After her 10-year-old son Seven Bridges committed suicide on Saturday, Tami Charles says school officials could have done more to stop the bullying he faced.
“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 she made a quick run to the grocery store on Saturday afternoon, and returned to find her son Seven had hanged himself, according to WHAS11. He had attended Kerrick Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky, according to WAVE3.
“I saw my son dead,” the mom told WHAS11. “That’s something in my head.”
Renee Murphy, communications director at Jefferson County Public Schools, told WDRB that her coworkers “are devastated by this.”
“Our hearts are breaking for this family,” Murphy, who pledged an investigation, told WDRB. “The school community is hurting right now.”
But Charles told WDRB that she had a stinging message for officials at Jefferson County Public Schools: “You all failed my baby.”
The grieving mother said she had long warned about the bullying that her son Seven had endured, according to WHAS11. Charles said that Seven had been called the n-word and had been choked on a bus ride in September, and that there was “no referral, no incident report, no paperwork” even though her son had to go the hospital, the TV station reported.
“We can’t get into student discipline,” Murphy told WHAS11. “We’re going to be reviewing everything to see how we handled things on our end.”
In an on-camera interview with WDRB, Charles said that her son was too sweet and non-confrontational to stand up to his bullies.
“Most children who get bullied, they get to a point and they fight back,” she told WDRB. “My child didn’t have that.”
Charles called Seven a “miracle baby” because doctors warned “she couldn’t have children,” WHAS11 reported. He also needed a colostomy bag earlier in life because of a medical condition, which required “26 surgeries,” his mother told the TV station.
She had been promising the boy a fresh start at a new school next year, WAVE3 reported.
“We signed him up for DuBois Academy,” Charles told the TV station. “We would talk to him about having new friends and a new start. He just had to get to the end of the year.”
Now, Charles is telling the children who bullied her son Seven to “forgive yourself,” according to WLKY.
“Seven did. He forgave you already,” she told WLKY. “He found his peace; it’s time for you to find yours.”
A GoFundMe page has been created to help cover funeral expenses for Seven.
Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn said he has noticed an “alarming” trend of young children committing suicide in his county. In the past year, his office “investigated five suicides by children 14 and younger in the last year,” The Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
“Ginn said the suicides included a 10-year-old Lexington girl who died in October, the youngest victim Ginn said he could recall in years,” The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. “The others included an 11-year-old Lexington boy who died in October, a 14-year-old boy from Somerset in December and a 13-year-old girl from Frankfort who died in February 2018.”