DENVER — The family of a boy who took his own life after his mother said he was bullied at school for being gay released a statement Tuesday morning in honor of the 9-year-old.
“Jamel was a gentleman that was not afraid to stand up for others. He understood what love meant, he just wanted everyone to love one another,” the statement read.
Jamel Myles started fourth grade at Joe Shoemaker Elementary School on Aug. 20. Later that week, his mother said he took his own life.
Over the summer, his mom said he came out to her as gay.
Leia Pierce said her son wanted to tell his classmates.
“He went to school and said he was gonna tell people he’s gay because he’s proud of himself,” she said.
Pierce said when he came out, he opened up about wanting to dress more femininely.
“And he goes, ‘Can I be honest with you?'” Pierce said. “And I was like sure, and he’s like, ‘I know you buy me boy stuff because I’m a boy, but I’d rather dress like a girl.'”
On Thursday, four days into the school year, Jamel took his own life. Pierce found her son dead in their Denver home. She said he killed himself after being bullied.
“My son told my oldest daughter the kids at school told him to kill himself. I’m just sad he didn’t come to me,” she said.
“Jamel knows how to bring life into any room when he walked into, because he is magic,” according to the statement.
The family also thanked those who have expressed concern and sympathy for the family.
Denver Public Schools sent a letter to parents addressing Jamel’s passing and said it will continue to offer support to the family. The district also issued a statement Tuesday.
Full family statement:
“Jamel was a gentleman that was not afraid to stand up for others. He understood what love meant, he just wanted everyone to love one another. Jamel knows how to bring life into any room when he walked into, because his is magic. Our family of 4 is now a family of 3. No words I can say will show the emptiness we have.
“Our family wants to thank those people who have supported us.
“A special thank you to those who have gone above and beyond, that really don’t know our family but believe in our fight to stop bullying, the hatred at school, home, and work.”