school bus
Parents of Seven Charles, a 10-year-old who killed himself after repeated bullying at his school and in the bus, are planning to sue Jefferson County Public School. This is a representational image of a school bus in New York, Jan. 15, 2013. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Tami Charles and Donnie Bridges, parents of 10-year-old Seven who killed himself Saturday after repeated bullying are now planning to take legal action against Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), Louiseville, Kentucky.

Charles found her only son dead when she returned home from the grocery around 10:30 a.m EST Saturday. She said Seven was a victim of constant bullying at Kerrick Elementary and on the school bus. In August 2018, Seven, was called a racial slur on the bus by a student and was also told to beat another student.

When Seven refused, his friend started choking him. He was taken to the emergency room after he complained of dizziness and fell unconscious. According to Charles, he [Seven] said, “I was thinking why is he doing that, I thought he was my friend.”

The district ultimately opened an investigation after Charles raised the issue to JCPS administrators.

After she pressed the school and district officials for disciplinary action after the choking incident, Seven was shunned by students and some teachers at Kerrick Elementary. Some of his classmated labelled him a “snitch” and some teachers started treating him differently.

About three weeks before taking his own life, Seven’s parents found him crying uncontrollably in bed as he tried to let the past be the past but his friends continued to push him away. Charles said in the weeks that led to his death, Seven seemed uncharacteristically melancholy and seemed depressed.

However, his parents never once suspected Seven would kill himself. He had attended and excitedly explored the SuperCon dressed as "Wolverine"at the Kentucky International Convention Center in December.

Seven was fitted with a colostomy bag (a small waterproof pouch used to collect waste from the body) which was later removed. He still had problems while using the loo and Charles said that became one of the reasons for kids to make fun his son because of the smell that stemmed from his condition. He had 26 surgeries since his birth even as the doctors unsuccessfully tried to fix the issue. “He just wanted to be normal,” Charles said.

In an interview, Charles claimed JCPS had failed her child and that they will be taking legal actions against JCPS. Meanwhime, the communications director for JCPS, Renee Murphy declined to comment on any litigation filed and said, “The district will launch a full investigation into how the complaints raised by Seven’s family were handled”

“We are devastated. Our hearts are breaking for this family. The school community is hurting right now,” Murphy further said. A crisis team will be at Kerrick Elementary Tuesday as the students return from the long weekend. Murphy also said JCPS takes bullying very seriously and there is a bullying prevention hotline for students as well.

Clarles blamed bullies and the flawed system that was unable to protect her son. “It wasn’t that JCPS didn’t have these tools, they just weren’t at our school. It wasn’t that they didn’t have these tools to help the victims of bullying, they just weren't there, they weren’t used,” Charles explained during her interview.

Seven was planning to attend W.E.B. DuBois Academy next year and his parents kept telling him that a new school will be a fresh start where the children wouldn’t know about his medical condition. His mother hopes Seven’s story will make bullies think twice and create a kinder world.

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours, every day.