A Kentucky family is in mourning after a 10-year-old boy took his own life on Saturday.
Tami Charles, who found her son, Seven Bridges, in her Louisville, Ky., home over the weekend, had allegedly reported bullying to his school numerous times. Charles and her husband, Donnie Bridges, described their son, Seven Bridges, as “an amazing, intelligent, compassionate little boy,” to Louisville news station WDRB.
Seven was known to dress up as his favorite superheroes, and was a “gift for 10 years,” his father said.
According to Charles, Seven was tormented by bullies at Kerrick Elementary School in Louisville, where he was a fifth-grade student. She told WDRB that he was the victim of choking on the school bus, and was called the N-word. For five months, Charles had been documenting the abuse on her Facebook page, as well as reporting it to the school.
“Seven knew the Lord,” Bridges said. “He knew right from wrong. We instilled that in him at a young age. He went to church.”
“He couldn’t fight back,” Charles said of her son’s character. “He didn’t have that in him. All he did was pray for the boy.”
Charles revealed to WDRB that her son was born with a medical defect and had undergone 26 surgeries. He still used a colostomy bag, and students allegedly made fun of him for it.
Charles told the outlet that she and her husband had signed Seven up for another school. “We would talk to him about having new friends and a new start. He just had to get to the end of the year.”
Seven was the youngest student at Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) to die by suicide this school year, WDRB reported.
“JCPS: You all failed my baby,” Charles said.
JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy told WDRB that the district will “launch a full investigation” into complaints made by Seven’s family and how they were handled.
“We are all devastated by this,” she told the outlet.
“We need to talk about this bullying,” Charles said. “Talk about this pain. I want people to do that with their children.”
Seven’s family is raising funds to help pay for his funeral, as well as to help Charles, a small business owner, take time to grieve for her child properly. The funds will also go towards legal aid against the school district.
Tami Charles did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
Megan Barnett, the chair of the Kentucky chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people ages 10-34, according to WDRB. Since 1999, the suicide rate has increased by 30 percent.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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