The parents of a 10-year-old Kentucky boy who reportedly took his own life last weekend said they plan to sue the school district, alleging that school officials failed to stop relentless bullying at school and on the bus that led to their son’s suicide.
WDRB reports that Seven Bridges’ mother found her son dead at their home Saturday morning after returning from the grocery store. The bereaved mother claimed she plans to sue Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) for the bullying her son suffered before he died by suicide.
Tami Charles told the news station that Bridges underwent 26 surgeries to remedy a bowel condition that required a colostomy bag. The surgeries were unsuccessful, leading his condition to create an odor that kids would torment him for at Kerrick Elementary and on the school bus.
Charles recalled an incident in August in which the fifth-grader was allegedly choked and called a racial epithet while riding on the school bus. Nearly losing consciousness during the attack, she said Bridges came home complaining of dizziness, leading her to take him to the hospital for a CT scan.
While WDRB reported that the district launched an investigation after Charles brought the incident to administrators’ attention, it is unclear whether anyone was punished. JCPS Communications Director Renee Murphy declined to comment on the incident in addition to any pending litigation.
She said, “When complaints were made, I can tell you they were addressed. But again, we will have a full investigation, a full review to see exactly what happened and if all the policies and procedures were followed.”
Charles said she believes Seven fought so fervently after August’s incident that students and staff at the elementary school ostracized her son. Some students branded him a “snitch” while teachers treated him differently, she claimed.
Charles spoke about her concerns via Facebook Live multiple times after the incident to recount the incident and to confront school staff, who she alleged was “dodging” her.
They called my son a Nigger and he got choked by a white boy on the bus. He turned grey and passed out. They tried to DISMISS me and make it like the CHOKER was the victim. They NEVER called us. My son is 10 years old. #Share #Woke #WAYMENT #Awareness #MothersofBlacksons
Posted by Tami Charles on Wednesday, August 29, 2018
“We found that the school system had a lot of holes and a lot of inconsistencies with their policies about bullying. They stood on the verbal message, the lip service of zero tolerance, but they did not deliver,” the mother told WLKY.
Three weeks before his suicide, the boy’s mother and father reportedly found the 10-year-old hysterically crying in bed. According to Charles, he told them he tried to “let the past be the past” but his oldest friends were pushing him away.
Now, the parents are pushing for the school district to make changes that’ll prevent another tragedy. Charles said she also wants to the kids who bullied her son to “forgive” themselves as her late son would have.
“We need to talk about this bullying,” the grieving mother said to WAVE. “Talk about this pain. I want people to do that with their children.”
[Featured image: Seven Bridges/GoFundMe]