9-year-old kills himself after being bullied at school, mother says

DENVER - A Colorado boy took his own life during the first week of school, and his mom said bullying is to blame.

The 9-year-old committed suicide just days after telling classmates he was gay.

Leia Pierce is Jamel Myles' mother.

"He was my sunshine because he was my only son," she said.

Myles started fourth grade at Joe Shoemaker School on Aug. 20. Weeks before, he worked up the courage to tell his mother that he was gay.

"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,'" Pierce said. "He went to school and said he was gonna tell people he's gay because he's proud of himself."

On Aug. 23, Pierce found her son dead in their Denver home. She said he killed himself after being bullied.

"Four days is all it took at school. I could just imagine what they said to him. 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," Pierce said.

A letter was sent from Denver public schools to families saying they're providing extra social workers and their crisis team for students. In a statement, the district said it will continue to offer support to the family.

"I'm so upset that he thought that was his option," Pierce said.

Through the devastation, Pierce wants to spread awareness about the effects of bullying.

"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 (accountable) because obviously, the parents are either teaching them to be like that, or they're treating them like that," she said.

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