A nine-year-old Colorado boy killed himself last week after he was bullied by his classmates for being gay, his mother says.
Jamel Myles’ mother, Leia Pierce, said she found her son’s lifeless body in their Denver home on Thursday, four days after he came out to his class, TIME reports.
Jamel reportedly told his sister that kids in his class told him to “kill himself.”
“My child died because of bullying. My baby killed himself,” Pierce told The Denver Post on Monday. “He didn’t deserve this.”
Pierce spoke to Denver’s KDVR and said that Jamel told her he was gay over the summer.
“And he looked so scared when he told me. 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.
She added that he was excited to tell his classmates once school started.
“He went to school and said he was [going to] tell people he’s gay because he’s proud of himself,” she said. “Four days is all it took at school. I could just imagine what they said to him.”
Christine Fleming, principal of Joe Shoemaker Elementary School, notified families and spoke to parents about what happened to Jamel. Grief counselors were also available to students, teachers and staff, per TIME.
If you or someone you know are contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Crisis Text Line offers free, 24-hour support when you text HOME to 741-741.