A ten-year-old boy from Kentucky has allegedly taken his own life, after enduring relentless bullying over this colostomy bag. Seven Bridges’ mother Tami Charles was at the grocery store, and Donnie Bridges, his father, was at a church choir practice when the fifth-grader hanged himself at the family’s home in Louisville on the morning of Saturday, January 19.
Seven was born with a medical defect that required him to use a colostomy bag, which often leaked even after it had been removed. Bullies on the Kerrick Elementary school bus would often torment him because of the smell caused by his medical condition, and Tami Charles attests that the continual abuse became so severe that Seven expressed a desire to transfer schools next year.
Commenting on her son's untimely death Tami in an issue with local news reporters, Tami stated: "I saw my son dead. That’s something in my head ... Twenty-six surgeries from the day my son was born. Twenty-six surgeries. He just wanted to be normal, that’s all ... We kept telling him this would all be over... We would talk to him about having new friends and a new start. He just had to get to the end of the year."
She added: "We found that the school system had a lot of holes and a lot of inconsistencies with their policies about bullying. They stood on the verbal message, the lip service of zero tolerance, but they did not deliver ... 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."
On Twitter, a number of social media users have condemned the bullying and criticised the school district's response to it. Many others have expressed solidarity with the boy and his family. One person wrote: "In September a nine-year-old boy killed himself because he was bullied for being gay. On Saturday a 10-year-old boy hung himself because he was bullied over having to use a colostomy bag. These kids are ending their lives before it even begins due to bullying & it’s not okay! [sic]"
Another person added: "I think it's f*cking disgusting that bullies drove a 10-year-old kid to commit suicide over needing a colostomy bag for his bowel condition. This event (and others like it) illustrates the awful cruelty ever-present in society. We must do better. [sic]"
A GoFundMe page has been set up in the wake of Seven's death to raise money for his funeral. If you'd like to help Seven's family then please consider making a donation. If you or anyone else you know has been affected by bullying or suicidal thoughts, then please do not hesitate to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255, or contact the Samaritans on 116 123.