(888) 277-4253

Fourth grader dies by suicide only four days after coming out at school

A 9-year-old boy died by suicide just days after coming out to his mother and classmates according to KDVR, a Fox affiliate in Colorado. 

His mother, Leia Pierce thinks bullying was the main factor in her son, Jamel Myles'  death.  

The young boy had only just started classes in the fourth grade at Shoemaker Elementary School on August 20. And it was over the summer break that she says Jamel told her something important about himself. 

"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.

His mother says he wanted to share the news with his school. "He went to school and said he was gonna tell people he’s gay because he’s proud of himself."

Jamel also asked his mother if he could wear different clothes. 

"And he goes, 'Can I be honest with you?'" she said. "And I was like sure, and he’s like, 'I know you buy me boy stuff because I’m a boy, but I’d rather dress like a girl.'"

Then on Thursday, Pierce discovered that her son had taken his own life inside their Denver home. 

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

Denver Public Schools sent out a letter to families on Friday saying they would have social workers and a crisis team on hand to help students. 

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

Even though her pain, Pierce wants to bring awareness to what bullying someone can lead to. 

"We should have accountability for bullying," she said. "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."

Pierce says she doesn't want any other parent to have to go through what she has because their child is different. 

The Denver Police Department is investigating the death as a suicide.

How to find help if you feel suicidal

-- Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860

-- The Trevor Lifeline: (866) 488-7386

-- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255

-- Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: save.org

-- Suicide Prevention Resource Center: www.sprc.org

-- Every county operates immediate mental health crisis response services. For information, contact your local county human services agency.