A 10-year-old boy killed himself because bullies told him to. That’s according to the boy’s mother, who is now imploring schools to address bullying.
Fifth-grader Kevin Reese Jr. of Houston, TX hung himself in a closet of his home on January 21 when his mother was at work. Kevin’s stepfather was on his way home from the office, but didn’t make it in time. It was Kevin’s 13-year-old sister who found the body.
Kevin’s mom, Crystal Smith, told local ABC affiliate KTRK that she got the terrible news from her daughter. “She was just screaming on the phone,” Smith said. “And I didn’t understand and she screamed ‘Kevin’.”
Smith said Kevin was a “goofy” child who loved drawing and painting. She said he was frequently bullied.
“They wrote on his tablet to ‘Kill yourself, you don’t belong here,” said Smith. “When it got physical back in November, he came home crying because he didn’t fight back and one of the boys punched him several times coming from recess.”
Smith said she reported the November incident to school officials, but the school said there was no evidence of an altercation. “They told me they never found any bullying going on,” Smith told KTRK. She said the bullying continued for a couple of months after that incident.
“He just had enough,” the distraught mother said. “He just had enough and he felt that he was backed into a corner.”
Now Smith is raising awareness about preventing child suicide. “Pay attention to your child, don’t assume that things are handled at the school, stay on top of it until you see something come out on the end.”
According to studies out of Yale University, kids who have been bullied are between 2 and 9 times more likely to report suicidal thoughts. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 10-14.
If you are thinking about suicide, please talk to someone right away. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Parents should also find resources and seek help for their child before the situation escalates.