Amy Jayne Everett, who went by Dolly Everett, was only 14 years old when she’d finally had enough. She ended her life to escape the school bullies. And now, her heartbroken parents speak out in the hopes their daughter’s tragic story will save other lives.
Dolly Everett grew up on a remote cattle farm in Australia and loved it. She had a great relationship with her close-knit family which consisted of her parents, Tick and Kate, and her sister, Meg. The smiling, lovely girl even did some modeling as a child for Akubra Hats.
Life on the ranch was great, but it was also isolated. Wanting the best opportunities for their daughters, Tick and Kate thought boarding school would be the best place once the girls became teenagers.
"Living as remote as we were, we thought that was the best option for an education," Kate explained. "We basically did a pros and cons with them about their interests."
And so, the family agreed upon a prestigious boarding school in Queensland. Dolly entered at 12 years old and both girls seemed to really like the school.
But then, Dolly became different.
"She changed during her two years at school," Kate says. "We thought some of it was her age and that adolescent time."
It turns out Dolly Everett was enduring severe bullying. And her parents wouldn’t know the full extent until after the 14-year-old’s tragic death.
Dolly Everett Encounters Trouble At School
Kate Everett first became concerned about Dolly when her daughter revealed some of the boys had started calling her a nasty name suggesting sexual promiscuity.
"I don't know whether 12-year-olds even know what that means — they shouldn't,” Kate said.
The sad reality is almost every child will endure some type of teasing and name-calling. Kate encouraged Dolly to hold her head high and ignore the cruel taunts.
"It will get better,” Kate recalls telling her daughter. “You'll fit in. Everybody's trying to fit in and they're just working out their pecking order. Try not to be mean'.”
Kate also contacted the school to try and get them involved but didn’t feel as though it did much good.
"It was basically just swept under the cover," she claims.
Dolly Everett told her mom the boys continued to taunt her and even started pushing her around.
Then, one day, Dolly had enough.
A Turning Point
Fed up with the constant abuse, Dolly finally snapped and “decked” one of the boys who bullied her the most when he started up.
While her parents don’t condone violence, they understood Dolly Everett had hit a breaking point. So, they couldn’t believe it when the school suspended Dolly while her tormentors never once faced any kind of punishment for the ongoing bullying.
"Dolly probably shouldn't have retaliated the way she did, but for Dolly then to become the person in the wrong and the other kid to be the victim … it doesn't make sense," her dad, Tick, said.
They at least thought their daughter’s stand prompted the bullies to ease up. They thought things were getting better. Dolly seemed to be focusing on her studies and sports.
But later, they realized Dolly was suffering in silence. It seems as though she just accepted that bullying was going to be a part of her life she couldn’t escape.
“Maybe it wasn't going as well, maybe she just put on a brave face and didn't want to tell us anymore about it … ‘cause she'd got in trouble the first time, so I think she thought she'd go with it," Tick explained.
But it wouldn’t be until late that Kate and Tick would realize how much their daughter wasn’t telling them.
Teen Bravely Tries To Confront Bullying
Dolly Everett’s parents worried about the changes they were noticing.
“In that last year, I just think, ‘Oh god, she's just changing',” Kate said. “And as a parent, I guess you say, ‘This is part of adolescence. Is this who she is?'.”
The Everetts got a counselor involved and were even talking to Dolly about pulling her out of the school. But the 14-year-old insisted she stay put, determined to overcome the bullying.
"She was going to prove that she could do it and that she was tough enough to be Dolly again," Tick recalled. "She had me convinced that she was right."
Tragically, everything changed as Dolly prepared to return to school after break.
Dolly Everett Seeks Escape By Ending Her Own Life
The family was enjoying the day together at home on their ranch. It seemed like a normal night. Dolly even made her signature dish to share with the family and they played cards together.
Dolly and her sister, Meg, went to bed at 9 pm. Just 30 minutes later, her parents found her lifeless body. Dolly Everett had taken her own life at just 14 years old.
"There was nothing we could do," Tick said. "It's the most horrible thing you, anybody, any parent … you just, you should never have to do that."
To make matters worse, the ranch’s remote location meant it took first responders hours to arrive. Dolly’s devastated parents sat with their lifeless daughter through the “longest night of their lives”, knowing there was nothing they could do.
"I actually just laid with her for hours," Kate said. "Cuddled up with her for hours and just, I just made a promise to her that this wouldn't be in vain … that I was so, so sorry that I hadn't made better decisions.”
Teen’s Suicide Has Widespread Impact
Dolly’s suicide rocked the family. They couldn’t believe their bright, beautiful, happy girl was gone. And all because of bullies who found enjoyment in tormenting her.
"I wish she could see herself through my eyes and not through the eyes of the people who made her feel like that," Kate said.
It wasn’t until Dolly was gone that her parents started to get the full picture of what she was experiencing at school.
“There was verbal bullying with name-calling, insults, and accusations. There was physical bullying at school and cyberbullying online, which followed Dolly home," Kate said.
The weight of what their darling Dolly endured for two years was crushing.
"We have obviously spent long nights thinking about ‘what if',” Kate explained, “but we don't have many answers. There was clearly so much we didn't know ... Dolly put on a brave face, I guess not wanting to disappoint."
And that’s when the couple realized they couldn’t just wallow in their grief. They decided to honor Dolly Everett by sharing her story and advocating for the end of bullying.
Tragedy Fuels Inspiring Mission Against Bullying
Tick and Kate Everett don’t want any other parent to have to live through the nightmare they experienced when their beautiful daughter Dolly took her own life. They knew they had to tackle the issue of bullying head-on, despite their sorrow.
“If we can help other precious lives from being lost and the suffering of so many, then Doll’s life will not be wasted,” Tick said in an emotional social media post.
In the same post, Tick invited his daughter’s bullies to attend the funeral, in the hopes it would help them realize the serious consequences our actions can have.
“Please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created,” he wrote.
What floored Dolly Everett’s parents was how many messages they received after their daughter’s death. All offered heartfelt condolences. But so many also shared their own heartbreaking experiences with bullying.
And that’s when Dolly’s Dream was born.
WATCH: Parents Of Dolly Everett Advocate Against Bullying
Dolly’s Dream is a foundation the Everett’s started in their daughter’s honor. Through it, they aim to raise awareness about bullying and prevent other suicides. And in May of 2019, they initiated the first Do It For Dolly Day.
"It will be whatever people want it to be on the day," Kate said of the event, whether that be fundraising, passing out anti-bullying materials, wearing Dolly’s favorite color blue, etc.
The overarching theme of the Do It For Dolly Day had just one goal — to spread kindness. And that’s something the Everetts want us all to continue doing each day.
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Nothing will ever bring their little girl back. But what an inspiration Dolly’s parents are in using her story to fight back against bullying. It’s an important reminder that our tongues truly hold the power of life and death. Let’s teach our children and our society to use them for good.
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Akubra Hats