A Georgia middle-schooler, labeled a snitch by his classmates, felt he had no other choice but to take his own life after being targeted by bullies for nearly six months. Last week, 13-year-old Devin Brown committed suicide by hanging himself from a belt in his bedroom closet.
According to his family, the teenager sought death as a way to escape the pattern of abuse he suffered at the hands of fellow students. While Devin’s torment began in November, it was an incident this month that pushed the boy over the edge.
According to Devin’s father, Ray Brown, the bullying started when his son began attending Rothschild Middle School.
“He came home one time and had some peanut butter pies he had made for school,” Brown explained.
“When he walked through the door he had some pie left and he had it all over him,” he continued. “Someone had jumped on him and smeared it all over him.”
Although Devin wouldn’t discuss what happened, his father approached school officials about the incident. However, he claims that his concerns were dismissed by faculty.
“We talked to the school, they said we haven’t heard anything about it and just let it go,” says Brown.
The Browns were unaware of the extent of Devin’s bullying problems until an incident at the school last week brought the teenager’s situation to light.
According to Ray Brown, Devin witnessed a female classmate in possession of a butcher knife. The girl reportedly indicated her intent to stab one of the teachers at the school.
Devin reportedly informed his teacher of the girl’s plan, a decision that resulted in a backlash from his fellow students. “He said everyone is calling me a snitch and he said there’s about 15-20 people who want to jump on me,” said Ray Brown when describing his son’s bullying experience.
Later that night, the Georgia middle-schooler hanged himself in a devastating final attempt to escape his attackers. Devin reportedly voiced his intentions to friends earlier that day, but they didn’t feel the 13-year-old was seriously contemplating killing himself. According to his family, Devin did not leave behind a suicide note.
The middle-schooler’s death has turned a spotlight on what may be a serious bullying issue in the school district. News of Devin’s abuse and subsequent suicide have prompted other parents and students to share their own experiences with bullying in the area’s educational institutions.
“My child was a victim of bullying at Rothschild this year,” expressed one such parent. “The school made promises that they would handle the situation and replace items that were taken from my son and have not.”
According to a spokesperson for the Muscogee County School District, officials plan to investigate Devin’s situation when school resumes next week. Current district policy reportedly dictates that all bullying cases are initially handled by the individual school involved.
Ray Brown, who attended his young son’s funeral this week, refuses to allow Devin’s death to be in vain. He intends to personally join the fight against bullying, hoping to prevent a tragedy similar to Devin’s from happening again. “I am going to do whatever I can in his name to stop it,” he explained. “There is no reason a kid should be scared to go to school.”
Do you feel the Georgia school district holds some responsibility in Devin’s tragic death? What do you think should happen to the bullies who threatened the middle-schooler and called him a snitch?
[Top image via Shutterstock]