Bullied to death? ArkLaTex mother says 'Yes' - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Bullied to death? ArkLaTex mother says 'Yes'

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SMITHVILLE, OK (KSLA) -

An ArkLaTex mother says her son was pushed to the edge by bullying, and took his own life as a result. Now, she's speaking out in hopes of putting a stop to what she claims is an ongoing problem in the tiny McCurtain County town of Smithville, OK.

Allen Pollard, 17, committed suicide on April 19. His mother claims he was targeted because of the color of his skin.

"He was told he needed to leave his girlfriend alone. He was white, she was Indian and that she needed to stay with her own kind," says Kristi Smith, Pollard's mother.

Smith adds, "He was softhearted. He tried to protect everybody. He tried to get along with everybody."

Smith and her son had filed a complaint with the McCurtain County Sheriff's Office back in February. At that time, Allen's mother was worried about her son's safety after what she described as repeated threats by two Smithville students. She adds that one of those students had jumped her son earlier in the school year.

Asked if his campus was plagued by a group of wanna-be gang members, Smithville superintendent Delbert McBroom said, "I've got a group, not necessarily terrorizing other students. Honestly, it's been pretty quiet around here as of late."

Smith says her son had kept a daily journal, for at least two weeks after his visit with McCurtain County detectives. In the journal, he documented more alleged episodes of stalking, threats and intimidation.

"But I had to see what he wrote before I turned it over to the sheriff's office."

McBroom admits he was concerned that Allen might have been bullied but stopped short of admitting he had a campus-wide problem bullying problem.

Allen's suicide isn't the only one this past school year. Just days before the fall semester, McBroom says another Smithville teen took his own life. He adds they still do not have any answers to what led to his suicide.

And just 10 miles down the road in neighboring Cove, Arkansas, a teen killed himself earlier this spring. McBroom says 3 teen suicides in an area where everyone knows just about everyone else has been very troubling.

"It's tough. I don't know how other folks deal with it."

A KSLA News 12 investigation turned up much online about the two alleged leaders of this so-called gang. The last post on a Facebook page belonging to the students openly discussed Allen's death. The post reads that they deny any involvement in Allen's death. It also states they are not a gang nor mafia.

Smith claims this group calls themselves the 'Choctaw Mafia,' among other names.

She adds she was never formally interviewed by anyone with the McCurtain County Sheriff's Office after Allen's death. And she says she was never contacted by anyone with the McCurtain County Gazette, who 5 days after Allen's death, reported that investigators said bullying was not suspected.

McCurtain County Sheriff Johnny Tadlock says he never said that to the newspaper. He added that he's unable to comment on Allen's suicide or any bullying investigation on the Smithville campus since all the students are underage, and because he is still awaiting more information on the suicide investigation.

Smith says she feels obligated to pick up where Allen left off on April 19.

"I'm not mad, not angry. I'm not trying to do this to punish anybody. I'm doing this because it needs to stop before somebody else gets hurt."

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