A 12-year-old has tragically died by suicide after he was bullied for coming out.
“He was a very loving young boy. He had a contagious smile,” Leach’s mother, Cheryl Hudson, said. “He was outdoorsy. He loved to go camping. If you were down, he’d try to help you up.”
His mother said that she missed that her son needed help.
“I guess I was just oblivious to it. He just always seemed happy,” Hudson said.
Behind the smile, Andy’s father said his son was questioning himself.
“He was struggling a lot internally with sexual orientation,” he said. “He finally came out with the information at school that he thought he may be bisexual. I think that really amped up the bullying.”
On March 6, tragedy struck and his older brother found notes that told them of Andy’s plan.
They found him dead from suicide in the outdoor garage.
Since then, they have uncovered details of what the 12-year-old was dealing with in school.
“Kids were telling him, ‘We’re gonna put hands on you. You’re not going to make it out of this bathroom.’ Things of that nature,” his father said.
“I want them to know what they’ve done and how it affects other people,” Hudson said.
They don’t think their son knew how to ask for help or about the resources that are widely available such as the national suicide hotline (US equivalent of the Pieta House hotline, call 1800 247 247).
They are hopeful they can help to change this for other kids and parents and that Andy’s light could shine on someone else and help to save lives.
“If you think there’s any chance of your child suffering from depression, their grades are drastically changing, their eating habits or sleeping habits changed, then get in their business. Talk to them,” Leach said.
His parents stated that DeSoto County Schools have a zero tolerance policy for bullying but they are doubtful that this was being enforced.
In a statement, the school didn’t comment on the alleged instances of bullying of Andy but they did encourage students to contact them with reports.
“All bullying reports are treated with the utmost importance. Students and parents are encouraged to contact school officials anytime there are bullying concerns, and they can use a link on the DeSoto County Schools website if they would prefer to report bullying incidents anonymously. All claims are investigated thoroughly, and school counsellors are trained to help students and intervene when they are aware of a situation,” the district wrote.
“Our hearts go out to this young student’s friends and family.”
If you were affected by any of the issues highlighted in this article you can reach out to the following:
T: 1890 929 539 | W: www.lgbt.ie
T: 01-872 1055 | W: www.gayswitchbaord.ie
Dublin Lesbian Line
T: 01-872 9911 | W: www.dublinlesbianline.ie
T: 1850 60 90 90 | W: www.samaritans.ie
Pieta House (Self-Harm/Suicide Support)
Mental Health Ireland
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