handled it exactly according to policy."
Johnson argued the investigation was not objective or thorough.
"I'm very, very, very dissatisfied with the way this was handled," Johnson said.