Denver mother speaks out on bullying after 9-year-old son takes his own life


A Denver boy took his own life the first week of school, and his mom says bullying is to blame.

The 9-year-old completed suicide just days after telling classmates he was gay.

Suicide rates are sharply increasing across the state, rising more than 34 percent from 1999 to 2016, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. 

In El Paso County, suicides accounted for more than 50 percent of all fatalities among youth under 18 in 2016. 

On Thursday, Leia Pierce found her son, Jamel Myles, dead in their Denver home. She said he killed himself after being bullied at school. 

A letter from Denver Public Schools to families says they’re providing extra counselors for students. A statement from the district also says it will continue to offer support to the family.

Now Pierce wants to spread awareness about the effects of bullying. She says she hopes no parent ever has to feel the pain she’s feeling right now, just because their child is different. 

“Four days is all it took at school,” Pierce said. “I could just imagine what they said to him. My son told my oldest daughter the kids at school told him to kill himself. I’m just sad he didn’t come to me.”

If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, you are not alone. There are thousands of people who have had those thoughts too, and there are plenty of resources that can help. 

Locally there is Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention. It has suicide anonymous group meetings every Monday at 7:00 p.m. The number is 719-573-7447. 

You can also call the 24-7 Colorado Crisis and Support Line at 844-493-TALK. 

Colorado Crisis also offers in-person support at three southern Colorado locations:

Pueblo Walk-In Crisis Services
1310 Chinook Lane
Pueblo, CO 81001

Colorado Springs Walk-In Crisis Services
115 S. Parkside Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80910

Aspen Pointe Woodmen Walk-in Crisis Services
Open 7 a.m. – 11 a.m., seven days a week
6071 E. Woodmen Rd Ste. 135
Colorado Springs, CO 80923

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