Was This 3rd Grader’s Death an Accident or Suicide?


Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Blog Post #97Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy day or night to read my post. As always, I promise to keep this somewhat short.

If you’ve read any of my posts, they’re usually about super sad stuff going on in or connected to schools. For most people, myself included, the content is concerning. The information I share is important to know so we can all be more vigil about keeping children safe.

BLOG POST #89: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific case involving a third-grade boy. And be forewarned, this one is beyond sad. I have a grandson in the third-grade (at the time this posted), I thought about him a lot while I researched and wrote about this case.

Children can be mean and sometimes cruel. Bullying at all ages is on the rise. Schools don’t know how to stop it. Victim’s parents don’t know how to stop it, especially when you consider most bullies learn how to bully from someone in their life.

Socializing is Hard for Introverts at Any Age

He was a shy, quiet, third-grade boy and a little small for his age. He didn’t have many friends. According to family members, the bullies would wait outside his home and torment him at school.

At first, he tried to let the mean comments and actions slid by using clever comebacks. There were a few times when he resorted to fighting. With the new school year, he began building a clubhouse behind his home in hopes of making new friends. His unfinished clubhouse sits as a heartbreaking reminder of what happened.

At 9, Life Can Be So Unfair

He and his three siblings lived with their grandmother. His grandmother said he’d been down, and she tried everything she could think of to bring him out of it or to talk about what was bothering him.

One of his sisters noticed his change in demeanor. She found a frog outside and took it to him thinking he’d like it. What she found in his bedroom was her 9-year-old brother hanging from his belt. There was nothing anyone could do as he’d already died.

Mixed Messages

The local Sheriff Department conducted an investigation and determined it was an accidental suicide.

The boy’s family was adamant he committed suicide in response to his feeling hopeless from the relentless bullying.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff Department said, “What the public needs to know is that this bullying was completely unfounded. The school he went to is one of the finest schools that we have ever had the pleasure of interviewing.”

From everything I’ve read about this case, nothing said the family had an issue with the school. They had an issue with the bullies at the school who also lived in their neighborhood.

The Superintendent of the school district said the young boy taking his life was, ‘tragic.’ He went on to say there had been no reported incidents of bullying at the school involving the student.

We’ll never know if he reported his incidents of bullying or not.

A counselor from the school said the boy wasn’t the only one at the school who has had to battle bullies.

The Proof is in the Pudding

In a quick look at the school’s most recently posted Student Code of Conduct, dealing with bullies and/or bullying was mentioned 95 times. And there’s an entire policy on Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation. Is that overkill or are they trying to crack down on bullying like every school in the U.S.?

US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (8255)

For helpful information on how to address bullying visit the StopBullying.gov website.

What are your thoughts about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!


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2 thoughts on “Was This 3rd Grader’s Death an Accident or Suicide?

  1. This is such an important topic to explore and take action on. I used to teach first grade in the school district where the now famous tragedy of Phoebe Prince occurred, a teen who was bullied until she committed suicide by a real life squad of “mean girls.” Thanks for continuing to bring these difficult stories to our attention. Looking away can be fatal.

    • Robin Lyons

      Thank you for reading and for your comment, Amy. School can be quite difficult for so many kiddos. I have Phoebe’s case in my tickler file to post about in the future. So sad.

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