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Father organizes protest against school district after daughter’s suicide

Friends and family members of a Sedalia teenager who took her own life are planning a protest at 1 p.m. Thursday in front of Smith-Cotton High School.

Relatives said the walkout protest is in response to the district’s handling of bullying in its schools, a problem that they said led to 16-year-old Riley Garrigus to taking her own life Saturday.

“We’ve had five deaths in two years in this town because of bullying,” said Riley’s father, Ralph Garrigus.

Garrigus is urging school district officials to make access to mental health and bullying prevention top priorities.

“They need to be suspended, prosecuted,” Garrigus said. “Something more severe has to be done to them and the parents because it starts at home.”

The school district announced in a Facebook post on Monday that Smith-Cotton High School Principal Wade Norton met with individual classes to talk about bullying and the recent suicide.

District officials told ABC 17 News they will convene Wednesday morning to discuss the upcoming protest and plan to release a statement on the subject after that meeting.

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