Homophobic bullying in schools has proved its devastating effects once again, as a court heard how 12-year-old Riley Hadley took his own life following relentless bullying, in October 2019.
Witnesses say they saw him being kicked into the road, chased through a park, and told to kill himself. Riley was then home-schooled to avoid the harassment.
The local press in Devon, UK, report that Riley’s mother found him hanging after he learned he was to return to school.
“He was afraid to go to school and the local park in fear of being bullied,” Hadley’s mother, Alison Holmes, said in a statement, describing her son as a “gentle, caring boy” who struggled in large groups and had recently confided to her he might be gay.
“As he was still young, I did not see it as a big concern,” Holmes continued.
‘Dozens’ of students are said to have confirmed the bullying that Riley had endured as well as his tendencies to self-harm. It’s said that one bully told Riley to ” do us all a favor, and slit your wrists”.
On the day of his death, Riley’s mother had taken him for a routine doctor’s appointment, and on the way home had a discussion about him returning to school.
“He had a cry,” she recalled. “We talked and he seemed better.”
He then texted a friend expressing upset about the prospect, who replied to ask him ‘why?’ But Riley never responded and when his mother got home found him with a noose around his neck.
Both parents claim they had a good relationships with Riley (even though his dad lived separately), and his brother was living in Spain at the time.
“I would have intervened if I knew,” his dad said. “I spoke extensively about bullying with him, but he never said he had a problem.”
While it clear to some people that Riley was suffering, he also lied about it to those he loved. Please make sure you’re friends are ok! Check out this list of suicide prevention helplines if you are struggling.