DENVER (AP) — Authorities say Denver Public Schools crisis counselors met with children at an elementary school after a 9-year-old student killed himself after he was reportedly bullied for being gay, the Denver Post reports.
The Post reports that the Denver Coroner's Office confirmed Jamel Myles died by suicide on Thursday. DPS spokesman Will Jones says Jamel was a fourth-grader at Joe Shoemaker Elementary School.
"My child died because of bullying. My baby killed himself," Leia Pierce, the boy's mother, told the Post on Monday.
Pierce told the newspaper that her son came out as gay this summer and began wearing fake fingernails on Aug. 20, the first day at school. Pierce says she found Jamel's body on Thursday and tried unsuccessfully to revive her son.
School district grief counselors met Monday with students, teachers and school staff.
DPS spokesman Will Jones sent another statement regarding the incident Tuesday afternoon:
"Our deepest sympathies go out to Jamel Myles’ family and the entire Shoemaker community. We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss.
"At DPS, we are deeply committed to ensuring that all members of our school community are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or transgender status. It is critical that our students receive all the supports they need to learn and thrive in a safe and welcoming environment. Our policies and practices reflect this commitment to ensuring that our LGBTQ+ students can pursue their education with dignity and joy — from training to prevent and stop bullying to policies and guidance materials that fully respect gender identity (including use of preferred pronouns and restrooms).
"We also know, however, that we as a society have a long way to go to ensure that no child ever is bullied or treated with disrespect because of their self-identification. All of us – parents, educators, and fellow students – need to lead the way in setting an example of love, respect and dignity for our LGBTQ+ youth.
"As we mourn Jamel’s passing, let us all come together to celebrate the light that Jamel brought into the world and ensure that all of Jamel’s friends and peers throughout our community continue to shine their lights brightly."