Tami Charles recalls seeing her son pray for the bullies she says tormented him at school. She only wishes such compassion was shown to him. Seven Bridges, 10, a fifth-grader at Kerrick Elementary in Louisville, Ky., finished a writing assignment and hung up his clothes, then died by hanging during the hour his mother was out on Saturday, per WLKY and the Louisville Courier Journal. Charles says she knew bullying was to blame even as she attempted to revive him. Per WHAS11, Seven was born with a bowel condition that required he wear a colostomy bag, in which waste from part of the colon is deposited, even after 26 surgeries. After the bag was removed, Seven still had problems with leaks, and students pounced. Charles, who plans to sue, says Kerrick and Jefferson County Public Schools didn't do enough to stop the abuse, including after her son visited a hospital in August.
He'd complained of dizziness after a student allegedly choked him on a school bus, while another child reportedly called him a racial slur. "I still can't get him, like, choking me out of my head," Seven told WHAS11 at the time. JCPS claimed to have a "zero tolerance" policy for bullying, "but they did not deliver," Charles tells WLKY. "We kept telling him this will all be over," she adds, per WHAS11, noting Seven was to start the sixth grade at a new school. Three weeks before his suicide, however, Seven’s parents found him crying in his bed, reports WDRB. "JCPS: You all failed my baby," Charles now says. "When complaints were made, I can tell you they were addressed," counters JCPS Communications Director Renee Murphy. Still, she says a "full investigation" will examine how complaints raised by family were handled. (This Florida case is similar.)