Hillview Middle School in Palmdale is still reeling after one of its own students committed suicide after being bullied. (Photo : http://www.westside.k12.ca.us/)
In another tragic example of the effects of school bullying, a 13-year-old Palmdale boy has taken his own life. He appears to have committed suicide because of the harassment he received for being a cheerleader.
The boy, Nigel Hardy, left a suicide note for his father on Monday. Upon finding the note and realizing his gun was missing, the father immediately contacted authorities, but it was too late. Nigel was found dead due to an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound outside of a restaurant some 20 miles from home.
The suicide appears to have been motivated by the harassment Nigel endured at Hillview Middle School in Palmdale. This past Friday, he was suspended from school for punching a boy who had been mocking him about being a cheerleader.
"He was a happy kid but they used to make fun of him," said a seventh grade boy who claimed to be Nigel's best friend. "I would tell him, 'I got your back, they can't say those things just because you're a cheerleader. I'd try to defend him."
After punching the boy who had been verbally abusing him, Nigel told his best friend that he was also going to have his phone taken away from him as well. He appeared to be despondent over the whole situation. It would be the last time the two boys would ever talk.
Nigel had only been attending the school for 12 weeks after moving to the area from out of state. He had joined the after-school AV Dynasty cheer squad and was described as a "gutsy" cheerleader who was always ready to try new things.
"He had a lot of potential to be great," a fellow cheerleader said. "I wish I would have been able to talk to him before this. I might have been able to change his mind."
Grief counselors were sent to Hillview Middle School on Tuesday to help students deal with the tragedy. Principal of the school Robert Garza has stated that he believes they took the correct disciplinary action, but still wonders if they couldn't have done more.
"When you lose a child, you have to ask a question like that. We can't bring Nigel back, but what we can do is never forget what happened."