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Jamel Myles, a 9-year-old from Denver, Colorado, was excited to start his first day of fourth grade. But four days after the beginning of the term, he was dead. He’d come out as gay to his classmates and their bullying was so brutal he killed himself, according to his mother.
Mother Leia Pierce says Jamel Myles came out to her as gay over the summer, saying, “And he looked so scared when he told me. He was like, ‘Mom I’m gay.’ And I thought he was playing, so I looked back because I was driving, and he was all curled up, so scared. And I said, I still love you.” Myles also told her he’d like to dress more femininely, telling her, “I know you buy me boy stuff because I’m a boy, but I’d rather dress like a girl.”
His mother says he was excited for his first day of fourth grade and the opportunity to come out to his classmates. But sadly, last Thursday, only four days into the school year, Jamel Myles killed himself. “Four days is all it took at school. I could just imagine what they said to him,” Pierce says. “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.”
The Denver Police department is investigating Myles’ death as a suicide. Denver Public Schools is also providing extra social workers for students. It’s currently unknown what the ramifications will be for those students who bullied Jamel Myles.
Pierce says, “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.”
R.I.P. Jamel Myles.
For those reading, if you’re having thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help.