I have to steel myself to share tragic stories like this one. An innocent soul is gone; A 12-year-old boy named Andrew Leach took his life after suffering relentless bullying attacks from kids at Southaven Middle School in Mississippi. Andrew came out as bisexual.
Cheryl Hudson, Andrew’s mother, told WREG they found him hanging in their home on March 6th. We have to caution you that some readers might find these photos disturbing. Cheryl shared pictures of her son’s open casket on social media to warn other parents to be aware and vigilant to put an end to bullying.
“I, as a mother, am absolutely crushed. I say I’ve cried all I can cry, but then moments later, I break down again,” Hudson shared.
“My child was such a sweet-natured, fun-loving kid who was easily a Momma’s boy and I don’t think I’ll ever get over this. All your prayers and support have been humbling and overwhelming and I thank you all for everything you’ve done.”
Cheryl reached out to Andrew’s school as she wasn’t sure about what course of action she needed to take. “I didn’t know how to handle it. His dad did talk to a teacher one time,” Hudson told the local news outlet. “But from what we are hearing, there was a group of kids that would go around calling him fat, ugly and worthless.”
Police are investigating the case, although this wasn’t officially verified. Andrew’s father, Matt Leach said his son was picked on because he was bisexual. “He was struggling a lot internally with sexual orientation,” he said. “I think that really amped up the bullying.”
“Kids were telling him, ‘We’re gonna put hands on you. You’re not going to make it out of this bathroom.’ Things of that nature,” Matt said.
A GoFundMe page was established to help the family with funeral expenses. What’s left will be put toward a rally to end bullying in Desoto, County, Mississippi.
“Our hearts are saddened as Andy has went [sic] to be with the Lord this evening,” his GoFundMe page read. “Andy was a fun loving, outgoing 12-year-old little boy. He will be missed deeply by all that knew and loved him.”
“No words could come close to expressing what this family is enduring. I hope to raise funds to help with his final expenses,” the post continued. “All money will go for arrangements and to help his family in the days ahead. If you can’t contribute monetarily, I ask that you pray for his mom, dad, brothers, family & friends.”
“I ask that you kiss your kids and hug them a bit tighter. We never know when God may need them back. Please feel free to share the campaign and Thank You all for the love and support as we struggle to find peace in the days ahead. God Bless.”
The DeSoto County Schools issued a statement obtained by WMC Action News 5 about bullying. It reads:
“All bullying reports are treated with utmost importance,” the statement read. “Students and parents are encouraged to contact school officials anytime there are bullying concerns, and they can use a link on the DeSoto County Schools website if they would prefer to report bullying incidents anonymously. All claims are investigated thoroughly, and school counselors are trained to help students and intervene when they are aware of a situation. Our hearts go out to this young student’s friends and family.
”The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. It assists those in crisis or distress and resources for both families and professionals. Visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information. There’s no need to suffer in silence.
People can live with the after-effects of bullying for years. I hope the kids responsible for causing this vibrant young man such distress will realize the damage their words and threats had on him. All kids must be made to understand the harm bullying has on others, how hurtful it is, and how unacceptable this behavior is. Despite their statement, Andrew’s school didn’t mention how, or if they even addressed the concerns of Andrew’s parents and the cruelty their son experienced at the hands of his peers.