Nine-year-old boy kills himself after homophobic bullying

Jamel Myles, of Denver, Colorado, is found dead at his home after telling his classmates he was gay

Jamel Myles
(Image credit: Twitter)

A nine-year-old boy has killed himself after enduring four days of homophobic abuse at his school for coming out as gay, his mother has claimed.

Jamel Myles of Denver, Colorado, was found dead at his home by his mother Leia Pierce last Thursday, four days after he started fourth grade at the local Joe Shoemaker Elementary School.

Denver County Coroner’s Office confirmed this week that Myles (pictured above) died after hanging himself shortly after 11pm on 23 August.

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Pierce told The Denver Post on Monday that her son had said he was looking forward to telling his friends at school he was gay because he felt “proud” after telling his family over the summer break.

“My child died because of bullying. My baby killed himself,” Pierce said. “He didn’t deserve this. He wanted to make everybody happy even when he wasn’t. I want him back so bad.

“Four days is all it took at school. I could just imagine what they said to him. I’m so upset that he thought that was his option. My son told my oldest daughter the kids at school told him to kill himself. I’m just sad he didn’t come to me.”

Grief counsellers were made available to students and teachers at the school, Time magazine says. The head teacher Christine Fleming sent letters to the families affected. The letters included a guide to signs of stress that students at the school might be showing in the wake of the boy’s death.

“Our thoughts are with the student’s family at this time,” Fleming wrote. “We will continue to process this sad news as a school community, and again, please feel free to reach out as needed for ongoing support.”

A Denver Public Schools spokesperson said: “It’s always tough when a little one takes his life. We have our crisis team there.”

According to a study published in Pediatrics, the number of American children and teenagers up to the age of 17 who have been hospitalised for contemplating or attempting suicide has doubled in less than a decade.

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