In an interview with A Current Affair, Tick and Kate, Dolly Everett’s parents, recounted the heartbreaking story of what their daughter endured before her death, shared the chilling email that revealed her bullies’ actions, and the devastating moment they found her lifeless body.
Kate and Tick revealed that Dolly was a “happy-go-lucky, carefree crazy-haired little girl” who was tough as nails. While she and her sister Meg loved life on the ranch, Kate and Tick wanted more for their daughters, so they enrolled them in boarding school – Scots PGC College in Warwick, Queensland – for their high school education.
“Living as remote as we were, we thought that was the best option for an education,” Kate said.
Tick added: “We basically did a pros and cons with them about their interests. It had to be affordable, the travel had to be doable.”
The pair loved the school at first, but they got homesick and weren’t fond of the food.
“Meg fell in love with showing cattle, and Dolly fell in love with sport and she was amazing,” Kate said, but then they were told that Dolly was having “issues.”
Kate said: “She told me that boys were calling her a slut, she was 12. I don’t know whether 12 year olds even know what that means, they shouldn’t. I used to tell her: ‘It will get better, you’ll fit in. Everybody’s trying to fit in and they’re just working out their pecking order. Try not to be mean.’”
When Kate called the school about the issue, “It was basically just swept under the cover,” she said.
According to Kate, one boy in particular picked on Dolly, calling her names and pushing her over, and she snapped one day.
After decking the bully, Dolly was suspended.
“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,” Tick said.
The bullying seemed to fade away as Dolly was participating in sports teams and doing well in class.
“But 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 said.
In her second year, it was clear things were not okay.
Kate said: “She just went from the most enjoyable little girl to someone that did end up in trouble at school — there’s so much that I found out now, as opposed to then, and it probably would’ve made the outcome so much different. She started to withdraw slowly by the first term, and in her Year 9. In that last year, I just think, ‘Oh god, she’s just changing.’ And as a parent, I guess you say, ‘This is part of adolescence. Is this who she is?’”
She added: “I think there was a whole bunch of stuff going on that we literally did not know about.”
In Year 9, Dolly was suspended for drinking.
“I kept onto the school. I said, ‘This is not my daughter. Something is going on, there is a ring of people.’ I said, ‘There are other kids involved.’ They told me Dolly was a liar. And I said, ‘All kids make mistakes and I believe her. This time I believe her,’” Kate said.
Dolly sent her parents an email shortly after, revealing an incident that showed the extent of the bullying she endured.
Dolly apparently asked her mother in the message: “How long do I have to stay? Can I please leave sooner?”
“I started to panic because they were ganging up on me and I didn’t want to fight so I walked away. And one of them started screaming at me calling me a dirty slut, b***h and screaming about how I should kill myself and to go cut some more,” the email read.
Horrified, Kate and Tick thought of removing her from the school and sought the help of a counselor.
Dolly, however, insisted on going back to school.
“She was going to prove that she could do it and that she was tough enough to be Dolly again, I think. She had me convinced that she was right,” Tick said.
However, one January day, everything changed.
“She made potato salad, coleslaw, and steak, that was her dinner that was a regular. She seemed fine,” Kate said.
Dolly won the game of cards they played, and the two girls went to bed at 9 p.m. About half an hour later, Kate and Tick discovered Dolly’s lifeless body.
Tick said: “There was nothing we could do. It’s the most horrible thing you, anybody, any parent … you just, you should never have to do that.”
Because of their isolation, it took hours for anyone to get there.
“You know, being isolated was another battle, you know sort of three and a half hours before anyone else could get there. The longest night of our lives really. You know, she’s right there and there’s nothing you can do,” Kate said. “I actually just laid with her for hours. 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.”
“There was nothing I could do to save her. I don’t know if anyone thinks this is the answer to their problems, it’s not. It just gives them to somebody else. She had so much to live for,” she added. “I wish she could see herself through my eyes and not through the eyes of the people who made her feel like that.”
Following Dolly’s death, Tick posted on his Facebook account: “If we can help other precious lives from being lost and the suffering of so many, then Doll’s life will not be wasted.”