Back in January, a Houston mother faced an unimaginable reality when she learned that her vibrant 10-year-old son killed himself by hanging because he was being bullied at school.
Crystal Smith’s son Kevin, was found in his closet by his sister. He hung himself while Smith was out of town.
“I just thought he was handling the situations. They wrote on his tablet to kill yourself, ‘You don’t belong here,’” Smith said, according to The NY Daily News.
But Smith never thought her fifth-grader was at the brink, especially since he always seemed happy she told ABC 13.
“Kevin was a goofy child,” Smith said. “He’s my little goof troop, I called him.”
But through his smiles, Kevin was dealing with bullies and it had become overwhelming.
“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.”
Suicide on the Rise
This latest suicide is part of a growing, and disturbing, trend of young Black students killing themselves. The rate is especially high for Black girls.
Last year, a Black student in a DC boarding school reportedly killed herself. She was only 12.
According to Fox 5 of DC, police were called to the SEED School of Washington D.C. on Tuesday after the girl’s roommates found her unconscious. Paramedics could not revive her.
Mami Buxton pulled her son out of SEED after he endured two years of bullying and was even allegedly sexually assaulted by another student. She said that she was upset to see someone else’s child suffering too.
“It kind of touched me really deep because of the situation that has been happening with my son at this school,” Buxton said.
According to the Huffington Post, which reported on suicide rates in 2015, suicide rates for Black elementary-age students doubled between 1993 and 2015. And the National Center for Health Statistics said that the suicide rate for Black black girls ages 10-14 had tripled.
Researchers have pointed to a number of possible triggers related to discrimination, bullying, and poverty.
Suicide rates have also jumped between 2016 and 2017, researchers found.