The death of nine-year-old Jamel Myles, whose mum says he killed himself after enduring homophobic bullying, has shaken the world.
Leia Rochelle Pierce, from Denver, Colorado, says her son had initially been proud to tell children in his school that he was gay. However, when he returned they started bullying him, and some pupils told him to kill himself.
He first told his mum he was gay over the summer, but when he went back to school, he hadn’t told her he was being bullied. Four days into the school term, and his mum found him dead.
Pierce’s eldest daughter told her after his death, that he had told her he was being bullied.
My son came home and told her the kids at school were telling him to kill himself.
He didn’t come to me and that hurts as I would have understood and I would have defended him. They were so close, he would just tell her everything.
I feel responsible because I didn’t see the pain in my baby’s eyes. I should have just known. It’s my fault, I didn’t know.
Bullying is a serious problem in schools, and with children’s communication widened through the use of social media, it often happens in packs online, and extends into the home.
Research by YouGov and Survation finds that 40 per cent of young people are bullied for their academic ability, and more than 39 per cent say this has impacted their school grades.
According to LGBT+ charity Stonewall, nearly half of LGBT+ pupils (45 per cent) are bullied because of who they are, and more than two in five trans young people, and 22 per cent of gay, lesbian and bi students have tried to take their own life.
Nearly half (46 per cent) of young people are anxious about going back to school because of the holidays as a result of bullying, and 70 per cent of parents – that’s nearly three quarters – don’t think head teachers are doing enough to stop bullying in schools.
indy100 reached out to psychiatric professionals and LGBT+ organisations, and collected a number of ways that parents can help if they believe their child is being bullied.
– Narjas Zatat
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