LEHI (ABC4 News) – An Alpine school graduate and her mother are speaking out after they say rampant bullying, by students and teachers, contributed to this young woman attempting to take her own life.
Kylie Youngblood graduated from Lehi High School this spring; she was on the color guard team for three years. Youngblood says she loved the sport but the environment was toxic.
“I can recall at least five to six times where I reported the same student for bullying and was told let it be water under the bridge, let it go, if it continues, then come talk to me.”
Youngblood says months of bullying hit a head when a teammate told her in a text message, “You could go die for all I care.”
She said, “It was hurtful because I felt that it was a true statement, that I shouldn’t be alive in that moment.”
“I immediately called the school, ” said Kylie’s mother, Julie Youngblood-Roper.
Youngblood-Roper says she thought the district would step in to help, but instead her daughter was told to accept the apology of the student and move on–or be cut from the team.
“The bullying continued and got so bad that in February of 2019, I got a text from my daughter telling me that she wanted to kill herself. I look back at that text and think it was the best blessing and the worst nightmare of my life.”
Youngblood received in and outpatient help for about two months, working hard to graduate on time, and come back to Colorguard.
But, she wasn’t out of the woods. Youngblood-Roper said, “The day she graduated from that program I was excited, but I came home to a call from her current coach that Skyridges Colorguard knew about Kylie being in the hospital.”
JennyLynn Meek is the current Skyridge Color guard coach and Kylie’s former coach. Youngblood-Roper was told that Meek used her daughter as an example.
“This coach felt the need to tell her team that at least they weren’t as bad as Lehi who put one of their teammates in the hospital for trying to commit suicide.”
Youngblood-Roper says that Meek didn’t name her daughter specifically, but in the small community of color guard in Lehi, her intent was perfectly clear.
Youngblood said she was humiliated, “Being put in the hospital and then being told that old teammates of mine who were at a different school were told my situation without my knowledge and my approval, was devastating.”
Julie says she reported this to the Alpine District and was told that Meek was spoken to, but, “That’s private and we can’t divulge that type of information, to which I replied, well what about my daughter’s private information?”
Meek declined an on-camera interview, but she did reply to ABC4’s request saying that she did not divulge information about Youngblood to her students. She also provided a contract that all her students sign, including a rule that says, “Members who write derogatory comments…through texting will be subject to disciplinary action.”
Alpine School District also declined an interview, but said in a statement,
“Alpine School District is deeply concerned and committed to the social and emotional well-being of all students and staff. Our policy for student privacy precludes us from releasing any information and is in place to protect students and their personal information. Any report of bullying or harassment is promptly investigated and appropriate action is taken. Likewise, accusations involving employee conduct are promptly investigated and appropriate action is taken.”
Youngblood says the current staff at Lehi High have been very supportive.
“I’m hoping that this story can help even one student, one teacher, one family member know that this isn’t normal, and it’s not okay, and they’re not alone.”