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Family Says Bullying Caused Terrell Teen’s Death

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TERRELL (CBS 11 NEWS) - More than 200 students and parents gathered outside of Herman Furlough Middle School in Terrell today to remember a classmate.

Zusette Moreno died last week and family members say a bullying incident at school led to her death.

Moreno’s family says the school hasn’t done enough to address bullying.

“They’re not paying enough attention to it,” said Moreno’s aunt, Lupita Primero. “I don’t know if they think it’s a joke or something. And as you can you see, she’s not the first one to be bullied. So, what they waiting for? More?”

The family says last Tuesday Moreno was attacked in the school bathroom by two girls who banged her head against the wall.

Later that night the girl complained of headaches and went into shock.

Moreno was taken to the hospital where she went into a coma.

She died Friday, November 30, which was also her 13th birthday.

“She was the sweetest girl,” said seventh grader and friend, Amelia Miramontes. “She was an angel. “There’s no reason for her to get picked on.”

Miramontes says bullying is a big problem at school and that she’s been a victim too.

“I almost don’t want to come to school anymore,” explained Miramontes.

Students left flowers, stuffed animals and notes in honor of Moreno but her impromptu memorial quickly turned into a passionate rally against bullying.

Students held signs encouraging fellow students to stop bullying.

Dozens of students and parents came forward to share stories and demand change.

Hope Veech says her daughter was bullied over her lunch food, and now the 12 year old doesn’t want to go to school.

“I can’t help but think this could have been my daughter,” said Veech with tears in her eyes. “It should not have happened. Something needs to be done.”

I can’t help but think this could have been my daughter. It should not have happened. Something needs to be done.”

Terrell ISD says it takes bullying seriously and has several programs and policies in place to address it.

Raylan Smith, a spokesperson Terrell ISD, says the district has been in touch with Moreno’s family and says at this time, there is no evidence that indicates Moreno was attacked at school.

“The district understands that this is an absolute tragedy for the family. Obviously our thoughts and prayers go out to that family and we are also working through the rumors and questions or allegations through our Terrell ISD Police Department,” she said.

Smith says there are surveillance cameras in the hallways leading to the bathrooms in question and says there’s no activity in the time frame in question to support an attack in the bathroom.

The district also released a statement saying “…the preliminary report of the Dallas County Medical Examiner is that there are no signs of trauma or assault identified in the medical autopsy.”

Moreno’s mom, Blanca Primero, attended the memorial and rally. She was overwhelmed by all the support.

“I knew she wasn’t the only girl being bullied, said Primero. “There are other kids. I hope all of this protesting will work.”

The family has obtained a lawyer and says viewing services for Moreno are set for Tuesday, December 4, from 12 to 4 p.m. at Evergreen Funeral Home in Terrell. Her funeral will be in Mexico.

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