QUEENS VILLAGE, New York (PIX11) - An 11-year-old girl who told counselors she feared her 12-year-old friend, at a different school, was considering suicide, told PIX 11, “I feel I did something good. I did something that touched people.”
Aniya DeLaleu, who just finished sixth grade at Intermediate School 109 in Queens Village, sat for an exclusive, joint interview with 12-year-old Adrian Rodriguez, the student who was thinking about killing herself. Rodriguez told DeLaleu in text messages she was being bullied unmercifully at Middle School 172 in North Floral Park.
“She said she was cutting herself, that she was crying a lot, crying herself to sleep,” DeLaleu recalled.
The two girls met in fifth grade at Public School 33 in Queens Village, but they parted ways a year later, when they attended different middle schools.
Still, the girls kept in touch by texting, and DeLaleu grew increasingly alarmed, after a student in her school, I.S. 109, committed suicide in late May.
It turned out the victim, 12 year old Gabrielle Molina, lived up the block from Adrian in Queens Village.
A week after Molina’s suicide, Aniya DeLaleu was getting very worried about Adrian.
“If she really did commit suicide and I knew, then I’d feel guilty, because I didn’t say anything and I knew something,” DeLaleu told PIX. “So I told my guidance counselor.”
The counselor at I.S. 109 contacted school officials at Middle School 172, and Adrian Rodriguez was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Rodriguez told PIX 11 in an exclusive interview earlier this month that she was using sharpened pencils, in an attempt to slit her wrists. She says she learned the technique from another girl at school.
Rodriguez’s parents recalled with horror that their daughter lost 35 pounds in a three month period, because she was being taunted about being fat.
“I thought, maybe if I changed how I looked, people would stop bullying me,” Adrian Rodriguez told PIX 11.
When PIX contacted the Department of Education earlier this month, a spokesperson told us the agency had received no bullying reports out of Middle School 172, claiming it was dealing with incidents of a different nature.
Adrian Rodriguez told PIX in early June that her family had been in counseling for other issues but insisted it was the bullying that caused her to consider suicide.
This past Sunday, Aniya DeLaleu invited Adrian and her parents to services at Queens Baptist Church.
The pastor, Rev. Brian C. Ellis-Gibbs, used his sermon to decry the pressures young people are facing in 2013.
“When did our children start to consider suicide as a choice?” he asked the congregation.
Aniya is now getting ready for summer camp, and Adrian Rodriguez will get a safety transfer to a new school, come September.
“She saved my life,” Adrian told PIX 11 with gratitude. “Because of her, I got the help I needed. I didn’t have that before.”