A student at Joe Schumaker Elementary school committed suicide late Thursday night—something that his mother, Leia Pierce, said was because of bullying. Jamel Myles had come out to his mom earlier this summer, and started wearing fake fingernails on August 20, the first day of school for his fourth grade year.
“He went to school and said he was going tell people he’s gay because he’s proud of himself,” his mother said.
Jamel was curled up in the back seat of the family car when he told his mother, he was gay.
“He was scared because he is a boy and its harder on boys when they come out,” Pierce said. “I smiled at him and said, ‘I still loved him.’ This world is missing out.”
Jamel also expressed his desire to dress more femininely, which she allowed.
Just four days after starting school last week and coming out to his classmates, Jamel took his own life. Pierce’s oldest daughter told her that other children had told her son to kill himself. She never heard about the taunting until after she found her son’s body. She tried unsuccessfully to revive her son.
“My child died because of bullying. My baby killed himself,” Pierce said. “He didn’t deserve this. He wanted to make everybody happy even when he wasn’t. I want him back so bad.”
“Four days is all it took at school. I could just imagine what they said to him,” Pierce said. “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.”
Queer State Representative Leslie Herod (D) was quick to respond to the news in a press release.
“This is the kind of incident that shakes our entire community. As a member of the LGBT community that came out later on in life, I can only imagine the pain and fear that this young boy felt,” Herod said. “We can and we must act now to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. We must celebrate everyone’s uniqueness. Bullying is unacceptable. We must stand up for each other.”
Mental Health Colorado says it’s important to start teaching kids in elementary school about social and emotional learning. This helps kids cope and teaches resiliency.
Suicide is the leading cause of death in Colorado among children and adolescents 10 to 24 according to Colorado Health Institute.
The Denver Coroner’s Office confirmed that Jamel Myles died by suicide, according to spokesman Steve Castro. The time of death was 11:17 p.m. on Thursday.
Jamel loved Pokemon cards, robots, music, and wearing a dress with a tiara and high-heeled shoes.
“I’m dead inside. He was beautiful. He was magic. I lost my greatest gift,” she said.