Kevin Reese Jr. was in the fifth grade at Robinson Elementary School, not far from Houston, Texas. The boy’s mother, Crystal Smith, said that her son was a “goofy” kid, but struggled with being picked on by his classmates. He was bullied and tormented for months, on some occasions these altercations reportedly even became physical, according to Crystal. While she reported the bullying to the school, they found no evidence that a physical fight had taken place and thus took no action. At one point, the bullies even told Kevin to kill himself. Unfortunately, at just 10-years-old, he did as they told him, according to the New York Post.
The idea of someone so incredibly young being driven to the point of suicide is, of course, shocking. However, Crystal believes that as the bullying continued to persist over time, Kevin simply felt he had no other option. Still, even when others attacked, he did not resort to using violence against them.
“They wrote on his tablet to ‘Kill yourself, you don’t belong here’. When it got physical back in November, he came home crying because he didn’t fight back and one of the boys punched him several times coming from recess. He just had enough. He just had enough and he felt that he was backed into a corner,” his mother explained.
After Crystal reported the violence against her son, two months passed and the tormenting continued. Kevin then waited until his mother went out of town for work and took his own life by hanging himself in his own closet.
Although nothing will bring her son back, Crystal can do her best to ensure that no other parent has to experience the heartbreak of a tragedy such as this one. She is advocating for suicide prevention and calling out Robinson Elementary School for not doing more to protect her child. Kevin’s premature death could have potentially been prevented if the bullying was addressed head-on from the very beginning.
Crystal is now issuing a warning to other parents out there to keep a close eye on their child. If they do say they are experiencing classroom bullying, don’t trust that school officials will have taken care of the issue, but continue to advocate for your child until you’re certain that it has been fully addressed.
“Pay attention to your child, don’t assume that things are handled at the school, stay on top of it until you see something come out on the end.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.