Seven Charles Thomas Bridges, a 10-year old fifth-grade student at Kerrick Elementary School in Kentucky, has died after hanging himself. His parents, Tami Charles and Donnie Bridges, believe the constant bullying he experienced at school and on the school bus was what led him to commit suicide. They are now planning to take legal actions against Jefferson County Public Schools.They say they were both shocked and devastated when they found their only child, Seven, hanging in his closet after returning home from the grocery store around 10:30 a.m. on January 19.
Seven’s parents say that the district failed their son. Charles said last August, Seven had to be brought to the hospital after complaining dizziness. On that day, he was allegedly choked and called a “n—–” on the school bus. Weeks before that, he was also found crying after his friends pushed him away.
The incidents were reported to the school district but it wasn’t clear if the student responsible was punished or if the investigation was even completed.
“We found that the school system had a lot of holes and a lot of inconsistencies with their policies about bullying,” Charles told WLKY. “They stood on the verbal message, the lip service of zero tolerance, but they did not deliver.”
Charles said her son’s health problems could possibly be the reason why he was bullied. Seven had 26 surgeries to his bowels, including the insertion of a colostomy bag. Even though it has already been removed, Seven would sometimes still experience a waste leak.
Meanwhile, Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio said everyone is devastated by the eighth recorded suicide this year in the district of 100,000 students with Seven as the youngest. The district reportedly provided grief counselor and is investigating on reports of bullying.
Now, Seven’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to support them in funeral expenses as well as the legal expenses as they find justice. It has currently raised more than $80,000, exceeding its $60,000 goal.