Bullied to Death - WRBL

Bullied to Death

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Columbus father Ray Brown recalls the  question his 13-year-old son Devin asked,  hours before he hung himself in his bedroom closet. "If you knew something that was going to happen to somebody that was wrong, or they were going to be hurt, if I told on them would I be considered a snitch?" said Brown.

After living with his mother for several years in Washington State, Devin moved to Muscogee County to live with his father in September 2012.  Run-ins with bullies from Rothschild Middle School had become routine. Devin's dad says the teen reported a student with a weapon.  He was bullied and called a snitch.  That evening Devin committed suicide.  "To me my son died as a hero he did what he was supposed to do but because of bullies he was afraid to go back to school," said Brown.

His family says Devin liked to play angry birds, and loved to cook. At his previous school in 2012, Devin received an outstanding student award. "And here it is a year later and he did something to deserve a certificate like that again but instead of getting that he wound up with a death certificate," said Brown.

The Muscogee County School District offered it's condolences to the Brown family and released a statement saying it cares, and is committed to the safety of all children and encourages reports of safety violation or threat. Rothschild Middle School claims no one reported Devin was being bullied. 

"I should've went to the school.  I could have talked to the principal, tried to do something but I remember what it was like being a kid, and you didn't want mamma and daddy running up to the school all the time," said Brown.
 
Earl nichols is a psychotherapist at the Pastoral Institute with 37 years of experience
counseling young bullies and victims.  "It's a very difficult process and so much of it is a hidden process.  Getting a bully to step forward and say yes I did that, next to impossible," said Nichols.

Local students hosted an anti-bullying rally at the main library in Devin's memory.
Devin's family was invited. Bullying victims shared their stories. A local radio personality gave students prevention tips. 

Mothers at the rally, said not enough is  being done by school staff.  Monica brewer's daughter attempted suicide after several bullying incidents.  "I got a call one day that my daughter was brutally beaten.  The teacher said she's never seen anything like it before in her life," said Brewer.

Nichols says continuous communication between students- their peers- parents-and teachers is key to preventing the potentially deadly results of bullying. 

"Having the talk is not as important as having an ongoing conversation...a communication pattern that invites openness on both sides," said Nichols. 

StopBullying.Gov

CDC Bullying

Brandice Hudson

Brandice Hudson is a weekend anchor and digital journalist for WRBL News 3. She comes to Columbus from sunny West Palm Beach, Fla. More>>

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