The mother of a 9-year-old boy said bullying he endured after coming out as gay led him to kill himself last week.
Jamel Myles was a fourth-grade student at the Joe Shoemaker Elementary School in Denver. His mother, Leia Pierce, told The Denver Post that he came out as gay this summer and began wearing fake fingernails on Aug. 20, the first day of school.
Pierce found her son’s body on Thursday, just three days after school had started, and tried to revive him. He was pronounced dead at the Swedish Medical Center, according to a report from the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner. The manner of death, according to the report, was suicide and did not involve a firearm.
Pierce took to Facebook to express her pain and plead for an end to bullying.
“I lost a reason to breathe ... my heart, my sunshine, my son... he was being bullied and i didnt know. Not till it was to late.. i wish i knew everything so i could've stopped this... i shouldn't be having to bury my son he is only 9,” Pierce wrote in a public Facebook post on Aug. 24, a day after her son’s death.
“I want justice for my son and the only way to get that is to touch people’s hearts and tell them if we love more it will be harder to hate,” Pierce wrote in another Facebook post. “I taught all my kids we are all the same and he treated people as equals because he was taught love.. so teach your kids love please.. stop bullying.”
A day after Jamel’s death, Christine Fleming, the school principal, sent a letter to parents expressing "extreme sadness" over this "unexpected loss for our school community."
"Our thoughts are with the student’s family at this time," Fleming said. "We will continue to process this sad news as a school community.”
Then on Monday, the district sent out a statement saying it is "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." Read more via NBC
If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.
Meet 9 y.o. #JamelMyles. This summer he came out to his mom as gay. Then, he went back to school, 4th grd. The bullying came quickly. His mom said, “My son told my oldest daughter the kids at school told him to kill himself.” On the 4th day he did just that. I’m so sick of this! pic.twitter.com/ivhYf9qK3j— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) August 28, 2018