Remembering Rio One Year Later: Vigil held Monday night to mark anniversary of her passing
ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - The family of Rio Allred held a candlelight vigil Monday night to mark one year since her passing.
The vigil was held at Walker Park in Elkhart.
Rio’s mom and stepdad, Nicole and Aaron Ball, said they cannot believe it has been a year since her death, and miss her presence every day.
“When it’s time to do something for Rio, people show up. And it always seems to be when we need that extra boost too...The more people show up for these things, and learn about Rio and learn about what we are trying to do, and get involved with it, the better off the entire community is going to be. We have to build this army of change,” said the Ball’s.
Rio was a student at Northside Middle School who took her own life after claims that she was bullied several times at school. Rio’s family has since sued the school corporation for wrongful death, violation of Title IX, and more.
Since her death, calls are growing louder to implement tougher bullying policies in schools. Some districts have implemented new programming and reporting practices.
A local non-profit called Rio’s Rainbow was started to raise awareness about bullying. Parent coalitions have also been formed.
“It always feels like it’s not enough, and it always feels like it’s going slowly. But then we always take a step back from it for a little bit and look at what’s actually happened. That we have been able to positively affect...Those small wins add up to a much bigger win,” said Aaron.
Politicians are also more aware of the bullying problem happening in schools across the state. The Indiana House of Representatives passed a bullying bill last month that puts distance between bullies and their victims.
“We will talk to Rio all the time when we go into these events, or go into meetings with local leaders and national leaders, and ask for that guidance. It’s very gratifying to see that something we feel she would have liked to have seen is actually happening now. I can see her in my minds eye just smile...,” said the Ball’s.
16 News Now Reporter Monica Murphy sat down with her parents last Friday to talk about what this past year has been like for them:
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