Nine-year-old Jamel Myles committed suicide just four days into the new school year after telling classmates he was gay.
His mother, Leia Pierce, said he came out to her as gay over the summer.
via ABC News:
“He looked so scared when he told me,” Pierce told KDVR-TV. “He was like, ‘Mom I’m gay.’ And I thought he was playing, so I looked back because I was driving, and he was all curled up, so scared. And I said, ‘I still love you.'”
Pierce said her son wanted to tell his classmates.
“He went to school and said he was going to tell people he’s gay because he’s proud of himself,” she said.
On Thursday, Pierce found Jamel’s body in their home.
“Four days is all it took at school,” she said. “I could just imagine what they said to him. My son told my oldest daughter the kids at school told him to kill himself. I’m just sad he didn’t come to me.”
The Denver Public Schools has sent a letter to families saying it will provide extra social workers and its crisis team for students.
Though obviously still mourning, Pierce has said she wants to spread awareness about the effects of bullying.
“I’m so upset that he thought that was his option,” Pierce said.
“We should have accountability for bullying,” she said. “I think the child should, because the child knows it’s wrong. The child wouldn’t want someone to do it to them. I think the parent should be held (accountable) because obviously the parents are either teaching them to be like that, or they’re treating them like that.”
The Denver Police Department is investigating the death as a suicide.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or depression call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255): Speak with someone who will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.