Vigil held for student who committed suicide inside Lake Mary school
Attorney cites bullying in Seminole County teen's suicide at school
LAKE MARY, Fla. – Parents and students held a vigil outside Greenwood Lakes Middle School in Lake Mary after a 14-year-old committed suicide Wednesday in a bathroom stall.
Deputies said it was his father's gun, and said they're still investigating how he got it.
A small memorial grows outside the school, filled with teddy bears, cards and candles, showing how hard the tragedy has hit students. But parents have questions about how allegations of bullying ended with suicide, and wonder what the school did to prevent it.
Of the more 100 people who attended Friday's vigil, few knew the student, but to those who did, the 14-year-old seemed happy.
"He was kind to everyone, he always put on a happy face and made everyone laugh," said 12-year-old Alyssa Acevedo, who went to school with him.
"He was always smiling. I guess that his smile was hiding what was really happening to him," another student said.
The teen's parents said he suffered taunts about his small size.
"I've come to learn that this child was bullied literally to his death," said the family's attorney, Matt Morgan. "It's every parent's worst nightmare, having to bury their child."
Morgan said the family fled the boy's bullies in New York, only to come here and face bullies again. The boy's parents complained to the school, but worry that not enough was done, he said.
In grief counseling, friends opened up about his cries for help.
Alyssa said the boy told her friend what he was feeling.
"She was saying that he was showing signs to him. Like, 'It's over.' She kept asking him, 'What do you mean? He was like, 'My life is over. I can't continue,'" said Alyssa.
Parents want answers from the school, and call for the district to adopt a tougher head-on approach to dealing with suicide and bullying.
"What is the school doing, if it led to this? It needs to stop. A young life was gone way too fast," said Kimberly Acevedo.
She turned to her daughter and said, "If you ever come across anybody that is depressed, know that they're being bullied, tell somebody."
On Monday, Morgan and the family will hold a press conference where details may be released about what happened at the school and what the school did or did not do.
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