Fellow students and friends set up a makeshift memorial Friday remembering a Tottenville high school sophomore who took her own life Wednesday afternoon, but a controversy is also surfacing as a result of her death, with some students saying some players on the school’s football team are being wrongfully blamed for bullying the teenager before she died. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
Students placed symbols of love and friendship outside the train station where 15-year-old Felicia Garcia took her own life.
The Tottenville High School sophomore jumped into the path of an oncoming train Wednesday afternoon.
"I walked with her every day to the train," said student Melanie Cama. "She was someone I could talk to about anything. I could go to her for anything."
Garcia's death is reviving concerns about bullying in schools. Friends say she was being picked on by members of the football team.
"Words hurt," said student Ashley Rivera. "What you say to people can really damage them. I think everyone should be careful with their words because they do hurt."
Rivera, though, said the entire team is being wrongly blamed for the incident.
"All this is happening, it's making our school look so bad," Rivera said. "It's making the boys look bad. But the JV team had nothing to do with it. I know Felicia wouldn't want any of this to happen because those were her friends. It was a couple of boys from the varsity."
The New York City Department of Education wouldn't comment on the bullying allegations. The NYPD and the Staten Island District Attorney's office are investigating.
Just hours before her death, Garcia posted on Twitter, writing "I can't, I'm done, I give up."
Friends say she lost both parents as a child and was living with a foster family.
"I spoke to the foster mother on Thursday, so I've been having ongoing communications," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. "It's really a tragedy for the young woman and her family and the Tottenville family. So my heart goes out to them and my sympathy and prayers go out to the family."
Along with a makeshift memorial, parents say grief counselors have also been at the school to help deal with the loss of one of their fellow students.
"Looking over and her seat being empty, it's very sad. It’s traumatic," said student Noelle Niemec.
Garcia's memory lives on. A Facebook page titled "RIP Felicia Garcia - Stop Bullying" now has thousands of members.