Vigil held to honor one year since Butler Co. student's death - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Vigil held to honor one year since Butler Co. student's death


One year to the day, a Butler County school community is coming together to remember a classmate.

Fairfield City School District student Emilie Olsen committed suicide last year, and bullying has been said to be the reason.

On Friday night, hundreds took part in a candlelight vigil in Olsen’s name at the Community Christian Church in Fairfield Township.

"After her passing, it's amazing to see all these people come and support her,” said Leah Schmitz, who spoke to the crowd about her friend. "She was a really good person.  She was always willing to teach, to help people."

Olsen’s death, it’s been said, is linked to bullying.

"We have a lot of people gathering to fight this problem that we're dealing with here.  It's not just Fairfield.  That's our fight right now, but, every school has this problem,” said Leah’s father, Raymond Schmitz.

In recent weeks, there has been pressure of Fairfield school officials to do more about bullying.  In October, parents packed a board meeting demanding changes.

Last month, school leaders made follow-up presentations outlining, building by building, how they prevent and respond to complaints.

In the most recent numbers on the Fairfield City School District website, officials reported 80 incidents of hazing and bullying that were reported.  Of them, 27 were confirmed as falling into the district’s policy pertaining to bullying and hazing. Those numbers are from January through May.

From August to December of 2014, 44 incidents of hazing or bullying were reported to school officials. Of those, 17 were confirmed under board policy. 

December 2014 is when Olsen died.

“It's not just in Fairfield.  It's everywhere,” Leah Schmitz said.

As part of the candlelight vigil on Friday night, resources were provided to know and recognize the signs and symptoms of issues like depression and suicidal thoughts.  In a bulletin given to those attending, phone numbers of prevention services were also included.

"There's a lot of kids that could end up in the same situation Emilie's in,” Raymond Schmitz told FOX19 NOW.

FOX19 NOW reached out to Fairfield school leaders for comment on Olsen’s death.  A spokesperson said, “We acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the tragic loss of Emilie Olsen and the shared grief of the entire Fairfield Schools community.”  

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