CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Community members are mourning the loss of a Chattanooga boy. They say he took his own life after being bullied.
At Bayberry Apartments, stuffed animals sit underneath the stairs to honor a fourth grader who died on Tuesday.
Friends say he was like family.
“It just broke my heart because now I know that he is not going to come to my house again. He is not going to give me a hug and say, ‘Hey sister, hey family. I miss you.’ I am not going to see that again,” Britney Blackwell said.
“Smart, full of life. There is no way I can believe this. He was a good kid,” Kinnettia Word said.
According to friends, the boy was bullied.
“He almost had to fight and defend himself every day. Every day he had to fight and defend himself and it’s just it is crazy,” Word said.
Tyler Davis, the CEO at Erlanger Behavioral Health, says suicides among young people is an ever growing problem.
“Stress, bullying, threats feeling insecure, sad confused definitely contribute to suicidal thoughts,” Davis said.
Friends say the bullying happened at school and in the neighborhood.
“The same kids that he go to school with that are bullying him, he come home and have to face them here too. And the parents are not teaching their kids to leave other kids alone or not bullying them or to even stand up,” Blackwell said.
They want parents to get involved.
“We’ve got to watch out for each other. I am on a bus stop with kids every morning to make sure there is someone out there watching these kids. You just can’t, there is no way. If you don’t get involved, nothing will change,” Word said.
Community members had a meeting at Bayberry Apartments to discuss what happened and what changes need to me made.
City Council member Anthony Byrd was there and he says they plan to have another meeting next month.