Over the summer, 9-year-old Jamel Myles came out to his mother Leia Pierce during a car ride. Pierce shared with FOX Denver – KDVR that he seemed scared to come out to her, but that she reassured him that she still loved him. He confessed to her that he also wanted to dress more in girl’s clothes.
Before starting school, Jamel shared that he was excited to go back to school and tell his schoolmates that he was gay and proud.
Unfortunately, four days after the school year had begun, Jamel was found dead from suicide. Jamel had been bullied at school since returning from Summer break.
Pierce shared with KDVR:
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. I’m so upset that he thought that was his option.
We should have accountability for bullying. I think the child should. Because the child knows it’s wrong. The child wouldn’t want someone to do it to them. I think the parent should be held because obviously the parents are either teaching them to be like that, or they’re treating them like that.
Denver Public Schools (DPS) sent out letters and emails to families in the system to address the tragic loss.
BBC reports the statement includes:
Our goal is to partner with you in sharing this news with your child in the most appropriate way possible, with as much support as may be needed, so please feel free to reach out about how you want to handle this.
Our priority right now is to look at all the concerns raised in this case, to keep all our students safe and to do a fair and thorough review of the facts surrounding this tragic loss.
The Denver Police Department is currently investigating the death as a suicide.
A GoFundMe account has been created to assist with Jamel's funeral expenses and on-going support for his family.
It’s tragic to see any life being lost to suicide when people think there are no other options. Bullying is a sad epidemic that is taking the lives of so many youth. Earlier this year, a 12-year-old from Mississippi took his own life after struggling for some time with his identity.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255): Speak with someone who will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn how to help someone in crisis, call the same number
The Crisis Test Line by texting HOME to 741741
Young people in need of help can call Kids Help Phone on 1-800-668-6868