9-year-old died by suicide after he was bullied, mom says
(CNN) – A Colorado 9-year-old ended his own life on Thursday, shortly after coming out as gay and being bullied at school, according to his mother, Leia Pierce.
Denver Police said that Jamel Myles’ death appears to be a suicide. Jamel came out to her over summer break and was looking forward to telling his friends all about it at school, Pierce told HLN’s Mike Galanos on Tuesday.
“My son told my oldest daughter that the kids at school told him to kill himself,” Pierce told CNN affiliate KDVR. “I’m just sad he didn’t come to me.”
“I want to be with my son. I would be so happy,” Pierce said on HLN.
Pierce’s son was in school for four days before the same kids who “picked on him last year were even meaner to him once he came out and said he was gay,” Pierce told Galanos.
“We are all different and that’s what makes us the same as equals. My son was equal just as much as anybody else,” she said. “Bullying either starts at home because the parents are teaching it or treating their kids like that. It’s not fair to any child and it’s not fair to any parent to go through this. [Kids should not] have a sanctuary inside the schools where if they bully and this happens they don’t see a repercussion.”
“The parents shouldn’t just be sitting here crying, missing their baby while the kids who did it are just out having fun and just chilling with their parents, like, no, you should be in trouble too. And if we put our foot down and are stricter on this matter then maybe it would stop. Because we’re not doing anything to the bullies, we’re just talking about how the kids hurt themselves and left. We’re not looking at the bullies. Let’s look at the bullies.”
“I want accountability, not just for my son but I want accountability for everyone’s child who’s ever felt like this because no child should be hurt like this.”
Denver Public Schools released the following statement after Jamel’s death:
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of the student who passed away and to the entire Shoemaker community. We are very saddened by this tragic loss of one of our kids.
“At DPS, we are deeply committed to ensuring that all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or transgender status. It is critical that our students receive all the supports they need to learn and thrive in a safe and welcoming environment. Our formal policies and practices reflect this commitment to ensuring that our LGBTQ+ students can pursue their education with dignity — from policies and training to prevent and stop bullying to formal policies and guidance materials that fully respect gender identity (including use of preferred pronouns and restrooms).
“Our priority right now is to help all students and adults with the grief they are experiencing and to better understand all the facts surrounding this tragic loss.”