A mom shares the heartbreaking story of her son ending up on suicide watch as a result of bullying
No one wants to imagine their child being bullied. From the time they’re born, it’s a parent’s natural instinct to shield their kids from every sort of hurt and when it comes to bullying, it’s not always easy to protect them. One mom learned that the hard way when her young son experienced bullying that landed him in the hospital after telling her he wanted to die. He’s only eight years old.
In a Facebook post describing what led to son A.J. ending up on suicide watch, Brandy Noel lashes out at the bullies who tortured him — and their parents. She starts off by explaining that his bullying at the hands of three older boys at an after-school program had gone on for some time. She then shares her sadness and anger at not being able to make it stop along with a heartbreaking photo with A.J.’s words laid over it — “Mom, they bully me so bad, I want to kill myself.”
I’ve tried all I can to get it stopped but no one took it seriously. I’ve talked to the program director, the parents & even the kids. The bullying continued. I knew my son was depressed. I just didn’t realize how bad it was. Then, my sweet boy just had enough & the depression & anger got to be too much for him & he acted out. He is now hospitalized and on suicide watch. I’m angry. I’m angry that no one took us seriously. I’m angry at the children’s parents for failing them & in return failing my child.
Her frustration and desperation are palpable. How lost she felt. There’s only so much a parent can do when their child is being teased and tortured, which is why all parents need to make it a number one priority to not raise bullies.
I’m angry that these parents couldn’t build their kids up with confidence, so they could help others up, rather than making them so insecure they had to tear others down. I’m angry the adults in control did not put a stop to it. And most of all, I’m angry because I have no control over any of it.
As the mother of a child who was bullied (albeit not nearly to this extent, thankfully) that feeling of having no control over the situation is the worst feeling of all. As a parent, your instinct is to protect — but that protection can only go so far when you send your child out into the world and trust whoever they encounter to not break their heart or destroy their self-esteem. It’s a huge leap of faith, trusting other people to treat your little one well. And this mom had her faith broken, until a wonderful group of people stepped in to save the day.
Noel says that A.J.’s soccer team and their support was one of the only things that kept him going. Once her post spread, a local soccer team and their fan club, The Grid, heard about it and stepped in to help. According to News 9, OKC Energy Defender Cyprian Hedrick already knew A.J. from a previous experience working with his youth soccer team. The team reached out to the child this week and The Grid got involved as well.
A.J., his family and his soccer team were all invited to attend the OKC Energy’s home opener on March 26. In an interview with the news station, The Grid member Holly Hutto says their group will have a relationship with A.J. beyond this game and that as a result, he has “instantly received over 200 new aunts and uncles.” This is amazing to hear and knowing there are good people supporting this child is fantastic. But it shouldn’t even be necessary.
In this terrible time of presidential candidates lobbing school-yard insults at one another on the world stage, it’s harder than ever to convince our children of the value of treating each other with respect. It starts with the parents and trickles down. If we don’t teach our children not to bully, to not pick on the weak, we are shit. It’s that simple. The most important thing we can teach them is kindness. If we fail to do that, nothing else we do for them will matter.
The Facebook post was updated to say that A.J. is home now and doing better. The community support is going a long way toward making the little boy feel that his life is worth living, but it never should’ve come to this. We’re glad A.J.’s story has a happy ending, but the fact that this even happened should be a wake-up call to all of us. Watch the video for more on how The Grid is planning to be there for A.J. going forward.